Saturday, 31 December 2016

2017 Approaches

So, another year. I think we are all viewing this one with some fear given the twin horrors of Trump and Brexit. But life must go on, so here is my annual review of 2016 and plans for 2017.
The big thing was obviously moving to London for Alistair's work. This has been all of stressful, exciting, challenging, disturbing and fun. I am doing a lot of new things and exploring new places. In 2017 I plan to see all the museums in London, to have a good understanding of its geography and to roll with the newness and uncertainty of this adventure. And to grow fruit and veg on my balcony.
I am supposedly on a sabbatical from the castle but this is all very undecided. I am trying out work in a library archive and in education as I think collections care and curatorial work is dead in the current world. I do not want to be a dinosaur and must keep developing.
This year my reading project America was somewhat eclipsed by reading about London. Next year in a homage to multiculturalism, postcolonialism and for my volunteer project at Kenwood House on black history I will be reading about Africa.
I would also like to try and understand and appreciate more about modern art and have started by reading Grayson Perry's brilliant book Playing to the Gallery.
Healthwise I am recovered enough to have run a 5k and am doing some yoga. I walk all the time now I don't have my car.
In terms of politics what can I say other than rolling on the ground crying. I have met lots of very political people in London. I left the Labour Party as I disapprove of Jeremy Corbyn and am proud to be a liberal elite.
I think the next year will be a challenging one in many ways but hope to learn from all that it brings.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Seen from the train

Just before christmas we travelled up from Euston to Carlisle on the train. The journey is unexciting until you reach the Lake District when suddenly the landscape rears up into spectacular hills, washed by sudden weather. The train plunges among them and it is sensational.
Also using my new Winsor and Newton travel watercolour set. I think the colours are better in this, although there is no black! Apparently using black and white paints are bad, you should mix your own.
How do I make black from other colours?

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Girl on the Train

For Leen who said she missed the Retrogirl vintage posts. This girl was rocking a 1970s look on the tube train. Giant hat, shaggy fur coat. Actually fur seems to be in fashion here. Hopefully it is all fake although I see a lot of actual fur in Chiswick, some vintage, some not. 
I like the way the pen and watercolour run together in this picture.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Wallpaper History

I pass this small building on my way to Chiswick Library. It always catches my eye, with its quirky architecture and patterned brick. I cheated a bit in this picture as it is partly built up in front. I think this was one if the entrances to the famous Sanderson Wallpaper Factory on Barley Mow Lane behind the archway. This was one of the major industries in Chiswick in the C19th and are still a luxury wallcovering maker today.
I always enjoy industrial buildings, which are often overlooked.

Sunday, 4 December 2016


Yesterday we went to Dragonmeet Game Convention in Hammersmith. I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy it but it was briiliant. We browsed the main hall of board games, roleplaying games (think Dungeons and Dragons) and attended two seminars. Everyone there was very friendly, welcoming and I met some of Alistair's gaming buddies. There were lots of tables with people gaming, bring and buy, stalls and even a few people dressed up. I wouldn't have wanted to have spent the day in a cthulu costume with padded tentacles though.
The seminars were Ken Hite and Robin Laws of legendary podcast Ken and Robin Talk abut Stuff, which covers gaming, history, food, the occult and many more topics. They did a live radio show with audience questions.
Also John Kovalik, writer and artist of many games and of the cartoon Dork Tower, which I recommend. He also did a signed drawing for us!
The lady illustrated was one of the staff organising arrivals and I loved her steampunk outfit.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Chiswick House

Our local park in Chiswick is the grounds of the beautiful, classical Chiswick House. The park is small but perfectly formed with a rocky waterfall, lake, sphinx statues, classical mini temples, walled garden and conservatory.
I did this picture of Chiswick House as a christmas card for the great guys I am working with in the local studies library. It shows the house before it fell into disrepair and much of it was demolished. It is still extraordinarily lovely, but only the middle part survives.