Richard paints the new trellis; he and Kev move our scaffolding tower in the garden to make room for the trampoline, whilst I’m doing a little more to the Arts Club canvas. After a nice lunch with them ( I am aware that this might be the last meal we share for sometime) we pack up our goods and chattels from our studio/flat and return via the Chelsea Arts Club to deliver my canvas for the charity auction. I think its one of the only times in my life I’ve been told “You’re super prompt, PJ” as handing in isn’t until 5th!. Arrive home at about 9.30 pm.
E mail from Mark at Trinity House suggesting a meeting next week to discuss the exhibition I have with them opening Tuesday 21st July. I suggest we do it by Facetime, ‘phone or Skype at 2.30 on the 13th.
When Jess and Ian came todayday they were rather taken by surprise by one of my 3D pieces of an old lady kneeling at a prayer chair, as like many they momentarily thought she was real. She seems very evocative of our current crisis as it is the elderly and infirm who will be most vulnerable as the coronavirus figures get higher every day. I’m thinking of calling the exhibition ‘A Wing and a Prayer’.
David Singleton has just had dinner with Robert and Toyah where he says he saw many of my paintings, many of which King Crimson have used and checking they have not been remiss in supplying me with examples that have reproduced my work on and also asking if they might use a reproduction of my painting Expresso where they would like to change the front pages of the two newspapers being read, one to include a photograph of Frank Zappa the other the 21st Schizoid Man screaming head to announce their forthcoming tour of the United States with the Zappa Band. The actual painting lives in the collection of the Leicestershire Museum Services.
I email Nancy Chambers to apologise that I won’t be able to attend tomorrow’s meeting of the fundraising committee at the RWA in Bristol. In her reply it seems all but one of the other members had also sent apologies. I think perhaps most people are dong their bit to help lessen the spread of the virus.
Second day of the Gold Cup Festival meeting. Probably the only difference is that tickets are not fully booked for each day. My lovely friend and collector Sally Rowley Williams seems to be there with her horse. She will have flown in from Florida and her horse from Ireland. Sally owns my Seahorse sculpture.
Thursday 12 .3 .20
Boris Johnson addressess the nation on the severe threat the corvid 19 virus holds for us particularly the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. He says many of us will lose love ones before their time. My eyes well up and I fear I sound tearful when Henrietta phones to say goodbye as she and Gill are just about to fly off for a snow walking long weekend in France.
A productive ‘phone conference call with Trinity House. Really pleased as they have asked if I will have any of my 3D works to show alongside the paintings. This is really exciting as I have had a lot of ideas evolving in my mind over the past few weeks as now apart from the problem of global warming etc the whole globe is confronted by the conona virus covid 19 which I think is the greatest crisis since the Spanish flu outbreak of 1918/19. It seems perhaps to be a profound recurrence of a life threatening virus - more people died in that epidemic than in both world wars put together. again because there was the greatest population movement in recorded history with soldiers refugees and the civilian population being displaced throughout Europe. But of course we didn’t have the National Health Service and many people lived in overcrowded poor housing, people sometimes dropped dead on the street. guess this will be a dire time for the homeless too. Although it often brings out heroism and kindness we will also see stockpiling out of fear to an hysterical extent in a ‘me first’ attitude.
Jane comes to visit and of course much of our discussion is around the coronavirus. She does a lot of volunteering for the Wildlife Trust and National Trust and today she has been doing less physical work serving teas at Park Lodge,I guess we sort of realise that this might be the last time we see each other for some time!
So relieved that Gill and Henrietta managed to get their flight back from Geneva after their snow walking four day break in France where everything closed around them on Sunday. Henrietta said it was quite surreal. She and Gill waiting in Geneva were in touch with Nathan whose team had all flown back from the USA at the weekend but he had been sent on to Zurich by the Production Company and at one stage on Monday when neither he nor Henrietta and Gill knew if they were able to get flights back (as companies like Jet 2 stopped flying to French airports on Sunday) he debated whether to get car to drive them all back. But luckily they both boarded flights at roughly the same time from their respective airports.
Confirmation by the government that people with vulnerable health should stay a home and that when anyone can they should work from home and not meet in bars clubs restaurants or theatres.
Richard receives his text from the NHS telling him that he is one of the one point four million who must stay indoors for the next three months as his condition (low grade folicular lymphoma) would render him very seriously ill if he got the coronavirus. Which means I also can’t go out because if I did he’d have to eat his meals in a separate room and stay a distance from me. So we are very lucky that a lovely friend called Sarla, who comes to my Christmas open studio each year, has offered to pick shopping etc up for me. She’s collected a prescription from the chemist and apples which she leaves in the porch.
But the good thing is we’d already decided on a plan to keep him fit - he’s started digging the vegetable garden to plant. It laid fallow last year so needed extra digging to prepare the soil to plant new crops of potatoes, beetroot, green beans, onions, spinach, courgettes etc We already have gooseberry, blackcurrent a blackberry etc but they all need clearing of weeds too.
I‘m still working in my usual way on the large leapng hare commissioned by Paul in Australia the composition is gradually becoming denser especially in the undergrowth.
A beautiful box of fruit arrives from my sister Gill (via Marks and Spencers).
At 8 pm I went to the window and Richard went to the door to applaud our wonderful NHS - all those magnanimous, doctors, nurses, care workers, ambulance drivers, cleaners etc who are working tirelessly and selflessly on all our behalves - I can hear much other applause whistles and whooping and when I call out bless the NHS I hear a voice from across the lane saying ‘hear, hear’ it’s Kathryn on her balcony I can’t see her for the trees but its so good to share a conversation.
Work late on the Leaping Hare to try and get a photograph to Paul. Send it off….
…at about 4am
Very pleased when I get up to find an e mail from him saying ‘the painting looks stunning’. So we now need to find out if Fedex and TNT will still be delivering freight.
Our lovely village ironmonger Adey delivers six bags of compost, 30 7 foot bamboo sticks and a big box containing potatoes, apples, cauliflower mushrooms and onions that he has collected from the greengrocer Joyce Arnold, just around the corner from him
Richard’s busy making a custom-made box to fit Paul’s almost 6 foot wide commission. whilst I am working on the sides.
After continuing to paint round the edges of the frame etc I finally sign it and relinquish it into Richard’s care for packing whilst I’m talking to Jane on the phone. He’s packing it with layers and layers of foam and bubble wrap. Only when he’s finally sealed up the box can he weigh and measure it ready to book in with UPS who will collect it tomorrow.