A Veterans Tea Party

Last week I was invited to a tea party at Phyllis Court by the Not Forgotten Association as I am a member of the Malayan and Borneo Veterans. We were treated to a very professional troupe who sang wartime songs as they acted the parts of 1940’s favourites – including George Formby, Vera Lynn, Max Miller, Flanagan and Allen, the Andrews Sisters, and many more.

The entertainers were really good – and of course I remember all the songs, and even sang along with some of them. Being veterans we were asked to wear our medals for the occasion. Which may have contributed to the wartime atmosphere. Here are some of the acts.

I had visitors from South Carolina in the USA about ten days ago.

Renee and David Gillespie.

David is a stone-cutter, a miniature painter, owns a travel agency and he and his wife spend time re-enacting period scenes from America’s past. The reason for their visit was primarily to watch me paint miniature portraits. They are the first people I’ve ever let this happen. They were only in England for one week but managed to visit so many artistic and historical places in a London. They even went to Buckingham Palace and had lunch in the Palace Gardens! Both My young friend and I were given silk scarves made by Renee – and David gave me a rare half pan watercolour of Lapis Lazuli – my favourite colour. (How did he know?)

I took them to lunch at my club where they were intrigued to discover the delights of sticky toffee pudding and elderflower wine. But before they left I took a few photographs of David and then painted this miniature of him.

I plan to exhibit it in next month’s annual exhibition in London by the Royal Society of Miniature Painters, and in a year’s time at the Miniature Art Society of Florida’s annual exhibition. Eventually I will give the miniature to David.

Tomorrow I will receive the final made up proofs of my book. Originally I had intended it to be printed on a cream coloured paper (to simulate vellum – the surface I paint on) but unfortunately the colours, especially the black background pages, don’t reflect the true and sharp images I have made. So I will almost definitely have the book printed on a silk white coated paper.

We saw two good films lately – Downton Abbey

It was so good I want to see it again. We saw it during a weekend in Suffolk with myf’s mother. Highly recommended. We saw it in a really old fashioned cinema in Stowmarket. It reminded me of the first cinema I ever went to in the forties just after the war. This Tuesday we went to our local Regal to see ‘Judy’ with Renee Zellweger playing the part of Judy Garland.

What was really amazing was that Rene Zellweger sang all the songs herself. A truly remarkable feat as Judy Garland was credited with being the best singer of her generation. I read somewhere that special false teeth were made for Renee Zellweger to enable her to emulate the star’s voice!

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