Sunday 31 January 2021

January Over

 January and February are always the hardest months of the year to get through. Let alone with all that is going on in the world. I have been feeling tired, miserable and a little ill this week, but this weekend I have begun to feel slightly better. I have started taking vitamin D so wonder if it is having an effect. I had to do one of those lateral flow tests this week, which have just become available at school. You don't have to do them, and I was undecided, but then I got a rash on my arm, and Andy told me that can be a covid symptom. I rang the NHS testing line but you can't book a test if you don't have one of the three main symptoms, so they advised that I use a lateral flow test from school. I haven't had any  kind of test so far, but have often thought it looks unpleasant having the swab in your throat and nose. It is! I didn't have a mirror, but managed to swab my tonsils without touching the inside of my mouth. It made me gag, so then I did the nostril, which made me sneeze. After that it was a relaxing half hour sitting in the medical room at school to see whether I could go on to work that day or go home and book a proper test. It came out negative so that was a relief. You have to report your result to the NHS which turned out to be a bit of a long winded process. Then they helpfully emailed and texted me to let me know the result which I had just let them know. Now I have to do them twice a week. 

Last week, in an effort to cheer myself up, I decided to buy a slide projector, as I have lots of Mum's slides. I looked at many on eBay, and, although I wanted one of those carousel ones, I thought they have more parts that could go wrong, so I went for one that has a sliding section which holds two slides. It is an old one, probably from the sixties or seventies, but works ok. It has a noisy whirring fan, and gets hot very quickly, but I have managed to look at quite a few slides so far. I also got a slide viewer which is new-just a magnifier with a light, so I can look at more in there. The projector is more fun though. Here are a few of my finds so far...

My brother in an unknown location. 
A pink sheet against a blue sky. Not sure where it was taken or who took it but I appreciate their choice of subject. 
The Wendy house my Dad built for us when we were little. Had to look up why it was called that-it never occurred to me to wonder before. -"Wendy was injured soon after her arrival in Never-land so Peter Pan and the lost boys built a small house around her where she had fallen. Thus we are given the phrase “Wendy House”. J M Barrie himself designed the first Wendy House for the first production of the play in 1904." Source here.
Me and my dog Tramp. I found him as a stray living in our garden when I was three. You might not choose to call a dog Tramp now, but it was the sixties. He was a lovely dog. he was a mix of something and Papillon, and was a reddish brown. Mum and Dad thought he was a fox at first. 
Nana in suburban scene. (My Mum's Mum.)
I don't know who these people are, but I love the ghost child on the right of what must be a double exposure. 
The cottage we used to live in, on a snowy day. 
A trip to London of which I have no memory. We were all dressed in red and are feeding the pigeons in Trafalgar Square. 
I love these pictures. 

Nana again, with my sister Jane in purple and me behind. This is probably on Sheppey. 
I don't know who this lady in the snow with her little poodle is, but I like the photo. That's a lot of snow!
Me, Mum and Tramp on a walk. It might be on a holiday that we went on after my Mum and Dad got divorced. It was in Norfolk. It is a happy photo anyway, taken by my brother I think, and according to the name on the slide box. 

Friday 15 January 2021

Reading and Painting

I watched a news report today about gaming, and it had this man talking about his 'sport' of gaming. He was some kind of world champion. I appreciated it being a skill, and causing him stress, but I can't accept that it is a sport. It is a game, clue in the title, but sport to me involves at least being on your feet and some kind of movement. And I was trying to remember what the other word is for that kind of thing-it is a hobby. I couldn't remember the word for a while. The man could also claim that it was his job, but it must have started as a hobby. Definition of sport: 'an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.'
Or 'play in a lively, energetic way.'
Anyway, this digression is to do with the fact that reading and painting are hobbies too, alhough I am not sure that people use that word very much anymore.
This is one of my book piles, and is the one containing books I intend to read soon. But first I need to finish the book below which is extremely long. It is covered in tracing paper to protect the cover as I am not good at looking after books I am reading and it will get battered in my bag. I had to change handbags to accommodate it. It is about diseases, epidemics, pandemics, and the people who research them and solve the puzzles they throw up. I read about it last year when covid was becoming a thing, but I couldn't get hold of it for ages. It was written in 1994 and is just fascinating. The people who go to far flung places to find out what is causing outbreaks of new and scary diseases are amazing and often foolhardy and encounter many dangers. So far I have read about Ebola, Lassa Fever, Swine Flu, Legionnaire's Disease, (so called because it was first discovered after a number of American Legionnaires died after attending a conference in Philadelphia in 1976.) and I am really enjoying it, and it is just making it so obvious how the current situation was only a matter of time. There are parts of it I have read that wouldn't have meant much to me a year ago but certainly do now. I heard a thing on the radio the other day that if you are a person who likes apocalyptic fiction and films, ( I am) then you would have been better prepared for the pandemic as you would have mentally rehearsed similar situations. I am not sure if that is true or not but it is interesting. And I suppose zombies would be worse. 
Below are a few doodly painrtings I did over the last couple of weeks when I cound not find the enthusiasm for continuing the doll painting I started before Christmas. I still don't feel like doing that so I will wait until I do. But little doodly faces are fun so here they are. 
I did some of them whilst on the phone as everything was handy and I can talk and doodle. And I did some with my left hand. I used to enjoy reading the blog of  Lynne Hoppe and she advocated drawing with your non-dominant hand sometimes, and I thought of her. The writing is also left handed. I used Derwent Inktense pencils which I love. 
This is not left handed. It is pen and charcoal.
Just pen with water and a paper sample I found in old stuff from somewhere. 
Inktense but with no water added. A 1920s swimmer is what comes to mind. 
Acrylic ink just two colours.
Inktense with no water.
Inktense above and below. Above is right hand and below left. I think I like the left handed ones more. I could really feel what I was doing-in that it was harder to do so it made me more aware of the process than the automatic right hand. 


Thursday 14 January 2021

Wednesday Walk

I go for a walk every lunchtime when  I am at work, and the area where the school is just keeps on giving. Yesterday I found this beautiful church, and a lovely little park in the square behind it, with wooden animals, and a stomping seagull. (See the end)

I looked up the church, and apart from the steeple, it was destroyed in the blitz by incendiary bombs which caused it to burn down, and rebuilt in 1959-60.
The Square is called Lorrimore Square. According to Wikipedia,  "A 1681 map of Walworth made for Dean and Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral shows a wider common called "Lattam-more" (or Lower Moor); Lorrimore is a corruption of Lower Moor."

What a handsome noble face this lion has.

I particularly like the fox on the gate. 
I hadn't seen this Catholic church before either.
Though I did see this mural the other day which is on the side of a community centre. 

And here is the stomping seagull. I think it is trying to draw worms from underground. There is a big baby seagull there too making that mewling type noise. Baby seagulls are huge but incredibly helpless!

Sunday 10 January 2021

Things to make and Do

My sister Jane gave me this macramé kit for Christmas, and I decided to have a go at it last night. After a few confusions about which way to tie the knots, and the idea to stand on a step ladder so I could hang it on a hook on the wall to work from, it was pretty enjoyable. It was also satisfying as it was started and finished within about an hour. 

It was packaged so beautifully and the cord was lovely and soft. I am intending to make a few more, as they are not obviously Christmassy and I like it. 
Jane also gave me a gnome needle felting kit, and I made one gnome last night and this morning. He just needs some more spots on his hat. The bear on the left is one I have had for a long time. I love his colours-his bright yellow fir and pastel clothes. He has a big hole under his chin so needs repair. I may stuff him again too as he is filled with foam rubber pieces. The bear on the right came to stay fairly recently, and obviously needs new eyes, nose and mouth repair and also a clean. He is a bit under-stuffed, but I am not capable of dismantling him as he is a jointed bear. I may open up a couple of seams to add some more filling or I might just leave him. The eyes will make a big difference. 
The frog is for Joan, my Dad's wife. The Lily pad is for him to sit on. He needs finishing and embroidering, and then I will make him a little crown. 

 Finally, my sister's Womble now has new ears. The fur I bought was a pretty good match. I used felt for the underside of his ears, and also repaired his eyes a little and added black pupils as he didn't have any. He will be sent to Yorkshire soon! 

Thursday 7 January 2021


I took this photo this morning on the foreshore at Charlton. Looking into the sun, the future, and the hope that things will get better. The almost unbelievable events of yesterday, covid, loss, all the bad things of recent times, surely can only change for the better. 

Friday 1 January 2021

Cold, Cold, Cold!

The walk I had yesterday was bracing, and sunny, and I was not cold even though it was. Today was different. Almost foggy, and the sort of cold that gets right to your bones. We went to the Thames barrier as it is nearby. The river increases the cold factor. We didn't stay that long, but there is always something to take a picture of!

'Protector' and 'Energy' seem like good words to start the year. 'Energy' does look like a lively little boat!
Catkins and cones, or are the comes just later versions of the catkin looking things? Whatever, I like it. 
And these too-so perfectly wintery.
This is a friendly looking lock. Like a bear. The bears in here are all accommodated without the tree now, and I have tidied and cleaned and put away the tree and its decorations. This led to other jobs such as sorting out the shoe cupboard and actually putting two pairs in the donate pile. One doesn't fit and the other hurts so out they will go whenever the shops reopen. 
I think this faded red door is at the back of the art studio building. I like the shade of red. 
Head in the window of someone's studio. I only spotted the little Puritan looking man when I looked at the photo. 
Pattern! This post is turning into a school art lesson!
This quiet cyclist is obviously going pretty fast.
There have been a few sculptures here over the years if I am remembering correctly. They tend to get vandalised after a while. This one looks pretty new. I like the way it almost disappears in the surrounding scene. There is a mirrored extension to an old house near where I park for work, and it took me ages to even notice it was there. In fact I only noticed it when I was walking not driving as it just reflects the sky and disappears. 

Last night was more or less like a normal evening, apart from the prolonged and very loud fireworks at midnight. The two cats who can hear were pretty disturbed. But I found a new thing to look at on the internet! I was interested to see if people were following the stay at home rules, so googled traffic cameras. I found one website which is webcams from all sorts of places around the world, and has different categories such as animals, city, museums and also has a country index. It is called WebCamTaxi  I also spent quite some time flicking between the different cameras on the transport for London site. There were parts of London that looked pretty busy with traffic at least, and there were people wandering about in quite a few places. I meant to have a look at some of the places around the world to see them in daylight today but didn't turn the computer on until this evening. 

TFL traffic cameras site