A lot of water seems to have been passed since my previous post in spite of the fact that it was only two weeks ago. Firstly, I had a birthday, a significant birthday, one that means I can no longer use my age as one of my lottery numbers, an age that can be expressed using a single Roman numeral. Looking on the bright side however, thanks to David Cameron I'm actually two years further away from collecting my pension than I would have been under Labour, which must mean that I'm actually younger than I thought I was, thank you Dr Spin, I feel much better about things now!
I celebrated this millstone (sic) by visiting Port Eliot for the first time http://www.porteliot.co.uk/ It's somewhere that I've been meaning to see for ages and on the whole it didn't disappoint. The weather was also fantastic which meant that as well as the house (and the quite astonishing Norman church) we were able to take full advantage of the gardens and parkland. There are a couple of phone pictures below of the railway viaduct and the boathouse. It's practically roofless and in need of some TLC but I found the boathouse to be beautifully simple and strangely touching (or maybe this is the age at which sentimentality kicks in big time?). The house itself is attractively scruffy inside in the kind of effortlessly upper class way that Sunday supplement 'shabby chic' can never replicate. It helps that it's loaded with first class pictures, a great many of them by Reynolds (these days part of the Plymouth City Museum and Art gallery collection, yep, 'death duties' again). And of course along with the Reynolds you also get the magnum opus of Plymouth's other most famous painter Robert Lenckiewicz. It is at this point that I should confess to a rather intense dislike of Lenkiewicz, both of his work and of his public image. I was however prepared to have my preconceptions challenged and my opinion altered. I genuinely approached the 'Round Room' willing to be impressed and open to persuasion, unfortunately it was not to be, so Lenkiewicz worshipping Plymouthians please look away now. Frankly, it's a mess. Conception, composition, execution, the whole shooting match, in short, it doesn't fucking work! Sorry folks but it simply confirmed my opinion of him as a one trick pony (and an imperfectly mastered trick at that). It just made me wish that one of the previous Port Eliot incumbents had got a Whistler in to do it (James or Rex, it wouldn't matter which). Anyway, to end on a brighter note, they do a cracking cream tea in the cafe in the old stables but they are currently missing a trick with the rest of the building. It would make ideal studio, workshop and gallery space for small artisan businesses.
A few days later it was also Diane's birthday (my lips are sealed concerning her age, I have no wish to die young) and we celebrated in the traditional manner by visiting a garden centre and getting lost on the way. Seriously how can one road, the A388 go through Launceston in three different directions?
Which brings me to the 'minor' operation part of the title. I am now the proud possessor of a pair of grommets inserted into my eardrums, thank you so much. Could anybody possibly tell me when they are going to start working? It's just that that was nearly a week ago now and so far all they've done is turn up the volume of the tinnitis from annoying to almost unbearable. I could also have done without the post nasal biopsy, I've spent the week pouring snot like Fungus the Bogeyman's bath taps and waiting for the swelling to subside. I think I now know what it's like to have someone try to kick your teeth out from the inside! Needless to say, not a lot in the way of painting has been achieved recently.
Marriages, hmm, oh yes, I remember, a couple of toffs got hitched in a Big Fat non-Gypsy Wedding somewhere in the capital of our once great empire (© BBC circa 1922) and those loyal subjects currently in paid employment got an extra day off.
Unfortunately both mine and Diane's birthdays also coincided with some less welcome news, in my case it was the death of Lis Sladen http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-13137674 and on 25th that of Poly Styrene http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-13193968 "I know I'll probably be remembered for Oh Bondage Up Yours!" she told 6 Music last month. "I'd like to remembered for something a bit more spiritual." Trust me Poly, if you were my age in 1978 'Oh Bondage Up Yours' wasn't just spiritual, it was sublime.
Work in progress and other stuff that happens.