Chumpy turned up just slightly late for our class this week, there was a lengthy explanation about how he'd been too absorbed in his book and missed his bus stop then he went and made himself a cup of tea and was just about to get on with modelling when he noticed a small pile of cheap out-of-date biscuits in the kitchen, someone had put a sticker on for anyone who wanted them to take them . . . we waited while Chumpy found his coat and filled the pockets. . .
I've been staying in Dulwich (pronounced: dull itch) which is on the way to Penge, a place that also sounds like a medical symptom in this case maybe a pain/twinge, as in:
I can't do that - it makes my knees penge
The Putney heating is still broken so I jumped at the opportunity to look after a cat-in-a-warm-house last week but alas I have now returned to the Putney fridge.
In the Mortuary
I've been running the Life Drawing classes. I had a special one on Saturday - after a day spent marching against Drumpf I had to rush eastwards only just making it to the mortuary in time to set up for the Birthday Party Life Class. The model I shall call Chumpy, an excitable man who was already naked and waiting for me in the kitchen, there were things to be done before the guests arrived and every time I looked around Chumpy was doing something dangerous while naked - he had to be ordered down from a stack of chairs that he'd decided to clamber onto (he wanted to pin bunting up), then he cut his finger. When he'd done bandaging the finger he started blowing up balloons, it was during this episode that he managed to hurt his eye. The class arrived and the host wore gold shoes with flashing blue lights, he handed out artist berets to his 30 friends along with Champagne and fizzy jelly sweets. When I finally got the class settled with crayons and paper, I asked Chumpy if he could start with a simple kneeling posture which he did by attempting a sort of upside down pretzel shape - knocking over a cup of water as he fell.
I've got Chumpy again next Thursday but after that I get a Ballerina.
I'm on the top deck. Sitting across from me are two boys aged around twelve years old and a chic young woman who might be their big sister or aunt, they are talking and laughing and sound like they come from south London, she says:
There's this stuff called escargot, it's snails eggs and people eat it
it's like caviar which is fish eggs, you eat hens eggs, what's the difference?
is tough and is a difficult concept for a child, my niece (age 5) and nephew (age 9) lost two grandparents last year, the 9-year old was beside himself with grief and decided to do something about it by raising money for Cancer Research and have a bake sale. He wrote to various supermarkets and packaging companies to ask if they'd donate ingredients and other things he needed. The local vicar said that he could hold the sale after Sunday service just before Christmas and my nephew posted about his endeavour on facebook (via his mum).
Orders came flooding in and by the end of the church porch sale he'd raised £700 which is bloody impressive.
this is the boy 4 years ago making a Star Wars birthday cake.
My 5-year old niece is still trying to work out what 'death' is and is currently doing a star jump after every time she crosses a road, shouting triumphantly with every leap
I drove the Man to where his filming crew, a big pile of suitcases and a bus were waiting for him to start a journey to Costa Rica where they will make another film about animals.
Today at 5 am I drove Kanako to the airport so she could start her journey back to Japan, we did a lot of crying and then I went home and cleaned our empty house and then I filled the car with logs and jumpers and cake and drove to London.
I drove to Putney, to the house I am taking care of during school term time - the house with the Rude Mad Man next door. Currently it is also the house-with-a-broken-heating-system-until-a-Man-comes-to-fix-it.
we are making sure that we have exchanged as much vital information as possible. I have introduced her to oxtail and steak-and-kidney and she has discovered English sandwiches and jam rolypoly for herself. On Christmas day we did crown-wearing at dinner.
Yesterday we held a conference
have you had mince pies?
yes at least seven pieces they are very delicious
Christmas cake was missing from the list but luckily we found some that I hadn't eaten yet, we also covered bramble jelly, fried christmas pudding, sponge cake and marmalade.
We moved on to some Japanese essentials
1) Dried firefly squid tastes densely old fishy and gluey, the tentacles have a nice crunch but the wings and body have the texture of a plastic blister pack - this aspect is a bit sore on the mouth.
2) The Japanese winter sock routine involves four pairs of exquisite white socks, the silk and cotton socks with toes - footgloves - first put on the silk then the cotton. Then the silk foot mittens then the cotton foot mittens until you have a pair of very fat and warm feet.
This is the secret to being able to continue wearing little thin flattering easy-to-move-about-in clothes on the top of your body in winter.
3) The Japanese omelette is a delicious and beautiful thing.
Put a fish-and-seaweed teabag in a cup, pour on a little hot water, add this infusion to eggs in a bowl and beat with chopsticks.
Heat a little vegetable oil in a frying pan (at this point my drawing skills fail)
Pour some of the fishy egg in the middle section of a pan, muddle it around until set then add a small pool of egg mix to one side, as this part sets the middle section can be rolled onto it then you can lay down another side section of egg and roll again, if you add seaweed at each part the omelette spiral becomes more evident and very beautiful. The end result is a fat egg sausage to be sliced up like a Swiss Roll