Sunday, 21 August 2016

Forced to Fib

Google image

The Wild Flower Season is very much upon us at the moment which plays a large part in why we have so many guests in our home. The last two lots had even paid plane tickets to come and visit so we didn't have the heart to put them off, although both my husband and I had/have colds - his has been a real old 'man cold' but lasting on and off for four weeks, whereas mine has sneaked in a week ago, so I am almost over it. It is at the stage where I feel OK but have temporarily lost my senses of smell and taste.  So it was with reluctance that I acceded to our visitors' enthusiastic wish to have a look at a famous Olive Farm nearby.  They walked in a little before us and I did voice my decision not to do any tasting but they had already bought tickets for us all.  It proved to be a very informative and interesting 45 minutes in which numerous tasty olive oils/tapenades/jellies and different types of olives were passed around together with a glass of both red and white wine.  My guests beamingly asked my opinion of the various goodies and I think I did a good job of lauding the their praises and expressing my preferences - all of which were lies. I couldn't taste or smell a thing except for one olive/herb spice of which I could taste the salt and one chile-enhanced product which made most of us cough. There was one good result though:  I did buy quite a few of the things I thought I might like. I'll enjoy them at a future date when I am better.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

A Confusion of Beds

This is actually in the little holiday flat we rent out

In another life about 20 years ago, big son was 17, my daughter was 14 and small son was 7 (and not in this particular picture). We had strict boyfriend/girlfriend rules along the lines of those of the 1960s when we were young:  ie. you do not have sex (awful phrase but there you are, that's what it would have been) in our house - although we know you are probably 'doing it' (another awful phrase) elsewhere.  At those ages we were terrified of unwanted pregnancies. In fact, I was relieved when my daughter at 16 asked to go on the pill "for her skin" - at the time virtually unblemished. Twenty years on, we are somewhat more relaxed as far as small son, now 27, is concerned.  We have all successfully navigated one or two serious relationships of his without incident to the extent that now when he brings the new girlfriend (there has only been one before) to stay for the week-end I offer them a shared bedroom with a changed conscience, reasoning that at this age small son deserves a sex life and a girl in her twenties will have the sense not to get pregnant. So last week-end (we have 3 spare bedrooms), small son was coming with the new love and I planned to give them the best bedroom because normally (shame) when all my kids come - the others with their children - I have to give the families the bigger, sunnier rooms, and small son gets the 'back bedroom'.  This time I could make amends. Then my daughter phoned to say they were coming - OK still one decent room available, but then big son phoned to say they 'might' come too.  Consternation on my part. Now small son will be relegated to the back room again - with its all too recent memories of his last love affair.  What to do?  I was actually quite cross. Needlessly.  In the end, big son didn't come and when small son & partner arrived first, he automatically aimed for the back bedroom and said 'This will be ours'.  So much for my worries. Although I did steer them towards the second bedroom and felt good about it.  I mean what if someone told the new girlfriend about the old one? I would have felt awful wondering how many others had been in the same bed. I made the mistake of asking my husband 'How many other girlfriends had slept in your bed before you met me?'  While he stared at me I recovered my senses.  "Please don't answer that", I said.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Learning to Draw Faces

First attempt on the left

So this is my new hobby, mindful of the fact that to ward off Altzheimer's one needs to learn new things.  I am trying to teach myself to draw.  These are my first two attempts plus the photograph out of a book I am trying to reproduce, of a Greek fisherman.
I should point out I was useless at art at school, but I have heard anyone can be taught to draw. Well I can't afford lessons but have taken the bull by the horns and have decided to have six attempts at drawing this man's face. I am puzzled that I can't seem to capture his slightly sinister look at all. My first effort looks more like the man's father or perhaps his brother?  My second attempt completely failed around the eye area (looked like a five-year old's effort) - to such an extent that I have been obliged to close his eyes and pretend he is sleeping. I spent about half an hour on the first try and maybe twenty minutes on the second, although I realised I could spend another hour trying to get the eyes right - that's when I gave up.  I wonder what the secret is?  I understand that I could learn various technical things about drawing faces in general e.g. they eyes should be half-way down the entire skull area (shouldn't they?) Surely I should be able to just observe the original carefully enough to translate the eye to the hand?  Also, the second attempt is on textured paper in a sketch book, whereas the first was on smooth paper from my printer. I guess the answer is just to keep trying. It is certainly an absorbing and frustrating challenge. I assume I will improve with practice? Funny that my first effort looks to me better than my second.