A Sticky Encounter

I bought a few new tips for my billiard cue the other day together with the relevant superglue gel to fix them on. Apart from when I paint I'm really fumble fisted - which became apparent when after several attempts my thumb and forefinger stuck together! It became worse when I tried to stick the tip on with paper round my fingers. This didn't work either and as the tip was dark blue my fingers soon turned a horrible shade of black. To prise my thumb apart I used a sharp knife. Then I tried to sandpaper the glue off all the fingers with no joy. Turps, soap and lighter fuel didn't help either. I sent a text to my young friend telling her my fingers were a bit of a mess - and that the tip didn't stay on anyway! Her reply consisted of one word - "Idiot!". The only problem was that as my mobile phone is activated by my thumb print I wasn't able to turn it on this way for over three days. Needless to say my young friend stuck the tip on within a few minutes. I still lost my match on Thursday evening. 

Yesterday - being the warmest day of the year so far - we decided to visit Savill Garden. These beautiful gardens are part of Windsor Great Park and cover about 35 acres. At this time of the year there's not too much colour around but as we wandered around, large groups of crocuses were everywhere heralding the spring awakening. 

In one corner of the garden is a large Temperate glass building where we sat for a while savouring the scent of some of the plants and flowers grown there. 

Wandering around the gardens it seemed that so much was just waiting to burst into life. All the rose bushes in the many rose gardens were neatly pruned with tiny buds just appearing. The rhododendrons and azaleas towering everywhere with great big buds threatening to open as we walked past. The sun shone brightly on this colourful flower.

A really lovely afternoon.

Lately I've been having trouble with my SkyHD box. Every few days the picture 'freezes' and the only way to get the TV working again is to unplug the box from the mains, wait a short while, then plug it back in. It then takes about 15 minutes to reboot completely. Apparently this is happening to a lot of boxes - a software problem. Other friends are experiencing the same fault. Anyway, after taking out a 6-month insurance policy with Sky a friendly engineer came out and supplied a new, more up-to-date SkyHD box - free ( apart from the cost of insurance that is). It was worth it. 

I'm currently working on a large, full-size pencil portrait of Alan, the boatman. Really enjoy pencil drawing. It should be finished by next week. In the meantime here's a miniature I finished the other day of my friend Joceline. 

Last Sunday we took a walk for a mile or so along the towpath at Sonning. This is a view of Sonning bridge through the trees. 

George Clooney and his new wife have just bought a house in Sonning but we didn't see them around that day. 

The other day as we were driving somewhere I had a call on my mobile from Singapore. (I wasn't doing the driving, by the way). It was from an old friend who many years ago had lived and worked in Singapore. He had just arrived there and wanted to know if I knew a tax lawyer in Singapore. It seemed that when he arrived at the airport he was taken into a private room and confronted with the fact that he had left the country 27 years ago owing US$7,000. Although eventually allowed out of the airport he wouldn't have been able to leave Singapore without settling his tax affairs. Not really his fault as his company had gone into liquidation and had closed. Anyway I rang a trusted friend in Singapore and gave him her telephone number. She was extremely helpful and put him on to her cousin - who happens to be a tax expert. It all ended happily and his problem was resolved. But it does go to show you mustn't mess with the Singapore government. They keep perfect records and any miscreant will be flagged at immigration as soon as they set foot in the country.

Talking of Singapore, this old photograph was sent to me recently.

It shows me receiving my prize in 1963 of  $S4,000 for designing two of the mosaic murals for the new Payable Lebar International airport. My friend and colleague won a prize for the third mural. The Deputy Prime Minister Dr Toh Cin Chye gave us our cheques. Mine was enough to buy a brand new TR 4 car which was waiting for me on my first leave in England a few weeks later.