Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Did I Go To Turkey?

http://www.agracefuldeath.blogspot.com/ for the latest on the A Graceful Death exhibition
http://www.antoniarolls.co.uk/ for my website
antonia.rolls1@btinternet.com to email me

Well? Did I Go To Turkey?

Mother and I outside a Turkish lady's house in a mountain village. We look about ten foot tall because we have Eaten of the Buffet for a week.

Dunno. Am back here in my studio doing my Stuff and feeling cold and wondering if I dreamt it all. I am very laid back though, and a little bit less pale than a few weeks ago, and most odd - I am really not hungry at all. I think I must have gone to Turkey. I remember the most wonderful food displays, and all (it seemed) just for me. Yes. I did go. I phoned Mother and she agrees that Yes. We Did Go To Turkey.

And out there in the world, SAGA is still taking plane and bus loads of Elderly People who are keeping very quiet about being the Salt Of The Earth, on wild eating and lying around holidays, on organised Activity Holidays, on Sight Seeing and Being Intelligent Holidays... After August 6 this year I will be eligible for SAGA in my own right. No of course I won't be 82. Don't be silly. I will be 50 and officially On The Downward Slope. To What? I may ask. To The Heated Swimming Pool With Other Elderly Holiday Makers say SAGA.

Now what. I have lots to do. My French Student is very nice, and speaks English so well I forget he is Foreign. He doesn't complain so we like him. I am doing a Car Boot Sale on Easter Sunday and am leaving very early so that I can sell all the kids things before they come home/wake up. I am hoping to rent some space in a craft shop in Arundel and sell Angels. I am painting a lovely commission as a birthday present so can't tell you more yet. Oh I am painting Costya's room Magnolia and renting it out. Poor Costya says he has no home anymore. He certainly won't have a dedicated bedroom but he will have a home. He can visit the rest of the house and I will still treat him as a Son. He says the only way for him to get over this trauma of Not Having A Home Anymore is for me to buy him a small place in London. He is not fussy, he says. Just a very small one. That will help his feelings of Abandonment and Pain to dissapate. Perhaps.

And what else? A Graceful Death will go to Oxford. I have more paintings to do for that. And organising. And it is time to get funding, it is costing me an arm and a leg to put on, even with all the expenses paid. Email me if you can help.

Anything else? Oh yes, the possibilty of illustrating my friend's book. The friend who has had such a fantastic idea I hate her because I didn't think of it and would never have thought of it anyway. Watch this space. If this idea of hers takes off it will be so funny and clever. And I will still illustrate it but I want everyone to know I am jealous of her cleverness and wit. Goddamn her.

Off now to do More Stuff. I promised 13 Year Old Son a Kentucky Fried Chicken breakfast today so I have to wake him up to stroll into Bognor with me and get it. Ghastly stuff. But I will have Brownie Points and Son Will Love Me so I will go ahead and do it.

I don't know. I feel I should be somewhere else. Somewhere warm and I keep wandering off to find a Buffet only to find I am in my house and there is not Buffet. "I'll go for a swim" I say to myself in my unguarded moments, only to find that I have to go to Felpham to do it. "I was sure there was an indoor heated swimming pool somewhere in here" I mumble in confusion. Maybe I did go to Turkey.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Exhausted Doing Nothing. How Can I Come Home Tomorrow?

http://www.agracefuldeath.blogspot.com/ for the latest on the A Graceful Death exhibition now in Birmingham
http://www.antoniarolls.co.uk/ for my website
antonia.rolls1@btinternet.com to email me

I Am Utterly Exhausted Doing Nothing I Cannot Possibly Go Home Yet

But I have to. The plane leaves tomorrow and I and my dear 80 Year Old Mother must be on it. At least we will get breakfast and lunch and if they delay the plane a spot of dinner too but no. That is the kind of fantasy I think we must not indulge in. It may lead to a short stay in the Priory.

Last week our very erudite tour guide took us to see Towns and Things and gave us a running commentary. As we passed some men fishing the guide said "Look! Those men are Angry!" and we all strained to see these furious Turks. Nothing but men sitting peacefully with their fishing rods at the edge of the sea contemplating no more than whether to have Aubergine or Cauliflower with the fish for dinner. "But where" I cried, fired with an extraordinary need to see Angry Turks By The Sea, "are the angry men?" Our guide sighed with the patience only a tour guide can muster. "Angling" he said. "Angling like fishing." We all said "Oh" and determined to pay more attention. ( A bit later we passed a large concert hall and he said "Here is Violent Cancer". Turns out it was a Violin Concert.)

So what now. Mother met some lovely ladies in the Steam Rooms who now call her Mummy. She has the status of Queen Bee amongst some here. Quite right too. No one has called me Mummy yet but I did have a particularly lovely Iranian lady tell me she loves me because I dance from the heart. Yes, I said. I love you too. And we are meeting later tonight at the disco to deepen our love with more Disco Dancing.

This stay at a Turkish Hotel has been absolutely wonderful. I have not had to do a thing and have found the less I do the more hungry I become and them more exhausted I feel. I groan with anticipation at the dawn of each new day and become quite flustered at whether to eat now or later, to swim now or later and when when I ask you, should I sunbathe?

Posh dinner tonight as it is our last night. With our new friends Pat and Bert who are simply a great bonus in an already fab holiday. We, Mum and I, have had a lovely time with them and I hope to keep in touch.

OK. This is it. No more blogs from Turkey. It is over and we must get our heads round Bognor Regis again. We must be brave and not cry. We must go on a diet and mend our bike and cycle like a madwoman for a month. We must, above all, get our Duty Free.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Eating Habits On Holiday And Other Strange Experiences

http://www.agracefuldeath.blogspot.com/ for the latest on the "A Graceful Death" exhibition now in Birmingham until Sunday 28 March
http://www.antoniarolls.co.uk/ for my website
antonia.rolls1@btinternet.com to email me

Eating Habits on Holiday and Other Strange Experiences

There are no more strange experiences on this holiday than any other I expect. It is just that I have never been to Turkey before. It ıs simply a matter of getting used to things.

The Dining Room is Huge. It has to be, this hotel hosts 1000 (million) people and all of them are Starving. I am starving. My mother is starving. SAGA who is hosting my holiday, is starving. Downstairs there is a vast Hall where another hotel could easily be built, and in this Hall there are tables and chairs, of course, and then -there is the Display of Food.

As far as the eye can see there are silver tureens and hot plates of Food. There are silver platters with salads and vegetables and cauldrons of various Thick Creamy Yogurts. You stand in the middle of this wonderland of nosh and notice that just to your right is a Hot Dog and Burger Mountain. Next to it are Chips. Breathing fast and trying to remain grounded you turn to your left and see a Bread Bonanza with all the breads the hotel Bread Manager could fit into the Jumbo Jet he commissioned to bring the breads to the Hall. Sweating a little you notice that there are alcoves and small dimly lit recesses beyond the central Stuff, in which are creatively arranged Meats, Cheeses, Pastries, More Meats, Piles of Fresh Raw Vegetables and so it goes on. At the end, right at the end, is the Puddings Table. At the last count there were 40 different puddings from the (boring) fresh fruit to the Baclava Mountain, the Wall Of Pastry, the dozens and dozens of chocolate mousses, creme caramels, sweets, apple strudels and so on and so on. Really, and so on. It is practically endless.

Any resolve one has to be at least a little restrained breaks at breakfast. I have made it my business to sit open mouthed at the large plates the guests from all nations one can imagine, fill with food. There are some utterly yummy shapely ladies and very well nourished husbands and some very perky kiddies who go to the Dougnut Display and halve it. More magically appears on the display so that is a relief. So, having halved the Doughnut Display and carried plates of a hundred or so back to their table, each family member goes in a different direction (Dad - you go North and Get The Fried Eggs. Mother, you go South and Get The Cold Meats. Son, you go East and Get a Dozen Loaves of Bread and Daugher, you go West and Get The Pancakes, Pastries and Syrup) and meets up at the table where they then EAT everything.

We Brits watched this on our first morning. We saw Thin People, Fat People, Family People, Sıngle People, Mad Looking People, all sorts of people all going with a kind of Passion, a kind of Removal Of The Boundaries, to breakfast and diving in as if it were a mirage. Or that it may not be there tomorrow. We noted the groaning plates and tables, we saw the joy and anticipation of each unabashed Eater and saw it could be done. No one in England would know. We saw that it was good to go bonkers and get a trolly and load it with fried pastries and scrambled eggs etc. We saw those Diners leave the Food Hall and live. We saw them at the pool side and in the saunas after. All was good, and nothing happened to them other than their tummies started gurgling and their eyes glazed over as another mealtime approached.

The meals here are ongoing. There is 7am breakfast that slides joyfully and seamlessly into second breakfast, then elevenses and onwards to lunch which gathers steam around 4pm to magic into tea when (small panic) the barriers go across the doorway (but significantly the doors don`t close). The staff probably all go for their afternoon debriefıng from the Hotel Psychiatrıst and have a small meditate before the doors open again for Dinner. Dinner! By this time the Guests are ravenous and come in like Bargain Hunters at a closing down sale.

So. By the third morning it is normal for me to come into Breakfast with my stately and dignified mother and say at the first table "You go and get us a table and I will see you back at it soon". My mother looks at me and says "Go my Daughter. Remember what I have taught you. Move fast, use a sweeping action and make sure you have at least twelve plates. " We hug and the fire comes into our eyes and I don`t know whether I will see her again. But later when I am into my eighteenth fried banana fritter and boiled egg medley, I glance up to see a small and determined white haired lady being buffeted (excellent description) about by Guests and disappearing into the Fried Fish only to be seen a few seconds later in the Gooey Pastry Section. When she eventually joins me at the table this wonderful old lady had only got some brown bread and honey. I bet she ate it all in the throng.

We have met the most lovely couple called Bert and Pat. Bert and Pat can eat a fair bit and neither of them are in the slightest bit fat. We had a disco last night and both Bert who is 80 and has had 6 hips (must have a lot of legs says Alan when I tell him on the phone) and Pat (who is a pretty good mover) danced. And - so did my mother. She is a pretty good mover too.

It is coming up to dinner time. I feel I may be dribbling. There are two outcomes of all this eating.

  • One throws caution to the winds and with the cry You Only Live Once and Besides I Paid For It and dive in and become clinically obese.
  • One eats like there is no tomorrow but because it is impossible to try everything, and because there is so much of everything, one becomes depressed and seeks darkened rooms and finds one is making plans of the Dining Room and panning strategies to fit as much as possible in the limited time of one`s stay, and losing weight with the anxiety and becoming Thin and Withdrawn and Wierd. On the plane home one is weeping quietly and asking for more and more peanuts and dribbling horribly.

I shall go home to Alan like Princess Fiona in Shrek. I am Hungry Let Me Go....

Saturday, 20 March 2010

I Made My Mother Have A Turkısh Massage

http://www.antoniarolls.co.uk/ for my website
http://www.agracefuldeath.blogspot.com/ for the latest on the A Graceful Death exhıbıtıon now ın Bırmıngham tıll 28 March
antonia.rolls1@btinternet.com to email me

I Made My Mum Aged 80 Have A Turkısh Massage

I am in Turkey. To prove it here are some Turkısh letters on my keyboard. ö ç ş ğ. Excited? Good.

I am on my first SAGA holiday. I hope it is the first of many, I cannot fault them at all for the care and attention they give to us, and I am not even elligible for SAGA. Not until after August this year and I wıll be 50. I am though, accompanied by a real proper oldie so one has called the National Guard yet. My gracious and stately mother who is 80 in a few weeks time has taken me on this holiday, and has made sure we are in a hotel that has round the clock nosh and not just a bit of it, Oh No. This layout is as if a space the size of a small airport hanger has been lovingly given over to a Lavish and Luxurious Display Of Food. We are encouraged to have a small meal followed by another 12 followed by a snack. It is possible that someone over ordered on the Provisions and unless it all gets eaten, someone will get the sack. "They are old" the assembled Hotel Staff say at the weekly management meetings, "make them eat till they pop and they will go wıth a smile on their faces". There is general murmerıng of assent and the Man Who Over Ordered mops his brow with a hanky. Another crisis averted. For now.

So. I booked Mum and me into a Turkish bath and bubble massage yesterday. Come On Mum, I said - Live A Little. Mum looked politely curious and said, Do You Think So?

At 3pm we went in our robes to the Spa Centre to meet our Masseurs. Previously, we had had a tour of the massage area, and were pleased to note that it all took place in a heated luxurious marble and tiled room of palacial dımensions and it looked as if we were going to be sorted out together on a large marble slab to take two. We had agreed to have men to massage us "Much Better He Stronger" said the tough blonde Russıan receptionist. As the time approached 3pm I imagined our Much Stronger Men limbering up in the steam rooms, oiling each others muscles and flicking each other with wet towels and doing press ups over vats of boiling water. So when Mother and I got to the reception, we were met with two young Turkish lads in loincloths and smiles. We were taken with smiles and much head nodding to the Sauna where we were left to steam before the Real Stuff, whatever that was, began. Mother and I were given two tiny cotton stripey Turkish Things to wrap round us, which we did and the fun began. As the Young Turks in Loincloths left us in the sauna, mother began to get nervous. But This Is Not Turkish, she shouted as they left, It Is Swedish!

After 10 minutes, they came to get us and Mother was led one way and I another in the marbled extra heated Slapping Around Room and I could hear her asking complicated questions about his family to her Young Turk In A Loincloth knowing that he couldn´t speak any English. That is when I had to say to myself that Mother was a grown up and could fend for herself. She was obviously near to panic.

My Turk gestured that I should lie on my back on the marble slab and so I did. I closed my eyes as I was only wearing knickers and a Cotton Turkish Thing and wasn´t feeling quite so chipper as I had when booking this massage. I had a bucket of hot water thrown over me, followed by another and many more. My Young Turk put on his Scrubbıng Gloves and exfoliated me to within an inch of my life. Yes, a bloke has different ideas of Gently Scrubbing. It was generally pleasant but sometimes I wanted a cup of tea and a small break. By that time I was only wearing knickers but the whole experience was so bizzarre that I didn`t give it too much of a thought. Then! The Bubbles! I could hear Mum squeakıng somewhere nearby and knew she was still alive but probably having herself bubbled as never before. My Turk, bless him, got a huge vat of warm scented bubbles and lathered me from a Bubble Bag like a car wash. And into this bubbly mass he dived and started the massage. Ouch. It was severe and very slippery and very effective. It was almost anonymous as the bubbles took over and even when I opened my eyes all I could see were bubbles and some hands re arranging my muscles. It was into this melee that my sweet young Turk said, spittıng the bubbles from his mouth, "Oh you are so young, you are 30 yes?" Maybe his training tells him all floppy old English women need this kind of talk. I should have said "Yes actually, 30 this year" but I spluttered "50" and then "eeek" as he twisted my foot into my shoulder blades. Not to be put off he said "Your husband he must be very lucky you are so beautiful" to which the accurate answer would have been "I haven´t seen my husband in years, he is an absolute nutter. And though I have a very nice gentleman friend I am not married to him but yes, he thinks I´ll do. Now put my arm back in it´s socket there´s a nice fellow" but I didn´t. I said in a jolly This Procedure Is Not Getting The Better Of Me voice "Yes. Isn´t he?"

Soon I was requested to sit on the edge of the marble slab while Loincloth Man poured buckets of cold water over his head (he must have been so exhausted and hot. The marble slabs and the floors were heated too) and then poured some over me. I hate hate hate cold water so that didn´t go down at all well. Never one to give up, he poured instead about 10 buckets of warm water over my head and got a bar of white carbolic looking soap and having lathered up, bubbled my hair, head and face. I sat there being lathered almost in the nude, by an Turkish man in a soakıng loincloth (and yes, I looked, nothing else). This, I thought, is how a toddler feels at bath time. This ıs how a door step felt after a 1950s housewife scrubbed it with a scrubbing brush and a bucket of soapy water. After the lathering and after many more thousands of buckets of warm water, I was wrapped up and led to the resting area. There was Mother, lying wrapped in white towels and not movıng. She´s dead, I thought. A small voice came from the towels that was my mother and said "Where were the bubbles? I thought there were bubbles". I didn´t ask what they did to her, but I think they may have spared her most of the lathering.

After this came the aromatherapy massage. I didn´t recognise my Turk with his clothes on (ha ha, but spookily true) but an hour later I slithered up to my room, oiled and sliding along the floor, red from the scrubbing and my hair like Rod Stewarts from the carbolic - looking soap massage bubble treatment. Yes, I should have said when he bowed me out, who looks 30 now? Who is beautiful now? I look like I have had electric shock treatment and a frontal lobotomy and been sent up to recover in my room.

There was a SAGA gala dinner later on that evening. Both Mother and I had to leave early due to our tingling skn and the fact that we kept sliding off our chairs.

More tomorrow.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

I Can't Do Painting, I'm Doing A Car Boot Sale!

http://www.agracefuldeath.blogspot.com/ for the latest on the A Graceful Death exhibition
http://www.antoniarolls.co.uk/ for my website
antonia.rolls1@btinternet.com to email me

A Car Boot Sale! Yes, A Car Boot Sale

Where I will sell all the things that clog up my home and make going from the kitchen to the sitting room an obstacle course. I have bought my ticket, I have a reserved space, and I will set up on Easter morning and sell sell sell. If my dear children come skipping and frolicking home and come to the car boot sale on the off chance, they may find everything they held dear going for 50p. Everything they held dear only when it is in a cardboard box going for a song at Tescos Car Boot Sale, I mean. "Oh Mum!" I will hear them sob, " I loved that hamster drinking bowl/skirt I've never seen before/funny looking thing" and I will say sternly from the side of my mouth while stuffing the latest wodge of fivers into my bra, "Do you want to be repossessed/live in the work house/unable to pay for your Indian Takeaways?"

I expect I will have much fun and must resist going to spend all my hard earned takings in Tescos afterwards. Better make sure I am strong and get straight into my car with my bra bulging with cash, my bosom seemingly increased a hundred fold, and come home and count it all at the kitchen table. Unless I have sold it.

The French Student has arrived and is unpacking. His English is fluent and he is very clever and only young. I think he is very nice indeed and will enjoy having him to stay. I have tried to warn him about my Sons and Fatema coming at the weekend. "These are not people who suffer from shyness or shortage of things to say. These are not people who live in the margins, who wish only to be left alone in silence" I said to French Student. "OK" he said with a brilliant Gallic shrug. "No really," I fix him with a look that tries to speak volumes," make sure you have had a good night's sleep and have eaten well. Know that running away is acceptable and that hiding in the wardrobe is probably a clever idea, not a childish one"

Everyone will be here this weekend and I will be uncontactable in Turkey. Alan is contactable though, and all thoughts and queries will be routed through to him. Even during tennis he will be hauled to the phone - Mr Bedford! Mr Bedford! Urgent Call From The French Student. Hold the Match Alan will say as he runs into the club house - " 'Ello? 'Ello? Mr Bedford? Er what is this thing Mushy Peas?"

I do have work to do but I can't think straight. Got to sort out Oxford and A Graceful Death going there, got to start the Commission, got to put proposal into place in Birmingham that wants AGD and got to find some funding for it. And got a craft-ey fair-ey type thing to get ready for and and and ...

Think I will go to Waterstones and get a book for the holiday. "How To Get On In Life When Your Head Is Full Of Scrambled Eggs" kind of thing. Next blog from Turkey.

Friday, 12 March 2010

What To Do Next

http://www.antoniarolls.co.uk/ for my website
http://www.agracefuldeath.blogspot.com/ for the latest on the "A Graceful Death" exhibition in Birmingham now till Sunday March 28
antonia.rolls1@btinternet to email me

What Next. What, I Ask You, Shall I Do Next.

In the meantime, here are some Drying Gnomes for Plant Pots. They will be painted and varnished, and so far there are only three of them in total, they take a good while to get them to this stage. Making things with clay, I say, is Blinking Difficult. All you clay makers out there will smile indulgently now, and say kindly "It took us nearly 50 years to get where we are, but well done for trying" as they go back to their mini Taj Mahals in clay with all the mini people bustling about inside.

Here are the things on my mind

  • 13 Year Old Son's voice has nearly broken completely. I keep thinking there is a man in my house only to find it is my boy who I think is still 8 talking like Brian Perkins on Radio 4
  • There is talk of illustrating a book that is being written. I want to illustrate the book but am jealous of the book itself, it is so witty and clever that I am furious I both didn't think of it and wouldn't have thought of it anyway. The friend who is writing it is a published author and Knows Her Stuff. I just wish I was as clever as her.
  • Ha! But can she make Gnomes!
  • Can I make Gnomes?
  • I have to pull together strings and threads and disparate opportunities now, because I have been so public and Out There for the last month or so. While on the road, I can only take notes and make them into Sensible Follow Ups later
  • But my studio is a tip. It looks like a Leaf Blower has been set off in the office part while I was away (ie it isn't my fault) and papers are absolutely everywhere.
  • The painting bit is supremely empty, as not only are the A Graceful Death paintings in Birmingham, but all the Jesus on the Tubes and all the Every Day Angels I had left and some of the Old Favourites, like the Male Madonna. So nnow it looks like the artist who owns it has done a Midnight Bunk.
  • I do have a fab commission to do but it is for a birthday present and so I can't talk about it right now.

And then there are other things that I am thinking of and planning. Here, because I want to be orderly and precise, they are in bullet form

  • I am renting out rooms in my house.
  • A French Student comes to stay next week and that is that. Brave Fellow. Zut Alors.
  • I am preparing Costya's rooms for rental, and Costya has agreed I can paint them Magnolia. They are now Purple, Blue, Yellow and Green. I think maybe he hated school so much because his mind was being scrambled and addled by his bedroom and other little room adjoining.
  • I am doing a Car Boot Sale with my friend here in Bognor, and that has to be prepared. So much stuff to sell, only hope the French Student doesn't notice some of his stuff going off to Fontwell.
  • And, I am going on my first Saga Holiday. I am going to Turkey for a week with my mother. I am not yet 50.
  • My mad teeny teeny friend is coming down to stay here in my absence. I hope the French Student survives.
  • I hope 13 Year Old Son behaves
  • I hope my plane doesn't crash.

Must go now. Today I am going to Help Daughter who has turned magically from 19 to 20. She is now 20 Year Old Daughter and I am still going to help her. Having gone to Manchester on a Mad Birthday Party Bash Whoopee, she has come home tired and droopy to work 7 night shifts in a row and then go to America for ages. She needs her Mum to pick up the pieces and do her shopping and make her tea and not say anything at all about choices and consequences.

Eileen and I meet later in Brighton and go to a lovely old pals for tea then home to 13 Year Old Son who may now be over 7' tall the way he is changing and confusing his old Mum.

Oh but I need a secretary, a manager, a planner, a sponsor, an events organiser, and a Whim-Indulger whose only job is to say Yes Antonia, At Once Antonia. Will speak to Alan and ask if he wants the job.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Home Again Home Again Jiggidy Jig

http://www.agracefuldeath.blogspot.com/ for all the latest on the "A Graceful Death" exhibition now showing in Birmingham
http://www.antoniarolls.co.uk/ for my website
antonia.rolls1@btinternet.com to email me

Antonia Antonia Don't You Stop
Just Let Your Feet Go Clippity Clop
Your Tail Goes Swish And The Wheels Go Round,
Giddy Up We're Homeward Bound.

I went to Birmingham. I was described as the Artist In Residence. Oh Heavens I have always wanted to be an Artist in Residence. Oh my. I am now an Artist Out Of Residence if one means Birmingham (I am back in the Studio at Home) or I am an Artist in Residence and we don't specify which residence.

I went to Birmingham on Sunday to set up "A Graceful Death". The venue is the most wonderful Queens Foundation, a Theological College which seems to specialise in ecumenical and inclusive Christian thinking. Everyone I met there was a credit to the college. They were so welcoming and kind. On Monday I addressed the college in the morning and had a launch and another little speech in the evening. I stayed as a guest of the college and I was thoroughly looked after. Here are the details if you are in Birmingham looking for a fun but powerful exhibition to while away your free time.

The Queens Foundation
Somerset Road
Birmingham B15 2QH
runs until Sunday 28 March 2010
To make an appointment to go and visit, email the university to find times the room is not in teaching use -
So. The experience began with me being very wimpish indeed about driving through Birmingham to find Queens. But, with the aid of a map and Google and my glasses, I got there with no trouble at all. The lesson there is Don't Make A Fuss, Other People Manage And So Can You. Besides You Have A Big Map. The room the exhibition is set up in is a very large teaching room and so in use all the time every day. It was decided that the exhibition would be best staged in two rooms, so that people could concentrate more on what they were being taught rather than seeing large images of me in triptychs feeling lonely, and the smiling face of Hiram Burnett and the poignant but beautiful face of Steve as he looks out at them. We also put the paintings only at the back of the room so that as one walks in they command full attention but as you sit down to concentrate on your Old Testament Today lecture, you face the lecturer and make academic and spiritual progress. Those wanting to look at the paintings during the sessions will be obvious as they will be swivelling round in their chairs. It will be difficult to Peek During Class.
My contact at Queens is the Glorious Dr Nicola Slee. She is a Feminist Theologian and I am so proud to know her. Not only is she dead clever but she writes poetry that will astound you. So far I have found Nicola writes poetry as I want to paint, and Olivia Fane the novelist (who has featured in these blogs as a Cheerer Upper) writes like I want to paint.
Nicola set up the whole event for me. She introduced me to the college, made sure I was taken care of and then went on holiday for the weekend I arrived. Ha! But Nicola works, as do they all there, a 40 hour day and a 25 day week. She and her writer and teacher extraordinaire partner Rosie went on a weekend away to try and catch their breath after much hard work, Rosie's illness last year, and a Special Anniversary. I will detail the event in the other blog about A Graceful Death, http://www.agracefuldeath.blogspot.com/ so you can understand how very powerful the time spent at Queens was.
I had dinner on Sunday night with the Principal, David Hewlett and his wife Penny. If ever I have the choice to take one food item to a Desert Island I would take Penny's Sticky Date Cake. No, I would not just take one. I would take all the Sticky Date Cakes Penny could make before my plane took off and I was dropped onto my Desert Island (Ha - Dessert Island). I found the gentle clever perceptive David had as a wife a tall, strikingly attractive, creative and extrovert lady who wrote poetry. Nicola told me she wrote well, and it is true. I was very kindly given 3 excellent poems by Penny, all of which I want to include in the exhibition. They are all very good indeed, just as Nicola predicted. And there is the Sticky Date Cake. Did I mention how good that was??
Now I am back. I left early this morning and am back in my Bognor House. I got into a hot bath at 1.30 and realised at 3.30 I had to leave at 4.00 to pick up 13 Year Old Son who, to the best of my knowledge, has been boarding at school.
So here I am, clean, wrinkly like a prune after 2 hours in a hot bath, and happy to be home. I will return to Queens on the 28 March to take down the exhibition with Costya, my Other Son. 28 March was Steve's birthday. He would have been 54.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

A Very Quick One

http://www.agracefuldeath.blogspot.com/ for details on the "A Graceful Death"exhibition now starting at Queens Theological College on Monday 8 March

Just A Quickie

God Knows where Time Goes. I was up this morning early, and have done a good few things but -BUT - I still don't have enough time. Upstairs, 13 Year Old Son slumbers in a Teenage Blackout kind of sleep, but he has to be awake enough to get on a train (Oh No! You cry. Not Again!) to go and stay with his Aunt in London while I go to Birmingham. He is growing taller by the hour and is very hungry. So he will need a big big breakfast and some money to get by when away from home and inbetween meals and needing snacks etc. He is boarding at school too until I get back next week, because the lovely French Student staying with us can't be expected to keep the Child fed in the way the Child expects when I am away.

So I have done the speech, such that it is. I have packed the car. I have to do lots of last minute things like find out the address of where I am going, and plan a route. And get petrol! Ho! That would be a laugh if I thought God was preventing me from going and it was only No Petrol. So here I am in the Studio, fiddling around and putting the backs on some new paintings. I am writing this and doing my http://www.agracefuldeath.blogspot.com/ blog, printing more brochures, wondering if I will ever finish anything, and all the while wondering where, when I put 13 Year Old Son on the train, he will end up.

Onwards and upwards. Below is Snowy, who is the latest to go to A Graceful Death. Snowy is a much missed and very pretty cat. I am really delighted to include pets, it shows the exhibition is growing and touching everyone.


Thursday, 4 March 2010

A New Day And A Busy Artist Burning Candles At Both Ends Etc

http://www.agracefuldeath.blogspot.com/ for the latest on the "A Graceful Death" exhibition opening in Birmingham on Monday 8 March
http://www.antoniarolls.co.uk/ for my website
antonia.rolls1@btinternet.com to email me

Oh So Busy. No Rest For The Wicked Etc But It's All My Own Fault

Here is the Inaugural Speech for the "A Graceful Death" exhibition in London. I am wearing my new dress, yes, and I am very glad you like it so much. This is the one that Alan is trying to reconcile himself to because it is not Balanced and it is a bit Random. I think everyone who wanted Order listened to my words and coped that way, but those who could manage Not Matching On Both Sides listened to the speech and coveted the dress. This is how it should be.

I have to say again, Costya - my oldest son who has given orders for me to use his name - was a total star. He was there most of the time in between college during the week, helping and giving support. Thanks Cos.

So. I finished on Sunday. The Closing Night Party went on long after midnight and I went to bed before the last guests had left. I thought by then it was no longer about the exhibition and me me me, more about the bottles of red wine and left over eggy sandwiches. I was utterly exhausted. Monday was spent taking down the exhibition and trying to rebuild the wonderful Clarissa's house. It was sort of mostly done-ish by the time I had to go to my sister in law's house to get ready to go to Dorking for a Birthday Bash for 19 Year Old Daughter as she turns 20. Puff puff pant pant, it is not over. Home then, after that, about midnight. 13 Year Old Son not complaining, but has school next day. 13 Year Old Son had been passed from pillar to post while I was in London. He came to stay with me at the weekend and true to form, when I dropped him off at the station to catch his train to his friend's house in Chichester on Sunday Eve so he could go to school on Monday ("Shucks. Do I Have To?" "Yes My Son! It Makes My Life Much Easier."), he disappeared into the station with his little handkerchief bundle on a stick. About an hour later he called me from Brighton. He fell asleep and is in Brighton. There followed a series of calls and texts about what train to get where, at what time, in order to arrive, sometime, in Chichester. Most of the first half of the Closing Night Party was devoted to all of us, stopping what we were doing and listening in on the next installment of where 13 Year Old Son was now. He had moved beyond advice from me and was evolving complicated train journeys which meant he was never waiting more than a few minutes anywhere as long as the train at the station he was at was going in the direction he imagined was Chichester. During the evening, people I had never met before came up to me and asked "And Where Is He Now?" I knew they didn't mean Steve, they were caught up in the Chichester Drama. Eventually the phone calls stopped and we all presumed he was with his friend, hours late, but safe. As the friend's mother didn't call to say she had had a ransom demand, we were sure he was with her.

He had the interesting hollow eyed neglected look that you see on dreadful drama documentaries the following morning. "Never Mind" I cry as I send him out to get the train, his shirt tails out, his blazer on back to front and his chin touching his chest as he forces his tired body to endure another day as Son of An Artist. "Love You" I add lamely as he wanders drunkenly to the station aged only 13 and already living the Bohemian Life.

So Tuesday I went to Tunbridge Wells to visit and photograph my wonderful Aunt's husband in his hospice. He had asked to be included in the exhibition, and so I went and saw him and photographed him and my Aunt. They are meant to be together, I will paint a portrait of Love. My Aunt's husband will not last much longer, and is, he says, between two worlds.

Wednesday I clean the house and see a friend and go to see Daughter in Brighton. Today I am so pooped that I am dribbling. However, today I have to prepare a Speech! For Birmingham! On Monday I make a big public address and I am not ready! Maybe I can show them all my paintings and say What Do You Think? and ask for more tea to be delivered.

It is, though, my own fault. This is the life of an Artist. We do this kind of thing. If we are lucky. We make a difference, we put ourselves into our work Heart and Soul. We have to be there so we can make an impact with our work. Oh it is all about response. I have had the most stunning response to A Graceful Death. And, it goes on to Oxford after Birmingham.

I have though, a day off on Wednesday. I am having a Milk Tray Day. The whole day is given over to eating Milk Tray. That is true genius.