Thursday, 28 January 2010

I Am, As My Foreign Students Used To Say, Preoccupated for the latest on the A Graceful Death coming to London in Febrauary for my website to email me

Angel Practicing Dancing on the Head of a Pin. Expect she was a bit preoccupated too.

Preoccupated Today, And No Mistake

I had a slow gloomy day yesterday. I woke this morning and the slow gloom has gone but it is replaced by a sense of rather undefined anxiety. There are Things To Do today, People To See and I feel all of them are slightly in the way of me Getting Things Done. Let us examine this.

  • Again, I am cycling to Barnham for a meeting. This takes about 3 hours, as Barnhan is a good 6 or 7 miles there and a good 6 or 7 miles back, and the meeting is about an hour. Taking the car would mean I am not getting any exercise and will explode with a bang, like a balloon filled with too much air, and be doomed for ever to be a dissapated blob.

  • My mother comes for lunch an hour after I return from my meeting. I have food but no idea how to combine it for a lunch fit for a Queen, as is my mother. My mother can cook so well and is so clever with all household things that I am almost tempted to get a catering company to come and do the lunch, make a mess, burn it a bit and make it look like I did it while I was on my bike to and from Barnham.

  • 19 Year Old Daughter is home. Her shifts at the hospital are 13 hours long, she is, as the medics say, pooped. So she will sleep till I get home from Barnham and won't be able to do a lunch in my absence.

  • She needs a new passport urgently. I said I would help and this afternoon is the only time we can do it

  • BUT. I have a dentist appointment with 13 Year Old Son at 3.30 in Chichester, and we have to do that or God will strike us down.

  • How to tell Wonderful Mother to go home by 3pm (she is sensitive and may be extremely full and not able to get to her car as quickly as I make her due to the dentist appointment and my fear of missing it)

  • How to persuade Daughter to come with me and do the passport in Chichester

  • I have some cards to deliver to 2 shops. The cards are slightly different to the ones they ordered. What if they look at the cards, look at me, mutter "Typical" and call for security to assist me from the shop? What will I do with the cards then?

  • I have lots of invites to send off for A Graceful Death in London. This is fiddly, takes time and does not seem to fit in with today, and certainly not before last post today.

So there is a feeling of unease and time management issues mingle with assertiveness issues. Let us go on. There is more

  • I am publicising Art Classes for the Nervous to happen on Saturday mornings. Why has not one booked them yet? Have I wasted my time AGAIN? I only put them up a few days ago but I should be at least fielding enquiries. (Have you got a creche? No. Can I bring my Mum and leave her in your garden? No. If I come for two fifths of the course can I only pay two fifths of the fee? No. Do you sculpt in marble? No. And so on)

  • This weekend is stuffed full of fun and games. I have to have sorted myself out by tomorrow evening.

  • I have the still life to finish, but can't get into the painting part of the studio because there is so much Stuff to get through to get in there.

  • And, not only has 13 Year Old Son broken his wrist, he was sent home on Monday from school (Sent home? Bah, I went to collect him through 3 different sets of traffic works and emergency traffic lights. Bah again, pesky road works) - sent home with a tummy bug. So he has been here for 3 days.
Well that feels better. Now you know why I am preoccupied. A problem (or a thousand) shared is a problem halved. Onwards and upwards.

Here is a Domestic Angel. She says if you ask her to do any more housework, she will thump you. If I am not careful, I will become this by 3pm this afternoon.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Today I Shall Not Burn The Chickpeas for updates on the A Graceful Death exhibition in London in February for my website to email me

No, I Shall Not Burn The Chickpeas.

A few days ago I put some chickpeas on to boil and went to the studio to do Art and forgot about them. Hours later I went into the house into a kind of wall of smoke. "What!" I cried and then remembered the chickpeas. Well, kitchen and downstairs was filled with smoke and smelt of real hard core overdone chickpeas. I put the pan into the garden and shut the door only to open it again, the smoke from the saucepan was chickenfeed compared to the smoke in the house. I opened every window and door and thought That will teach me to mulit task irresponsibly. And it did. Even now the house smells of charred chickpeas. So what did I do when I put the chick peas on to boil this morning? I wrote CHICK PEAS on my hands with indelible black ink. It worked and I have turned off the boiling saucepan containing perfectly cooked chick peas and I have been in the studio. The only thing to do next time is to write CHICK PEAS in washable ink. I am going to have to explain to everyone that I have not a chickpea tattoo and that I am not unreasonably attached to chickpeas, it was just an important reminder technique that was so important that it will live with me for, possibly, ever.

I am in the studio. I am printing brochures about my brilliant art-ness and Art Classes for the Nervous adverts. I am going to take some post card ideas to shops locally and I am going to try for some more flower and still life commissions. I loved the still life I just finished. Photo next time, it needs a bit of lace on the hanky and some butterflies and ladybirds.

This week I See People. My friend from Middleton, the artist who is excellent, is coming for a catch up. On Wednesday I go for a walk with local friend. She is setting up a Walking Club and so far I have joined. Fab. On Thursday I visit an old friend and on Friday I may, or may not, go and see the wonderful Olivia and get my spirits raised.

I must mention here that I had a lovely weekend with Alan. We spent much of Saturday in careful consideration of a new dress I have bought. It is a brightly coloured and patterned affair that I know gives me the edge on the rest of the world. Alan is not so sure but is doing his best to rationalise the lack of symmetry and oddness of pattern and colour. On Saturday afternoon we went to see if we could buy some shoes to go with it. We couldn't but it was great fun looking. How many women have a man who will go shopping for shoes for them and really take it seriously. Alan will. He does have very good taste, and is very sure of what he likes and doesn't like, and, funnily enough, this is very good for me.

We went out for a Chinese meal after that at a cold but nice restaurant and both finished with banana fritters. That night, possibly nothing to do with the meal, Alan was really ill with stomach pain. I was very sympathetic and unconcious most of the time, but woke feeling iller than I can remember. However, Alan still played a tennis match (he is super human) and I watched a bit of it and then went to bed for the afternoon.

Despite this, it was a lovely weekend. Today, I am back on form. And the word for today my dears, is Chickpeas.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Going To Cycle Today. Bah. for the latest news on the A Graceful Death exhibition in Wimbledon, London in February for my website to email me

Cycling To Barnaham Today. Grrrr.

It's just such a long way away and I am cold now. Why did God
  • Make it cold
  • Create Winter
  • Make me cold
  • Make Barnham a good 7 miles away
  • Make me out of practice
  • Make me a Blobby Type of person

All of this is Not Fair. I have Free Choice, I have A Will, I have the Power to Choose and the Power to Discern. I am exercising all of them in having a moan.

Just think, when I come back from Barnham, I will be able to have lunch and will feel very pleased with myself. I can have Eggy Toast for lunch, lots of it and it won't matter. I expect too that I will design my Antonia Rolls Fabby Me Artist Brochure too with one hand, while finishing the flowers Still Life with the other because I Can, because I have moved the boundaries and cycled to Barnham and back. Only fly in the ointment is that I have to move the bike past the car parked in the front drive. That will be a sticky moment, a moment of sheer will power and gritty determination. I will let you know what happened next blog.

The Still Life of Flowers is done. I have put the Urn/Vase on a tiny lacey hanky like the 16 Century Dutch fellows did, and have made the background brown. A nice hot brown which brings out the white of the flowers. I will add some little ladybirds and butterflies now, and it will be done.

The Graceful Death Exhibition is gathering pace. It is being set up and the invites sent out and the information put up where appropriate. Check out the A Graceful Death website on for all the information. You are all graciously and warmly invited to come. And there are two Private Views, one on the Opening Night and one on the Closing Night. How fun is that. After this London showing, it will be going to the Midlands for Easter. Then, I don't know yet. We will see. There are plenty of offers coming in to host it. And at each showing I hope there will at least one more painting or poem about another person's story.

Oh Goodness. Look at the time. Better go and get the goddam bike ready. Grrrr.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

What A Jolly Tuesday. Ho Hum. for the latest on the A Graceful Death Exhibition in London in February from 24 to the 29 inclusive for my website
antonia.rolls1@btinternet to email me

Marathon Madonna
A Jolly Piece for you to look at this Tuesday Morning. Here, the Virgin Mary is finishing the Flora London Marathon and is really drooping. But, she finished it and her finish time is spookily exactly the same as mine when I did it in 2004. My feeling is that 5 hours 54 minutes and 3 seconds is faster than the speed of light, considering. I think the Virgin Mary did very well considering someone had to look after the Son of God while she trained and then ran it.
What A Jolly Tuesday.

Ho Hum. It certainly is in a better shape than Sunday when everything was Unformed, Vague and Worrying. I have had Monday to put some things in order, and though my life is still A Huge Expanse Of Possibilities, I am not so concerned. I have still to put in place my A Graceful Death publicity, such that it is, and to do the invites. The AGD blog is up and running again. I am painting these goddam flowers as they try and stay alive while I try and paint them, I may have to just take photos and chill out a bit.

I had a lovely weekend! My poor 13 Year Old Son, who thinks that if he starts his new term on Monday, by Friday he has done enough, went out to play Ice Football with his less mad friends. I must be fair and say that my 13 Year Old Son is a wonderful passionate friendly funny and loving creature, who also is a bit of a rebel. He is known too for not understanding Body Space and being just where you want to go when you want to go there, in the kitchen for example - I want to turn from the cooker to the cupboard and there is 13 Year Old Son in precisely the space I need to step into or we will all fall over. "Oh Sorry" he says and moves a bit into the only other space that will save our lives, and we do all fall over. Or, I am listening to him talk and he expands his narrative with arms and legs flailing and rocking on his chair and then the chair falls over and somehow the things on the table fall on his head and the lights fuse and and and...

So I get a call to say that 13 Year Old Son is in hospital with Matron as he has broken his wrist. I cancel everything and race back from London and find Matron and Son in the X Ray department. I remember to kiss Son on his head and murmer loving things but he wants to know if I have any sandwiches. He is fine, so Matron goes back to school and Son gets his plaster and sling and kudos all in one go.

On Saturday, we go to Alan's where his annual Tennis New Year Party is due to set the town alight later that evening. Alan is Chairman of his local Tennis Club, and a fine dedicated bunch they are too. I have been to a few do's there, and have also gone on occaision to watch Alan play, which I enjoy. The clubhouse is tiny, and was set out with fairy lights and music, looking really festive. Everyone brought food and drink, and set about having a lovely evening out. I have to say, this tennis club has the nicest people in it. They play tennis well and with enthusiasm, and party well with enthusiasm. They always make me welcome, and I do so enjoy their company. They also love seeing Alan being human, because dear Alan is a bit of a Big Cheese and when he asked me if his shirt looked better in or out, and does his tummy look big in this, the lady I was talking to gave a whoop of joy. "He is like us!" she cried, " he is not invincible!"
Back to today. I must paint the Goddamm Flowers now. Then cycle into town for some exercise (damn. Out of practice. Don't want to.) and smile and sing a merry ditty as 16 Year Old Son is home too, and likes a conducive atmosphere for his Royal Visits. Ho Hum.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Blog On A Sunday? Has It Come To This? for my website for the latest on the A Graceful Death coming to London in February if you want to email me

An 18th Birthday Portrait of a lovely young lady called Maud. With champagne and high shoes and bubbles of the Bubbly in the paintings. Oil on Wood.

Is This The Path I Wish To Follow?

Yes, I think it is. What is a Sunday to a busy Artist, Mother, Friend, Partner and Family Member but Just Another Day? So Yes, it has come to this, I am blogging on the Lord's Day and quite possibly this is the path I have been following for some time. Each day in my life is filled with Things. In order to run smoothly (or even run at all) the washing has to be done, the house kept in order, appointments made noted and kept, food bought, meals cooked, meals washed up, Motherly Love dispensed down the phone, Motherly Love dispensed here in my house, broken windows/sofas/hamster cages/dvds all mended or removed and so on. There is also the Talking To Friends And Family section of the day, which is only fair as Friends and Family keep me going. It is just that if I am trying to get the washing done and the dinner cooked before writing an article for something and worrying about the Still Life in the studio dying before I can paint it and get paid, I can seem curt and unimaginative on the phone. If I am not careful I can get myself into a pickle at this point and am forced to have a hot bath and read a detective story and not get anything done at all, necessary or not. I seek, when I get into a pickle, oblivion and heat. Getting drunk in the oven you may chortle, but that wouldn't work for me, you wags. I feel the springs in my head pinging out of place and my nuts, bolts and wheels flying off into outer space, so it is probably a Darwinian Survival Technique learned may thousands of years ago when I was a cave woman/artist/mother/friend/partner/family member.

So here I am blogging on a Sunday evening. I have much to do this week. This still life I am mentioning so much is a wonderful display of flowers that is only hanging onto life because my studio gets so cold. It has to be done this week, and I will be very happy to have it done. I have then only 5 weeks to get the next A Graceful Death publicised for its showing in London. Here is the venue and the dates

A Graceful Death is coming to London in February.
Held at 127 Worple Road, Wimbledon, London SW19 3AY
care of Clarissa de Wend Fenton

24 February to 28 February inclusive.

Open Night Wednesday 24 February from 6pm to 9pm
Closing Night Sunday 28 February from 6pm to 9pm

Open from 10am to 5pm daily.

I will send all invitations and publicity soon, and look forward to seeing you all there. I am adding another painting to the exhibition, which I think will be very good indeed.
This is not one of those jolly rolling blogs I sometimes do when the birdies are singing and the day is full of promise. This is a furiously efficient blog, getting my thoughts in order and Making A Start. When I come to the studio tomorrow, I will barely glance at my computer. There will be no need, I will have stayed up until the early hours of the morning completing My Tasks. I will have succeeded in doing two blogs, sending details and information to an online magazine for an article on A Graceful Death, writing up all the notes taken last week while meeting with the Magnificent Clarissa who will put the exhibition on in her home, planning out the press release and last but not least, going onto Twitter A Lot and checking my Facebook every 5 minutes just in case someone puts a comment on my wall.

More fun news from the studio next time. Maybe because this is the Lord's Day, all blogging turns into serious, itemised planning and preparation for Monday morning. And on Monday, blogging, released from its seriousness of the day before, explodes into a gay and frolicksome account of the Fun Had Over The Weekend, and all is well with the world again.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Guilty Mum In Studio for the latest on the A Graceful Death Exhibition coming to London in February for my website to contact me

Here is a picture of a nice Teapot Fairy to start your day. She is in the shape of a teapot and has a little blob like a lid, on her head.

A Guilty Mum, Yes. But An Unrepentant One.

13 Year Old Son is a teenager. He used to be sweet and cuddly and say things like, in a fit of rage, the worst thing he could think of, Go And Cook. Now, he is looking for a way to rebel and has found that if he does not do his homework because he Doesn't Believe In It, he gets loads of scared looks from the adults around him. He has found that if he forgets his homework, then no matter how cross I may be, he doesn't have to do it. And he has found that since I have put him into homework club at school, he can go out shopping instead and still forget all his books.

He also doesn't see why he should get up in the morning. It is, he thinks, personal. The school could open later but goddammit they don't. So when I went into him this morning crying sweetly Ho! Angel Boy!, he acted as though he was in a coma. Ha! I cried. I will take your hamsters and if you don't come downstairs, the hamsters get it. So down he comes, shuffling with one black sock one grey, a shirt done up wrong and no tie, shoes, jumper or blazer. The hamsters are unaware of how close they came to being a pawn in this School Morning Drama.

I know he is reluctant to go to school because he skipped homework club and forgot his homework last night. Again. I know he is hatching complex plots to explain how he has no homework, and is hatching equally complex revenge on those who look at him with glazed eyes and say Pull The Other One. So down comes my darling 13 Year Old Son. He curls up on the chair in the kitchen and goes to sleep. Wake Up Darling I cry banging a saucepan with a wooden spoon, Chop Chop. He dribbles. I make him a bacon sandwich and some nesquik and say Look My Son. Look What I Have Done For You.

As it is snowing again. The trains are notoriously temperamental right now, and as he has to catch 2 trains to school, I say I Will Drive You In. He doesn't respond. To him, the school should be closed and he should be in bed and there is no joy in being driven in, only pain. And of course he has done no homework. He is a bit unsupported in his I Don't Believe In Homework thing, and this too seems to rankle. If it is clear to him, why isn't it clear to everyone else? Like the teachers and his Mum? For God's Sake.

So. He puts on his shoes (Where Have You Put Them Mum! Why Do You Always Take My Shoes!) (My Son. Wild Horses Would Not Make Me Touch Your Shoes. They Smell.) and he puts on his jumper back to front and puts on his Arsenal scarf. I say nothing. He is trying to make me think he is mentally unstable and should go back to bed. We get into the car and an hour later we are still in traffic just past our house. Son is sleeping on the seat he has lowered next to me, and I think It's Alright For Some. I turn the car round, and make for the station he would have changed at, thinking at least there will be trains from there, and it will help Son who is trying to snore on the seat next to me.

We get caught up in more traffic and I say I will never drive again in the mornings. I hate cars, snow and road works. He ignores me and tries to sound unconcious. The nearer we come to the station the louder his snores become. When one is really asleep, one has no control over one's mouth and when snoring, the lips flutter and flubber and it isn't a pretty sight for those who care to look cool. Son, when I look at him, has an iron control over his lips, and is snoring only when the car stops and he can be heard. At the station I lovingly wake him with a no nonsense shake, and tell him that we are here. I make him repeat what subjects his homework is tonight, and in a last act of selfless motherliness pluck the black hat from my head and the gloves from my hands and give them to him. It Is Cold, I say as the snow falls around us. He has to try the hat on first, because even if the cold will kill him, if the hat doesn't look cool, he won't wear it. It looks cool. He goes off and within minutes I get texts saying the trains are delayed and cancelled. I ignore them and go home, and an hour and half after I set off with him, having only gone about 10 miles, I am home.

I make my breakfast, whoop with joy, and try to ignore the guilt as I sit in my studio preparing my next painting. I have to keep remembering that this 13 Year Old Son is a wiley character and is not, as I am suddenly afraid, still only 6 years old. He can go on the train in the snow with no coat (both are left at school and he is certainly not going to wear one of mine). He can take the consequences of No Homework. He can look after himself. All the same, I do worry he will be cold, and hungry, and lonely and frightened. Pull Yourself Together I think sternly to myself. Have A Bowl of Cornflakes, And Remember,As You Wrote In Yesterday's Blog, You Are Like Cassius Clay Now.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Well. No Excuses Now. for my website for the A Graceful Death exhibition coming to London in February, keep checking for details to email me.

So. No Excuses Now.

It is back to the studio with no kids at home and none forecast for the week. During the day, that is. 13 Year Old Son will return from school later and can come in to the house.

I am sitting at my computer, I have much to do and all of it is up to me to organise, make happen, plug away at. What is this? The life of an artist is not about painting. If I just painted I would grow a beard and end up like Howard Hughes. I have a family to run, a house to maintain and that is just in my spare time. No one will see my paintings, hear my name or know anything about me unless I tell them and so I have to keep telling people I Am Here. Come Look At My Work. That takes time, and organisation, and courage. So today I am starting at the beginning and have the following to do
  • Plan the next PR campaign for the A Graceful Death exhibition coming to London at the end of February. I have done the paintings, though there is one more I want to do, of my dear friend's father hours before he died. She has some wonderful images of him, and she was the only one of her family to get to him in time. Her story is powerful.
  • Get some funding from somewhere to pay for the exhibition. Any donations welcome.
  • Paint a lovely little picture of a lovely little girl. It is late and I must contact the Commissioner and confess it is late. Hate doing that.
  • Paint a still life of flowers in and urn, and this too is late. I have contacted the Commissioner and all is well but I need to do it
  • Get the wood prepared for the still life. If I have not got a good piece, I must go and buy one and cut it down and sand and prepare it blah blah blah but I should have done this a good while ago.
  • Oh dear. Two wedding gift paintings need to be done. I am woefully behind on these. I am doing them as wedding gifts and feel awful about the time they have taken to even think about. It is because they have to be fitted into paid work and exhibition timetables. However, got to do them.
  • Doing an interview for a magazine about A Graceful Death. Got to get my thoughts together. Am I going to talk sense? Of course. It is all I ever do talk. In my own way.

So there is much to do and the worst part is the before-you-start pulling together of ideas from the ether around you, so that something concrete can come of it. I am in that place now.

Interesting. Yesterday I knew today was The Day. Have To Start. And yesterday I could not stop eating. So on going to bed I decided if I was this hungry, I needed 3 good solid meals today to stop this bottomless hunger. It felt quite exciting, and I thought I would start the day with a kind of USA Diner Breakfast where the waffles just keep coming and the eggs are flipped over in the pan. What a reason to get up in the morning. But on waking, and even now, hours later, I have completely lost my appetite. I am more distressed about this than the Plucking New Business From The Ether. What kind of God is it that takes away an Artist's appetite at the last minute and condemns her to the hopeless memory of a Large Meal? When will I eat again? Why when I have the answer to the Hungry All The Time dilemna, does the question disappear? I have had tea. I am waiting for a space in my tummy for breakfast. There is none. I am doomed to do my Plucking From The Air stuff on an empty stomach and the way I feel, there won't be a gap until much later this afternoon.

John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger, they wouldn't have worried about the loss of a meal. Meals were nothing to them. They got on with the business of knocking out the bad guys, probably on will power alone. They didn't need Eggy Toast to start the day. They slept lightly in their clothes and leapt up at dawn to Get The Job Done, and only later when someone handed them a sandwich, would they feel the faint pangs of hunger.

When I was about 6, my Grandad told me if I didn't eat my cornflakes I wouldn't look like Cassius Clay. Oh Hell! I thought in my 6 year old mind. This is Terrible! So I ate my cornflakes and begged Grandad to tell me I was going to be like Cassius Clay.

Oh well. Pretend I have had my breakfast and hope lunch will work out. Or I will lose my connection with Cassius Clay.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Mumble Mumble Mumble. Sigh. for the A Graceful Death exhibition website. Coming to London in February, will post information when it is finalised for my website

Mumble Mumble Mumble and Sigh. Again.

Why? Why mumble and sigh? Oh for so many reasons. And here, I pause and look thoughtfully out of the window at the falling snow. Then with a small but wistful smile, I continue to type.

Christmas was wonderful. It was stress free, and my children are old enough to take me shopping and give sharp and efficient orders when I can't remember who is in our family any more. My mother cooked the whole banquet, aged 79, and as it was at her house, we could leave early and allow my capable brothers to wash up. After their own fashion.

Alan came to me for Christmas, and I was so proud of him. Eileen came for Christmas and was her usual wonderful self. The tree looked lovely, I managed to find two dwarf hamsters at the last minute for 13 Year Old Son, and replace the loves of his life who died recently. (That is, two other dwarf hamsters, who expired in a teeny teeny blaze of glory a few weeks ago, and got buried in an 8' hole dug in wild weather in the middle of my garden. Dwarf hamsters could probably fit into a matchbox. An 8' burial hole was a measure of 13 Year Old Son's grief, even though they had only been with us a matter of months).

New Year's Eve was so so easy in the end. 16 Year Old Son took centre stage for a while, and furiously texted me and his sister about not having a party to go to. He was very angry. Alan and I were going to the unforgettable Olivia Pemberton's for our (it seems) usual New Year's Eve do. But this was Not On for 16 Year Old Son. First, quite without reason it seemed, everyone else had something to do. Absolutely everyone who was anyone, had a party to go to, or at least Looked Busy. And where did that leave him? Looking unpopular, that's what. Looking like all he could do is go out with his Mum who wears the most embarassing fake fur hat when it's cold, and bloody well talks to people and doesn't know how wierd she is. So the options had narrowed down for 16 Year Old Son - to go off and hang around with people who he didn't want to see, or come with his mummy to her awful old people's boring party. But, out of nowhere came the simplest of solutions. 16 Year Old Son called up one person we had not yet called, the funny and likeable and whacky daughter of my friend here. And this friend, because she is so very nice, said Yes Come To My Party I Will Pick You Up At 7pm. Oh the peace and friendship in our house after that. If 16 Year Old Son is good, Everyone is good.

So now you ask with some impatience, if all is so rosy, why do you both mumble and sigh? Is it your age? Is it the snow? Is it something too deeply felt to name?

It is none of these things. It is, in no particular order, the following -
  • The Cold. I am sitting here in my sheepsking coat, my hat and my warmest jumper. And still my feet are cold. This is Not Good and makes me feel bad.
  • I have just come back from Portsmouth where Alan took me and 13 Year Old Son for a holiday for a few days. It was wonderful and I am sad because Alan has gone home. I think he should be here stuck to my side with super glue.
  • I have just read Alan's son's first novel, and am so very full of that wordless admiration for a young man who can write a complex, intelligent and thoughtful novel while being so very young. He knows so much, does this Son of Alan. He is under 30, but I couldn't begin to formulate a complex plot, despite being nearly 50.
  • I am hopeful that the Son of Alan will have only the best influences around him to nurture his talent. What if anyone says anything nasty to him? I will have to hit them.
  • 19 Year Old Daughter, clever and wonderful child, was working nights last night and after her shift ended at 8 this morning, found that she could not get home in the ice and snow, and new staff couldn't get in. So she stayed on and finally got home in a mysterious 4x4 (How? Who's? An SAS Emergency Nurses Transport Crack Division of the NHS that has to be kept quiet? When I asked her she said Oh He Was Some Kind Of Transport Man. Wonder if he wore a black balaclava and ski suit and smoked cheroots said Ha! in a foreign accent) - and finally got home at 11am. She has to work nights again tonight. Apparantly the Transport Man is coming back to get her but cannot give a time. That is because he will be winched down to her flat from an Crack Division Night Nurse Transport NHS Helicopter at the last minute.
  • And most of all, the reason to sigh and mumble and tut, is that now the Party Is Over. I have to find a way to make things Artistic happen again. It is not easy, and when it succeeds it is wonderful. But nothing falls into my lap. 2010 opened as a blank page, which I have to fill in with wonder and success and hard hard work. It is the hard hard work that I am finding diffucult to start. Oh just one more cup of tea. And maybe something wonderful will fall into my lap.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

An Artist Doing Maths Homework for the A Graceful Death exhibition website. Exhibition coming to London in Feb, keep checking the website for details for my website for my website

An Artist (Me) Doing Maths Homework

Those that know me will be saying No You Are Not. It is true, I am not. I am however in the same room as someone who is. As I am in charge, being the Parent, I am in some sense, doing the homework too. As 13 Year Old Son is also asking me questions about Maths Homework, I am even more involved.

Do I know anything about Maths? I know how to spell it. I know it is a language I don't speak, and I know it amuses my 13 Year Old Son that I am not like him, Mathsy. I was not even considered for a Maths O Level when I was at school. I and a few other girls, all very nice and none of us special needs, were removed at an early stage with sighs and gentle tutting, from the Maths World and put into a classroom with an elderly lady with a walking stick and nobbly fingers. We were, it seems, impossible to teach maths to. Too arty, too dreamy, too Off In Another Direction. I was not really aware that there was anything unusual in this arrangement; being a Fairy, I was not required to be interested in what the real world was doing.

So there we were. In a classroom, during Maths lessons where the other girls had Real Teachers, with Mrs Proctor, starting with the most basic of things, and quite pleased because the radiators worked in our classroom and not in the others. Well. Mrs Procotor treated us as intelligent girls who needed to learn the basics in a different language. She had time for us, she went slowly and talked simply about the syllabus she had prepared for us. She removed the pressure to learn and made it all seem possible. For the time I had Mrs Proctor, I thoroughly enjoyed Maths, and felt I was good at it. For the brief time I spent with this gifted old lady, I too was good at Maths. I don't know what happened to her, one term she was no longer at the school, and somehow I was put back into the mainstream Maths classes and not expected to cope. I didn't cope, but wasn't at all concerned. I didn't do an O Level in it, I did some other qualification and got nearly enough marks to pass the absolute bottom level, and I thought that a pretty fair assessment. But if I had continued with Mrs Proctor, would I have got a real Maths O Level? If I had continued with Mrs Proctor with no O Levels to sit would I have learned the Mathematics Language and been able to get by? I think the best thing would have been to have her twice a week for the rest of my life to delve into the wonder of this other world which was so difficult to grasp when it was presented as a package I had to learn and understand within a certain time limit in order to pass an exam.

So here I sit with my gifted 13 Year Old Son, for whom Maths is his best subject, while he practices (through gritted teeth and with iron shackles binding him to the chair) a Maths Common Entrance paper. Because he has to ask someone, he asks me. Alan is also in the room (thank God) and is very good at Maths too, so he can answer and I am left benignly smiling as if I do know the answer, I just choose not to outshine Alan.

I must point out before I go that I did get straight As in Art and English for my O Levels, so if I was clueless in one area of the brain, I was advanced in other areas. And my lovely 13 Year Old Son hates, just hates, Art and English and Writing. Ha. Divine Justice.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

A Brief Note Today for the website on A Graceful Death Exhibition, next venue London in February. Keep checking for details. for my website to email me

Just A Brief Note

It doesn't feel like the end of Christmas, or the the beginning of 2010. It feels like all days have merged into one long dayandnight and there is going to be a hell of a job to separate the two and start living in the real world again. 16 Year Old Son is going to college again on Tuesday, and 13 Year Old Son doesn't go back till the 11 Jan, so by the middle of the month we should all have remembered to go to bed at night, wake in the morning and do Structured and Appropriate things during the day. At the moment I only vaguely remember Routine, only have the most passing of memories of Timetables. It seems I have relaxed so much that I don't really care very much any more about anything more pressing than how long it takes to boil the kettle for more tea and get the cake from the larder.

However, folks, however. All this will end by the 11 January. At that point, on that day, at about 9am, I will be a power house of ideas and action again. (Again?) A light will be seen glowing and pulsing around my studio, and nervous Bognor folk will touch their forelocks and say Ah. She Has Had An Idea. She Is In Full Throttle. And from the studio will come Wondrous Things and the world will say, Well. Whaddya Know. She's Done It Again.