ANTONIA ROLLS ARTIST EXTRAORDINAIRE NEWS. An account of an Artist and Mother in Bognor Regis. Worthwhile, but exhausting, so pour the tea and make yourself comfortable...(this painting is a family portrait, about 2'x 3', oil on wood. It is the Ross Family, each family member with items that describe them best. And at the front, on the grass on the right hand side, is a photo of Grandma, sadly missed.)
The kitchen is nearing completion. It is more ready today than it was yesterday, which is progress. I can use the cooker and the hob top, the washing machine and the dishwasher, and I can put some things away in the drawers. Hooray. The shelves, the walls, the plastering, the floors, the breakfast block all have to be done but hey ho, all's well that ends well. My two builders are excellent and thorough and jolly, and I trust them implicitly to give me a kitchen to love. I know nothing about what they are doing, and have to really screw up my eyes and point a finger at my temple and go "think think think" when I have to talk kitchen details with them. So they get on with it and I am grateful that they even want to, and the kitchen slowly gets made much to my delight. Hark, I can hear them arrive now. They are in their 60s and are remarkable for not having a radio on at any point, and for sitting down side by side together at 1pm on a kind of cutting bench, and having a packed lunch each that is full of correct goodness and no sugary rubbish. They are experienced and know exactly what they are doing, which is how I like people to be. So they are in the kitchen now, unpacking their drills and fold-up ladders, their electric screw drivers and their power saws, and Hooray, I say to them. Hooray. Let the Kitchen Unfold.
The Boys? 14 Year Old Son, my own dear Rocky in Real Life, went for his first training session at the boxing gym last night. What an exciting set up it is, the gym sparkling clean and professionally equipped and full of punch bags and boxing gloves and padded areas. And all around the gym were smaller boys, bigger boys and actual Youffs belting the lights out of those bendy punch bags that whop back at you when you hit them. Before Rambo Son could do anything Punchy, they made him and the other arrivals last night run around the gym ( a very big space) shadow boxing as they went. I paused by the door as I left, to gaze with a full and loving heart at my violent little boy as he whizzed around the gym with other darling little thugs, and thought that from the outside as I was, looking in through a little window in the door, they looked like a group of nutters told to take some exercise in their own time, at their own pace, and no one would laugh at them. I collected Rambo Boy later and was pleased to note that he was exhausted and very sweaty. "Someone hit me tonight," he said benignly. "Goodness," I wanted to say, "which hospital are they in?" but it seems it was all part of the training which seemed to have sneaked a few teeny thwacks in here and there.
Other Son, the Older One, is upstairs recovering. He has been eating, and sleeping, and is looking to go back to London and find a place to live tomorrow. My job now is to let him go and do his thing and hovver around in the background, and keep an eye on him. I know what he wants, and it must seem such a simple thing - total freedom and no boundaries at all - but there are so many rules in place to make sure we all muddle along together. There are laws, rules, boundaries, conventions etc and they all kind of keep us a bit in line so that we do muddle along together. He will go to London tomorrow and return home here tomorrow night, and we will see what he has found out. I was a bit like him at that age though. I remember the conviction that for me, it would be different. I would get what I wanted, when I wanted and how I wanted. If asked what it was that I wanted, I would not have been able to reply and would have got cross instead.
But I know what I want now! Bully for me! I want a kitchen, a painted house, a nice garden (I have a Cosmic Gardener - a nice and thoughtful fellow who is very interested in spiritual matters and God, who does my garden and who has very long eyelashes. So he is very pretty in the garden as well as efficient and spiritual.). I want nice children who do the right things and are very happy and clever and I want lots of painting and writing work. I want the sun to shine and the birdies to sing and I want everyone to be happy. And I want to go walking with Clarissa in Nepal.
So off now to do some cards for the fair on Sunday to which you are coming, remember? Before I do, I will pop in and say hello to my two very jolly builders and see if I have any more of the kitchen to admire.