Giant Boy asked me to shave his head yesterday. Absolutely not, I said, and we settled for a short back and sides that made him look like a sinister Russian soldier from 1945. His hair did need cutting, and I agreed that something needed to be done. But shaving his head makes him look unrecognisably awful and very dangerous. As he is my baby, I can't have that. So, he has shaved-ish back and sides and a nice flop of hair on top. Looking like a sinister Russian soldier from 1945 will have to do. Besides, we are going to Grandma's today, and she, at 84, doesn't mince her words and has the right to put him in a cupboard for the visit.
|We didn't go for this look this time, the shaven psycho look. Grandma will identify with the hair still on the top of his head, and I am happy, a win win situation.|
I still have my four lodgers. They are remarkable people, they live here and don't go mad. In fact, my dear Anxious Pole mowed the lawn for me again yesterday. (Same pattern as last time. I ask Giant Boy to mow the lawn, I hear the lawn mower, and Giant Boy comes into the sitting room to pass the time of day. We sit for a few minutes in silence, the lawn mower going in the distance, and I realise that once again, the Anxious Pole is doing it. I never ask if he is happy to do it, I don't want to know. There must be some kind of bartering system going on, but as I say, I don't want to know.)
1. The Conversations.
|First one held last week, chatting over dying to waffles and coffee. How it should be.|
I am meeting with my dear friend Mandy Preece on Wednesday, in Bournemouth. Mandy is a Home Funeral Celebrant and Soul Midwife, she is the business. She and Cannon John Hyde of TESSAC (The Province of the Ecumenical Society of St Augustine of Canterbury) are holding an event in which the A Graceful Death exhibition will feature. This is good. Mike Hardy, who I painted for the exhibition, has not been able to come to see himself on film or painting in any of the exhibitions as his Motor Neurone Disease has prevented him. All my AGD exhibitions have been too far away or in places inaccessible for wheelchairs. In Bournemouth, there will be a chance he can come and take part. I am very hopeful, I would love to see him and his wife at the exhibition.
On the 27th and 28th of September, AGD will be going to Ascot to join a festival called Resilience and Self Empowerment in a Time of Transition. It is run by a group called Ascent, and will be held at the All Saints Church Hall, London Rd, Ascot SL5 8DQ. AGD will be muscling in there under the banner of Resilience, the rest of the festival is about conservation and climate change. I shall do my bit, and AGD will stand tall for climate change. And dying.
At the end of November, I hope to go to Swansea with Kiera Jones and Jim fox of The Centre fame. Jim and Kiera have set up this amazing Centre in February 2011 in Swansea. It provides complementary therapies for those living with cancer and other life limiting illnesses free of charge. Keira is a palliative care nurse and Soul Midwife, and is a most loving, strong and amazing lady. Jim and Kiera are gentle, modest, movers and shakers, they put themselves out to help others, and if I do go up there to do an AGD event, I am honoured to be associated with them.
Here are two paintings just finished for two baby boys, found abandoned in Ethiopia a few months ago. These little treasures have been adopted into this country, and are being christened today, for which these pictures were commissioned.
|The little fellow on the left likes watching the leaves in the breeze, and the little fellow on the right loves drums. Both have Ethiopian angels to watch over them.|
They say that change is difficult. Goddamn right it is. I am moving on to a bigger more focused vision of using the A Graceful Death exhibition and projects, which is easy to say (write) but what the hell does it mean? Quite. When I was painting in the exhibition, that was my job. It was hard, it was moving but it was strong with a painting and interview at the end of it. I made the right decision to stop painting for the exhibition, it is big enough, and I need to move on and out into the community more. But I am not sure what to do and how to do it. Eeek, I say. However, despite feeling as flotsam upon the heaving sea of life, I am a tough old boot and will sort all this out in time. I have followed some excellent advice from my old pal Jane, and have a large notebook in which to write all my thoughts and plans willy nilly, in order to make sense of them later.
I have a dream of living in a quiet household, where the jobs are all easy and nothing goes wrong with the plumbing or the paintwork. I live happily doing all that I want, my children happy and busy elsewhere, all with cars so that they can leave soon after they arrive and they always arrive with lots of food to help with the catering. My garden, in the house of my dreams, is wild, colourful and splendid, a gardener coming rain and shine to keep it going because he is devoted to it and longs to mend all the trellis work that collapses off the wall onto the lawn narrowly missing the long suffering Anxious Pole as he mows the grass having come to some agreement with the owner's son who should be doing it, now playing the piano inside and peeling grapes ....
And so on. I think I long for a quiet life where I am unencumbered by domestic duties. And I have staff. And everyone does things for me. All the time.
I did go to Misty in Roots in Brighton though, this week. My daughter Fancy Girl and her boyfriend took me as a treat. So I do have fun times. I have not seen Misty play since 1981 and so this was a big deal. They are elderly like me now. Wonderful.