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A long April

At last a hint of spring even if it is still freezing. I think it happens every year though, I always feel the same sense of winter dragging on and on as if it will never warm up. We’ve had lots of sunny days but I’m still wearing winter track suits.

Apparently people are desperate to get out of their day pyjamas and dress up, spending loads on make up and nail varnish in particular. I can understand wanting to have a change for sure - I’m getting a bit fed up with slobbing- about clothes - I always feel the same though when seasons change and wanting to get new things. I do not want to wear anything restricting or uncomfortable though. Mind you I’m not sure I ever have; maybe when I was younger squeezing my feet into heels or lying down to put ridiculously tight jeans on. I can’t believe that high heels are still around in some ways.

A week ago today was opening day for the shops but I’m not going anywhere unnecessary. It’s tempting to start rushing about (as if!) but I read a horrifying account of people who were planning to cram everything they could into an un-lockdown fest. I don’t want any part of some mass joy. Mind you I did have to go into Sherringam to the optician last week and there were loads of people out and about (quite a lot of tourists) but they didn’t look particularly happy (I won’t publish my review of Sherringam).

I don’t think I’m a particular kill joy but I see little to celebrate really. I’m not convinced that we won’t have to have another lockdown by about September. On the other hand there are reasons to be cheerful which contradicts myself; I guess that’s what’s called mixed feelings.

I did go to Richard’s antique shop to look at the painting rehang he was doing. I’d taken quite a few in before lockdown so it’s good that they will finally be in the open shop. I forgot to take photos though. Although I did take one of Richard’s dog Roxy as he asked me to paint her:

I rarely paint animals so I’m quite pleased with the picture; I managed to capture her look.

I can’t think of any great gastronomic events this week. Apart from a nice Persian rice dish to use some left over chicken. It has delicious a crispy rice base which is on the top when you turn it out. Oh, we’ve also started on the first local asparagus of the year with shaved Parmesan which is always a treat. I also made a dish of salt baked jersey royals, asparagus, leeks and sauce gribiche (like a Mayo with cooked egg and capers and gherkins)

The garden is coming along but the tulips seem painfully slow, there are plenty of them coming through but some casualties from something eating their leaves. It may be a pheasant but I’m not sure. We have a huge one that comes in from the field at the back to pick at the nuts and seeds that the birds have dropped from the feeder.

I’ve taken delivery of lots of sweetpea seedlings but I’m worried that I’ve repeated last year’s mistake and put them out too early, also the phlox. I also have some different coloured cosmos which I put in the little greenhouse and something got in and ate the tops of a whole row. That definitely wasn't the pheasant, probably a mouse.

M has his tomatoes going and I have a selection of veg (mainly salad, reason being that I’m tempted by all the lovely bitter leaves that we can’t get here easily, like the big frilly endive and the Treviso. We do have some french beans and I’m planning some little spring cabbages.

I’ve now had my second covid jab but I don’t feel particularly protected. Not sure why, perhaps because it’s all so new and untested really. I will go to our monthly Cley exhibition that starts on 1st May. It’s been strange painting in a sort of vacuum and difficult to get inspirarion. I was pleased to see my paintings in Richard’s though; he has 17! Some little Iris in oil:

Now the flowers have started coming that is some motivation although I’m going through some sort of transition with oils and finding it hard to produce much that I’m happy with. The temptation is to go back to acrylics for a while which I might do but I can’t let it feel like a defeat. This was one that I think is ok:

Here are some beautiful paintings by Raoul Dufy

And Ralph’s lovely paw:

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