Here’s to a Peaceful and Prosperous 2019

It started with fireworks, and I expect the Brexit fiasco will bring many more during the year.

Although we weren’t in London to see them I always enjoy watching them from my comfortable armchair. Christmas Day was spent with Val and my niece Louisa and her family in her home in Marlow. Lovely day and magnificent meal. Kate has a new friend – a Labradoodle dog called Bob (named after her great grandfather – my brother)

She loves her Bobbie.

Nice to listen to this music

I had some very nice Christmas presents, including a lunch for two by Atul Kochhar – the Michelin starred Indian chef, and a guided tour and a wine-tasting day at a family-owned vineyard near Marlow. A pair of great outdoor chairs for my balcony (from my young friend) And as I achieved a long- held ambition to fly in a Spitfire – this one – in July …

…I was thrilled to be given this book as well.

It’s a wonderful book – already I’m half-way through it. John Nichol has ,written about the history of this amazing aircraft from its inception before the war to many, many stories told by the brave young pilots who flew during the Battle of Britain and beyond. Flying in that Spitfire – even doing the Victory Roll, and especially taking over the controls at one point – was certainly my biggest thrill of the year. So much that I intend to fly again when I reach 85, but then to be in the air for a longer time and to fly over the white cliffs of Dover. (I had wanted to play Vera Lynn singing ‘We’ll Meet Again’ while I’m in the air, but my young friend has reminded me that I won’t be allowed to take a tape recorder or phone with me in the aircraft.)

One of my ambitions this year is to write a new book. I’ll be calling it ‘My Life in Miniature – Tales, travels, and technique’. This is my first rough design for the cover

It’ll probably take me a year to complete as it will encompass a full description of my technique and how I produce a portrait miniature ( so many miniaturists regularly ask when am I going to write my 4th miniature book) together with scores of interesting stories about the lead up to paintings – including how I came to be holding a miniature recovered from under the sea in 1912 when the “Titanic” liner sank in the North Atlantic Ocean. With my travels in Asia where I painted Sultans, Sultanas, Princesses, and a number of new-born Royal babies, there should be a lot to write about – and to illustrate. I intend the book to be about 200 pages, hard cover, with a short history of the subject, and 3 or 4 demonstrations, step by step, of my working methods. You can see by this picture of my desk today how the first few days of this project looks.

A week or so before Christmas I despatched a commissioned miniature portrait to The New York Historical Society in the USA but somehow it got lost in transit. Really worrying, but eventually- after nearly two weeks of worry on my part – it was found. Whew! What a relief.

I spent a few days last week in Suffolk staying with myf’s parents. It was her mother’s birthday – lovely meal to celebrate. And a walk along the seafront. I like the names of the beach huts. Here’s a couple

So more fireworks to end this blog

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