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Sunday, 18 December 2011



This morning's car window screen, and the little boy's rowing cup and medal. Even he is quite proud to have won. No other photos to upload just now. My brother & his wife's 30th wedding anniversary celebration today, which was wonderful. Sadly, I was attacked by a migraine towards the end of a lovely meal. My new meds have worked very successfully. A relief to know I have them for future attacks.

Both boys ensconsed at home for Christmas and New Year. Mess, noise, food dishes (all empty), washing, books, files, shoes and stacks of other stuff have appeared as if by magic. Can hardly pick my way around the kitchen. And its lovely. I really must have missed them! Still have many Christmas cards to deliver (goodness knows when) and I seem to have forgotten to put up a Christmas tree. The general consensus is that we won't miss it this year, so the corner of the sitting room is empty (and uncluttered). The girls (dogs) seem to be in season, to add to the joys of the Christmas season, and may need a visit to a suitor on Boxing Day! Or the day after. Hmmm.

Wishing readers a very peaceful festive season, filled with love and happiness. Thanks for reading. X

Monday, 5 December 2011

20 days to Christmas

Almost written cards, almost all gifts in house. Feel a bit more on top of tasks today. Guess that won't last long. Today's daubing - practicing 'layering' apparently. Shed just a few days from completion, every time I look at it I am bubbling with excitement. My very own space. Yee Haaa!

Youngest chick competed at weekend, indoor rowing! Joy. Not out in the freezing cold and wet. Didn't quite understand results but left with impression he came third (perhaps his Uni, or perhaps East Midlands. Too much information after gin o'clock). Eldest chick appears to be existing incommunicado. Which I don't like. *Sigh*. Guess that means he is alive. More I cannot hazard a guess at. X

Monday, 28 November 2011

Argh, argh, argh. Almost December....





Helloooooooo. Photos first. Here's my dad and the farmer helping me to learn to use the 'smile' device on number 2 son's camera. It's wicked! The greeeeen painting is the result of about two weeks of daubing in oils, a medium I neither like nor understand. I have the vision! But I don't have the technique or expertise to bring the vision to the canvas as I want it. In about two weeks it will be dry enough for me to try and improve it. One of the many reasons I don't like oils. Far too long for an impatient painter to wait between stages! And finally, the MAP! An advert for Lightworks, in Grimsby shortly. An Arts Festival. Coming years may even see something of mine featured. Not this year though.

Been to London (exhausting), had the breast scan thingy (surprisingly unpainful), dropped out of the shopping trip (too flustered). Going forward, already looks like all the weekends up to and beyond Christmas already booked out, so hoping to keep January sacrosanct, and enjoy a bit of home-time! Have a formal Christmas dinner/dance this weekend, and also next. By 25th December I shall bear even more resemblance to a football than I do now. *sigh*.

Horse idling away in field, dogs lively as ever and farmer in a stress because his wheat is being picked up, even as I type. He's loading the lorries as fast as he can, though not quite fast enough to keep up. Looking forward to the man-boys coming home in 3 weeks (though still seems a long wait) and also counting days to my own Christmas break from college. Its been a long haul to this first learning gap, and I shall appreciate the change from travelling and studying. Thinking - laying in bed and eating too much. Good alternatives hey! Thanks for sharing. X

Sunday, 13 November 2011

time on extra fast?



So much to do, and seem to have so little time! College going well, proving to be an exciting journey of discovery one way and another. I am there 9am to 5pm Tueday, Wednesday and Friday, and the other two weekdays are more or less fully occupied with 'homework'. Therefore every weekend is full on catching up with everything else. It seems to be non-stop.

My shed is progressing slowly. Up to date activity involves tiles. Lots and lots of tiles of the wall and floor varieties. I bought the wrong toilet (obviously). and much lip sucking and tutting ensued. Its going in anyway.

Went to Yorkshire yesterday to pick up a Christmas gift, and also to visit the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Galleries which was a truly wonderful experience, and I heartily recommend it to anyone who is passing. Took our 'girls' with us, as you can see, and they dragged us from one end of the Park to the other. Joy.

Hardly heard from the sons, so assuming that Harper Adams and University of Leicester are keeping them fully occupied with academic studying. Or similar.

The Farmer has sold all of his wheat at last, not the best price of the year, but certainly not the worst, and hanging on any longer was beginning to opress him. So its gone. Whoohoo. He also had a bit of his ear cut away on Friday. An unpleasant and ever-changing mole was removed. He has three stitches which he is wearing with pride. He was very brave.

Took the yellow horse out for an amble today, and even the Farmer rode him. It was a very quiet and civilised hour. Thank you Skipper. Calendar filling up between now and Christmas, hard to believe that it will soon be here. I shall be 50 again before I know it!

Next week will bring my London Visit, a 50th birthday party, a dinner with the LAYDDEEEZZZ, a shopping trip to Milton Keynes on a coach, and a breast scan. Not necessarily in that order. I don't see much spare time between. Keeping me young perhaps? Mucho good wishes X

Monday, 24 October 2011

cows to cornflakes


cows to cornflakes a video by oldfartartist on Flickr.

rising at 4.20am on my birthday to make this. Hope it gets TOP MARKS at school!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

home news

Time seems to be at a premium now that I am at college. Who would have thought that being a student would demand so many hours and committment! Certainly not me. Brief family update includes news that both boys happy and settled. Been to see the Baby boy today with food and funds. He gets up to row the canoe thingy three days every week at 5am. 5. a. m. And he's a student! Not much ease and idleness for him either. No news of Big Boy. Assuming that's good!

Farmer has his fields sorted out for winter. Not entirely sure what that entails. There has been much talk of 'pressing', 'seeding', 'rolling' and 'fertilising'. Thinking he might be working in some sort of fertility clinic? Who knows?

Horse has donned his winter garb owing to downturn in environmental temperature. He doesn't seem to mind. Its the spotty coat for now. Two girls being remarkably well-behaved at the moment, though neither looking like they are coming into season. No more puppies for now! The incey-wincey, teeny-weeny baby koi that the Big Boy 'popped' into my fishtank prior to his departure are growing into man-eating sharks before our eyes. Looking for a safe home for 5 pale (silver?) koi asap. The Farmer is acting chicken-keeper at the present time. Regretfully this seems to mean that NO EGGS are being laid. Not a single one. This weekend I shall have to buy eggs. We are feeding more than 30 chooks and no egg production..... only one end in view, and its not pretty......

Have taken thousands of photographs in the past three weeks, all for my Art course, and all similarly boring. Therefore, this is and will remain a pictureless posting. A multitude of apologies.

Just remembered, on a happier note, my shed renovation is finally starting to take shape. Long way to go, but the joiner (village coffin maker and bearer) has been working every day this week, and really 'crackin' on'. Makes me nervous when he looks at me with a tape-measure in his hand though! I rarely see him and his dad (who is the brick man) as I leave prior to their arrival, and return from college long after they have left. Its like the fairies have been to work in the shed! I think I am going to call it the 'EGG SHED GALLERY'. Private viewings and commissions by appointment. Hahahahaha! One day.

Have a busy weekend in view, and also a flat-out Monday. Followed by an impressively full timetable at college for remainder of the week. The days of self-employment seem long ago, and also a time of ease and plenty! How things change. If the time flies by much faster I shall be looking for the time travel machine I MUST have stepped into by mistake.

Speak soon!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

progress, of a sort


What a stupendous weekend! Two BBQ's under balmy, tropical skies, and we never raised a spatula. And the lovely Em and her beau came for tea on Sunday with the Olds. Gorgeous. This week at college have produced the two pieces photographed. The drawings and photo I am quite pleased with, the 'mobile' should be in the bin. I painted it metallic pink as a gesture of defiance! Otherwise, its going well, though very tiring. And hard. Who would have thought? College group dawdlin' down to London for three days in November, and we staying in a HOSTEL! OMG. I am half a century old and have never been hostelling. Obviously not considered too old to learn. I have paid extra for a single room. Stay in a triple with strangers? I don't think so! Gods know what the other students will think, but I'm not sharin' with 'em. Also forcing The Farmer to take me to London during October to look at a painting at the National Gallery. Its the subject of my first essay, and hoping viewing it up close and personal will improve the essay beyond recognition. Some hope.

On a lighter note, the moles have pushed up something akin to a minor mountain range around the mole scarers (what a misnomer that is) and a hen died yesterday despite my attempts to assist it to drink and dine. My favorite too. Typical. The scratty, grotty ones look as lively as crickets, and my pretty little dalmation coloured, blue egg laying pet ups and dies without as much as a by-your-leave.

The wheat is (I believe) all 'in', peas don't go 'in' until the Spring. Wheat has 'sprung' and now praying for rain (apparently) before it shrivels and dies in front of our eyes. All seems very stressful, though nothing like as horrible as dairy farming/nightime calving & dead cows, which are just a distant memory!

The Farmer ordered a grain moisture meter (honestly) from America last week, and it arrived today in a HUGE box. When I arrived home from College he was drooling over it. And his brother in law had been over for a bit of drooling this afternoon. It powders the grain before measuring the water content. What a treat. Came in its own attache case practically with bows on. Expecting to find it in bed with the Farmer tonight. He certainly loves it anyway!

Big boy seems to have settled in at Harper Adams if the lack of information is any guide. I did risk a call yesterday, and he had time to tell me he was fine, busy every night until Christmas, and off to breakfast before the buffet table was cleared by ravenous students. Missing him already. Obviously. Baby boy also showing marked signs of satisfaction with University life as his phone also appears to be broken. Risked a text to him yesterday, and so far, no reply. Being a parent to great big boys easy job. As not required. Hmmmm. Probably see them at Christmas anyway. Hopefully!

Booked to see Fascinating Aida this coming weekend with friends. Quite excited. If you don't know who they are google it, or better still, watch a skit or two on UTUBE. Truly original, and hilarious. Third time I have seen them. Improving with age, like good wine. Speaking of which, looks like G&T time. Adieu, adieu.

Friday, 30 September 2011

flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/16837934@N08/

and new ID OLDFARTARTIST

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Flickr & animation....

Today, at home, I have managed to make a short animation as a result of one of yesterday's lectures. Not content with the warm glow of achievement the finished result gave me (and its a weak effort) I have managed to wrestle it into uploading on Flickr!!! Now all I need is someone to tell me that they can view it..... hmmmm, a challenge. I seem to have the identity smithsonwhitehead on Flickr. Go on, give it a try.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

moles, toads and the little yellow horse


Mole scarer!

toady

1st college art piece

lens distortion

the farmer and the yellow horse

coming in for a third place.

Been quite busy so a bit late blogging this month. The start of my University degree course has been busy, time-consuming and exciting. Have now got the hang of driving the 40 miles there and back in unstressful and enjoyable way. Have offered another student a lift home two days a week to have someone to chat to which will also help I hope.

The mushroom like structures pressed into the garden are MOLE SCARERS with integral lights. They were expensive. I can hear them vibrating their 'scary to mole' sounds. They light up beautifully at night. Sadly, as can be seen, they do NOT appear to actually scare any moles. The mole has tunnelled up near each one, had a thorough look around the vibrating stems, laughed scornfully at the 'mole scarer' noises, and tunnelled off again. I have put peppermint capsules in his runs, castor oil (apparently a guaranteed deterrent), chilli, diesel oil etc, etc. He seems to love the dietary variety and just keeps coming back for more! Couple of mole scarers going CHEAP here!!!

The farmer found the gorgeous toad trying to dig a hole to hibernate on a farm track this week. Obviously toady's judgement a bit 'out' re suitable digging surfaces. He was relocated to a more welcoming and appropriate environment, where the ground was not rock hard and dry as a bone. The toad was a superbly handsome fellow, and possibly the biggest specimen I have ever seen in my life (human male toads excepted...)

And today there was a small local horse show about 2 miles away. The farmer thought the little yellow horse might enjoy a spin, and therefore I spent yesterday afternoon grooming the horse to within an inch of his life, shampooing his mane and tail, scrubbing his feet and generally polishing him up. This morning the Farmer donned his 'show jacket' bought especially for yellow horse outings, and strutted his funky stuff in the show ring. A better run up from the Farmer would have brought 2nd place, but in the event they settled for 3rd. It was not the horse's fault. Even the Farmer knew that he had rather let the horse down. I shall be 'trotting up' the Farmer on a regular basis to improve his technique in the coming weeks.

The boys are both off to their respective Uni's this week, their excitement is palpable. We are all packing feverishly to get them away promptly and with everything needed for a successful academic engagement.

Have blogged the photo of my very first University art piece. Crappy, and difficult to do, we had to draw and draw, then tear up the piece (deconstruction, apparently), and then stick it all together with tape in a different shape (reconstruction). I'll get my head around this stuff sooner or later, I guess. I am old, of course, and find new concepts difficult to process!

And finally. Took some portrait photos of myself, with a view to sketching out a self portrait on a canvas. When I loaded the photos into the computer I found that a plump, middle aged, grey haired woman had pushed her way in front of me and the photos were all of her. I vaguely recognised her, in an abstract sort of way, but she was much older than me, and much, much wider. Friends now advise that it is some sort of lens distortion on these newfangled digital cameras, so I shall not worry about the outcome any more. Its a type of electronic malfunction, apparently. Obviously, in the absence of excellent and accurate photos of self shall not be able to do the portrait, but this is a small cost to pay for not looking at that fat old lady for a moment longer than necessary.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

royal naked ladies!

Well, here they are:



The Big Boy and I had a day out to view Sandringham (The Queen's Norfolk Estate) on Monday. What a treat! Just the two of us. And the Estate was pretty scrumptious too. Enjoy the photos. It did rain very hard. That is absolutely the only reason that I look so awful in the Buddha photo. Honest! I don't know why people had left offerings of money on the Buddha. He was absolutely covered in small change. Obviously we added our coins and made a wish. Just in case.










In other news: I registered as a Student today. Induction day on Friday. So excited practically widdling! Bag, files, pens, paints and paper at the ready. If I hate it I shall have egg all over my face! Well, I'll soon know. The lovely M is here for three nights with the Baby Boy, who worked his last shift at Butlitz today. He came home laden with goodbye gifts. He also took his Manager a bouquet this morning. Bet that gave her a surprise! He wanted to show his appreciation of her skillful and tactful management throughout the summer. He has a generous heart. Just waiting for the Big Boy to return from a Sale viewing with his Grandfather, then, joy of joys, its a take-away tea. Bring it on!

I will load the photos when Blogspot decides it wants me to.....

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

all aboard for a Mystere tour!

Today quite a few members of my families gathered on the deck of a sea cruiser called Mystere for a day trip out into the Wash to see the wonderful common and harbour seals lazing on the sandbanks at low tide, in their natural environment. It was an overcast and cool day, but thankfully the sea was calm as a millpond, so all poor travellers were able to cope without a retch between them! The river itself was a horrible sight, absolutely and completely choked with a foul green weed, which has proliferated during July and August. It is so bad a weed cutting boat had to launch before us, and cut a path through the terrible greenery so that the Mystere could make the trip. Once out into the salty water the green monster dies. We had a couple of hours anchored adjacent to the sandbanks, dining, admiring the seals and




generally taking our ease. There were about 100 seals in the group we were watching, big and little, young and old. Several members of the family fell asleep....and all of us thoroughly enjoyed sharing a little time with the inquisitive and adept mammals in the water. The seals seemed to enjoy looking at us at least as much as we did them. We motored back with the tide, and battled through the greenery once more to dock, tired and happy at 6.30pm. The Mystere is now to be retired from active service so we were lucky to make the trip. Thanks guys!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

here's one I made earlier


And here's a painting I really do like, which I completed this afternoon. Sadly in the photo I have slightly cut the left hand side, so you are not seeing the quite complete version! However, I really like it. If it doesn't do it for you, stand back a bit. Go on, a bit more. It looks better from about 8 ft (in the room anyway). THis one is destined for a locl art competition. Whoop! Other news. Baby boy has just 10 more working days to go. I am having an MRI scan on Tuesday next (eek), Big Boy all set for University (again...) and The Farmer ploughing like a thing possessed. Lots more to go.

Monday, 22 August 2011

and the wheat comes in (sigh of relief)

About one third of the wheat is now in the shed. A neighbouring farmer, who was brave enough to dally with a devil in order to purchase his own combine harvester, is working all hours to bring in his own and the Farmer's wheat. Along with several other crops locally. The Big Boy is manfully driving tractor and trailer to bring the crop from harvester to store. The Farmer is backing the team the final few yards, tipping and organising the wheat in the store. What a mammoth task. Rushing like mad because the forecast is for rain tonight. The trails of straw are staying out, and will be rained upon, there is only so much the Farmer and the Big Boy can achieve in the time available. Believe I can hear thunder rumbling as I type. Eek.



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Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the two girls are receiving less exercise than they consider is appropriate, and are feeling a bit sad and dejected.


The Baby Boy is on his last two weeks working at Butlitz and is looking forward to a bit of free time prior to his return to University. I believe we are in imminent expectation of a visit from the lovely M, when she returns from her sojourn touring Europe on the railways. Oh to be young, and carefree! I have to enrol at college on the 6th, and begin my course on the 12th. Everything seems to be tumbling along at breakneck speed now that the end of the summer is almost here. Could do with some sort of 'slow down' switch for a few weeks.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Evil beneath my feet

Its still here, causing havoc beneath the sitting out area:

and the Egg Shed creeps SSSSLLLLLOOOOWWWWLLLYYYYY onwards in tiny steps. Brickwork complete. Windows awaited.

and finally, a quick interpretation of Rosie, my friend's dog. There's much that is not quite right about the picture, but oddly, it does capture her spirit, which is completely laid back. A few days sellotaped to my kitchen wall, then the bin, I think.


There was an owl in the Farmer's shed yesterday, I tried very hard to photograph it, as it obligingly flew to and fro across the roof trusses. Sadly my rubbishy little camera can't 'click' quickly enough, and all I have are smudgy bright eyes and a smeared blob. Hoping to buy a better camera in the Autumn when I start college. All the peas have gone from the meadows, and I can no longer walk to the meadow gate, eat my own bodyweight in the sweet, round veggies, and stagger home with chronic wind! Waiting for the wheat harvest to begin now. Farmer tense and watching the barometer. Fingers crossed for a few fine days. Apples, plums and pears galore, and bullaces (bullies) by the ton. Anyone thinking of sloe vodka or sloe gin making should come and try the bullaces instead. As usual most will fall to the orchard floor and feed the wasps. It does seem a waste.

Friday, 12 August 2011

a few minor hitches

I am absolutely full of cold. Miserably snuffly, sneezy, coughing and full of 'stuff'. Ugh. Its been a week now. Would quite like to cheer up and get over it. Perhaps tomorrow? I remain hopeful despite bug. Also, beneath my new outdoor sitting area there lurks an enemy! A small and furry creature keeps pushing up a hill BETWEEN THE SLABS! The blighter. I keep removing the evidence, and he keeps squeezing up another hillock whilst my back is turned. I have taken away so much soil I do believe the slabs will all collapse in a heap shortly. I have reported this mole-ish behaviour to the Farmer, who seems powerless to stop the excavations. No room to get a trap into the run. I'm thinking about a strategy. Thinking. Thinking!

Fetched big boy from the airport. Now home, and almost unpacked. Wild hair cut and tidy, stinky traveller clothing washed and folded, stories told and photos admired. Soooooo glad to have him back. Of course I am letting go. Very, very slowly. The Farmer has a stack of tasks for the Big boy to do in the next few weeks to make up for his long, long travelling holiday.

I have now been 'on the wagon' for a week, and its not too bad! In fact, the Neurologist I saw yesterday said it was a worthless exercise as far as migraine concerned. He advised return to glass of wine soonest. However, it has to be said that I am actually enjoying the experience, so will keep my wagon seat warm for now. Perhaps, if my scan is clear, I shall revisit the demon drink. Perhaps. Or perhaps not. Have been prescribed new drugs for rather troublesome headaches, to collect next week, and looking forward to having something in the medicine cabinet to defeat the discomfort. Ha.

Earlier in the week I went to a different hospital to have a splint made for my dislocated finger, and was forgotten in the waiting room for an hour. Just like wearing a cloak of invisibility. Occupational Therapist mortified! Quite funny. Well, I laughed later. I had checked in with two Receptionists. And sat right in front of one all the time. Truly invisible. If only I could market it.

It has been a busy week with the two hospital visits, the Heathrow run (which included a night near Windsor with some dear friends) and a Charity Trustees meeting. Luckily will be relaxing next week in a luxury Spa. Just for the day. Can hardly wait.

Only photo I have is my Windsor friend's sleepy dog. Her name is Rosie. Little does she know that she is also an artist's model. Shhhh, its a secret! Next week's project will be to get her lovely, floppy face onto canvas. If its any good i'll blog it. If its rubbish i'll bin it.

So, from the surprisingly comfortable depths of my NON-DRINKERS chair, I bid you tata for now.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

abroad on The Broads


A few delightful days boating. Here I am upon waking after a night on the waves, feeling cream crackered, and a tiny bit worse for wear. Here also mine host who NEVER falls asleep during the day..., and also the Farmer trying to tip mine host into the broad. Finally the Farmer and mine host sailing incognito - well, sailing is an extremely generous description of their activities, which did save them from 6 year old twins' entertainment for about an hour. A good time was had by almost all, for almost all of the time. I won one night's Scrabble, and the Lady Hostess won the second night's challenge. That's two up for the girls. Of course. Rather innocently the Lady Hostess thought Scrabble was a fun, but slightly boring word game. She soon realised that blood was going to be drawn, gathered her wits, and put in a stunning performance to trounce us all in the second innings. She also turned out to be a Chief Superintendent of the Word Police, and in the absence of a dictionary we all had to abide by her opinion. Therefore, such valuable stand-bys as Fe, Fi, Fo and Fum, also Do, Reh Fa, La and Te were roundly banished and much brain power was expended satisfying her dastardly rules. Next time I shall pack a dictionary......!

A quick visit to Burnham Market to cheer the journey home, and now to my own bed. Always lovely to go away, and equally lovely to come back home.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Sunshine and lollipops!

My little sun trap area is about finished, and if I can persuade the chickens to stop pooping all over the slabs it will be absolutely gorgeous! Today it was 85 degrees out there. I am as brown as a nut. Someone asked me the other day if I had been for a spraytan!!!! As if. It is absolutely lovely to have somewhere to sit in the sun for a cup of tea, and I only wish I had developed the area years ago. When my GIANT chimenea arrives next week I shall be able to drink my fizz out there in the evening too. Can hardly wait. Don't call in to see me unless you are fully prepared to sit outside for your refreshment, rain or shine.

The egg-shed is making extremely slow progress. The joiner is busy making some sliding sash windows for another customer, and also has an urgent order for a pair of hand-made hardwood terrace doors. Obviously these also take precedence over my little shed. However, a bit more brickwork was completed today, and its almost at the 'new floor' stage. I'm trying to be calm about it as there is still so much more to do, and my pile of buttons is diminishing!

Big boy to be collected from Heathrow on Monday and I can hardly wait. I am having a splint made for my dislocated finger next week too. Also going to see a neurologist about my interminable migraines on the 11th, so have much to think about. A lovely girl-friend is forcing me to spend a long and sumptuous day at Simpsons Luxury Spa, Branston Hall later in the month and I have reluctantly (ha) agreed to the indulgence. Can hardly wait! The weeks have slipped by until its almost time for me to start at college. Feeling pretty nervous about that now, and guess the anxiety will only get worse. Afraid I may turn out to be a complete dud artistically, and academically. That will be a leveller! Keep you posted. X