I stop work a little earlier in the studio this evening so that I can touch up the bottom of Wallace’s ‘Angel and the Multitude’ triptych which as it is free-standing on a chest has obviously rubbed a little of the paint from its base.
Wallace comes to collect his painting and Jane is also coming to visit. Wallace had kindly loaned us the Angel and the Multitude for when the BBC came to film in my studio. We chatter about this and that over Richard’s tuna mayonnaise and cucumber sandwiches and freshly cooked rock cakes. Wallace tells us how much Madge, his sister, enjoyed receiving the little Noah’s Ark miniature that I painted specially for him as part of my Open Studio at Christmas.
Went to the optician for a check-up. Such an interesting man who has an amazing machine that scans the back of the eye so he’s able to show me on a large screen that thee is no macular degeneration. And with another gadget my eye pressure is good too. So I’m very pleased.
Richard sees his haematology consultant. After analysing the blood and examining hm thoroughly, all seems to be well and he doesn’t need to be seen for three months. Hurray!
Today is trebly important. It’s Isaac’s birthday and Valentine’s Day and the day that Richard has seen the oncology radiotherapy consultant, who examined him thoroughly and found all to be well after his course of twelve daily doses of radiotherapy just before Christmas, so is able to sign him off, which is wonderful news especially as he is not on any treatment.
Henrietta, Kev and the boys arrive about 7, having driven through Storm Dennis. Samuel asks what has happened to our gates which Richard had repaired after last week’s storm but having made the gates strong again this time it is the six foot gate post with concrete spur that has cracked at ground level!
It is so lovely to see them, with Samuel bearing a beautiful bunch of flowers and Isaac following on behind him. We haven’t seen them for a month. It’s wonderful all being together to enjoy the supper Richard has prepared and catchup. It is Isaac’s birthday meal so we finish off with two birthday cakes!
Richard’s taking Isaac to the big skate park near Stroud which Isaac says is supposed to be the second best in the country. Henrietta, Kev and I watch BBC’s ‘Sacred Inspiration’ programme on Songs of Praise; I’m quite surprised as there seems to be a trailer for it after the News which I think mentions me and shows me working in the studio. Receive a couple of very nice e mails after the programme has finished, from people who have seen it.
They and Samuel go bowling. I’m staying here at the laptop as I’ve been awake most of last night mulling over which things to include in my eulogy at Geoff’s funeral tomorrow. Quite difficult to condense sixteen years into eight minutes and as his older brother Richard and his son Stuart have both died before him, I am the only keeper of his childhood and early years memories. I just manage to finish typing and read it through two or three times timing myself, when the two parties arrive back, Richard and Isaac being the last who have had a lovely time. I feel much happier but know I’ll lay awake again tonight memorising and making small additions or tweaks.
Kev goes off with the boys fairly early as he’s meeting his Dad at Taunton who will take the boys to join them and his sister Jo and her family in Devon. We’re very fortunate as the sun is shining and Storm Dennis seems to have disappeared. Setting out at half past twelve we arrive at the crematorium in Weston just after 2pm. Henrietta decides to wait in the car until kev arrives having collected Nathan Clementine and Jai. whilst we go in and bump into Gill, (who has driven all the way from Bedfordshire) coming in from the opposite direction. Then Nathan comes in looking stunning and very handsome in a black velvet jacket that has a large ochre coloured chain print all over it which teamed up with a black polo neck and trousers looks very elegant. He’s bought the jacket specially for the occasion. Henrietta and Clementine look beautiful too, Henrietta in a long green and black skirt with pale pink blouse and Clementine in a long dress with soft diagonal almost smudged green and red stripes and elegant black jacket. Jai looks sweet with her top knot and soft red teddy bear fabric coat. I’m wearing my embroidered purple velvet Beatrice von Treskov coat and vintage top hat with purple net and rose, to echo the beautiful purple coffin that Nathan ad Henrietta had selected. We enter to The Band’s ‘The Weight’ - all three pieces of music are from amongst Geoff’s favourites, Bria Eno’s ‘Another Green World’ and the Stones’ ‘You can’t always get what you want’ as the exit music.
The Order of Service has a recent photograph of Geoff smiling in a purple velvet suit.
After the welcome and introduction by Christine the celebrant she introduces me. I make my way to the lectern holding the papers with my piece but decide that I’m going to speak it from memory. I’m pleased as my voice is strong and not wavering and I enjoy this brief synopsis of Geoff’s parents childhood and our early years together. I end my piece by turning towards the purple coffin adorned with most beautiful colourful flowers arranged by Matthew, Geoff’s good friend’s partner and say in Geoff’s words that I would like to wish him for his final journey ‘Peace, Love and non-denominational Blessings’. I’m pleased as when I sit down Richard squeezes my hand someone just a little further up the row says ‘well done Mum’.
There then followed a moving tribute written by Benedicte, one of Geoff’s students and read by Matthew. It’s very touching and reflects the esteem and affection his students held him in. He was for many year director of a postgraduate course in design at Central St Martins, University of the Arts London. Next the celebrant with her celebration of the life of Geoffrey Robert Crook.
I am the first person to make an exit and am very touched when a couple of Geoff’s friends who used to look after his cars come up and tell me that when I spoke about our early creative years in London as Pamook Designs, it could have been Geoff speaking, as he had recently told them almost word for word what I had said. I had also recalled that many years later when we had met up Geoff said that he remembered our time together making and creating as being the most wonderful in his life. Matthew also said the same at the wake later in the afternoon.
Back to work in the studio whist pondering the world threatening dilema
that is the new Corona virus Covid19 that has been rapidly spreading in China and is now gradually seeping in to every country with it’s spread by air and cruise ship travel. Italy currently the worse hit in Europe is struggling to contain it.
Lunch at Eckington Manor as guests of Robert and Toyah along with Cressida and Charles. It’s a delightful occasion, they are all wonderfully effervescent and fascinating people, each in their own way and the conversation ranges over different topics including hearing about Cressida’s latest book and how the more she researches the more she feels she needs to. To the films that Toyah has recently or is about to work on. Charles, who has the Real Petal Confetti Company says that some of his fields are under water and Robert who is going to be writing four books this year.
Thursday 20 .2.20
Work and pray.
Work and Pray
Work and pray
Diane Savory and Nancy and Judith came for lunch to talk about the RWA’s fundraising appeal. Richard made pea and mint soup. Lots of good ideas exchanged; it felt very fruitful.
It is both Shrove Tuesday and Richard’s birthday and tonight we’re having a bit a pancake feast when friends come to dinner to help celebrate it - such a lovely evening
The canvas as arrived from the Chelsea Arts Club for their charity auction so start work on it right away.
Nice email from Stephen at Trinity Modern confirming date of my Exhibition in July. Unfortunately Richard’s appointment ran late so we couldn’t get up to London in time for Venetia’s book launch “Nourishing a Nation” at the RAC Club in Pall Mall.
We drive up to London ad are babysitting Isaac ad Samuel whilst Henrietta and Kev go to his football group’s joint birthday party. They don’t arrive back until after 2am but seem to have thoroughly enjoyed it.
Richard drives into the gallery to collect my two constructions.
I spend the day working on the Arts Club ‘Living the Dream’ canvas.
We have a lovely meal cooked by Henrietta in the evening with yet another birthday cake to celebrate Richard’s birthday. His prize present was a beautiful photograph frame made in wood (with mitred corners) by Samuel at school. He painted it in a lovely turquoise as he know that is a colour he likes and had lettered ‘Granddad’ across the top. Richard had not one but two beautiful shirts from Henrietta and Kev. Such a lovely evening.