Monday, April 09, 2012

Birthday party

My daughter, at the age of 22 was at last entrusted with having the house to herself to have friends round for her birthday party. The rest of us decamped to the in-laws and had a lovely evening, where I sketched Robin's father after dinner. The house was beautifully tidy when we came back, so she's more than made up for her 13th birthday party (which does however make a far more entertaining story).

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Waiting for Hockney

I had a lovely day out to see the Hockney exhibition at the Royal Academy in London, courtesy of my son Tom a couple of weeks ago. I'm feeling far too lazy to write a post so I'm just going to snatch a story about our day from his blog. I would link to his blog, but his language is probably a step too far for my readers

Accompanying me on my trip was my mother, and seeing as we were so close to Soho and I thought it would be funny, I insisted she let me take her for a drink in a gay pub. She also thought this would be fun and we came up with a brief specification for somewhere to drink: reasonably quiet and with somewhere to sit. In the end this yielded no results but we settled on the Admiral Duncan seeing as neither of us had ever been there and it's a bit famous after it got nailbombed in the nineties. As we entered I got asked for my ID which I don't usually find insulting, but I did this time on behalf of my mother because I felt like the door guy was accusing her of trying to take an underage boy into a bar full of screaming queens. Crappy dance music from the mid-noughties was playing and the wine wasn't very cold. I don't know if it's cos it was a hot day or something, but my mum got really really drunk after one glass of wine.
We got a bus towards St Pancras and sat on the top deck whilst having a bit of a girly chat about ex-boyfriends. My mother was talking some guy who'd managed to impress her once by being a bit 'edgy' and 'interesting'.
"He wasn't even attractive. He was an ugly thing. And he was Irish," she said. Now, my mother is half-Irish and had a turbulent relationship with her crazy Irish mother, so it's become a bit of a joke in the family that she now hates the Irish, which is a semi-acceptable pretend prejudice to nurture for comic effect when you're in your own home, but you might want to tone it down on a crowded London bus. But my mother wasn't exactly sober, and a tipsy Mrs Oakley doesn't mince her words.
Also not exactly sober was the guy sat immediately behind us, who was what you might describe as 'a drunk', in the old skool sense. He was also Irish. I heard him muttering under his breath, a sort of husky, smoky slur. "What's she saying ... Irish ... who does she think she is" type stuff, barely audible. Not audible at all to my mother (who was in full flow), but I could just about hear him. I'm not sure if he knew I could hear him or not.
From his point of view I could see why he was pissed off at my mum but by the time I'd noticed we were already on another topic and I reasoned that it wouldn't be worth trying to steer the conversation towards getting my mum to retract the sentiment expressed. My mum doesn't really hate Irish people, but I didn't want to interrupt the conversation just to get her to clear this up. We were also chatting a bit about my ex-boyfriends and this didn't escape the notice of Drunk Irish Man, or as I will now refer to him, Drunk Irish Homophobe.
Mutterings assumed a slant of "gay boy ... disgusting gay boy ... f****ing disgusting gay boy ... who does she think she is with her gay son", etc. My mother isn't exactly deaf but I was gradually realising that her hearing is not as sharp as mine. She had no idea he was speaking. And she didn't until she asked me what was causing me to be in complete hysterics as we walked off the bus.
Overall a fun day. If you wanna go see the Hockney exhibit then hurry cos it's closing in a couple of weeks. If you want to skip the really long queue then go to Cass Art by Trafalgar Square and buy something. They'll give you a barcode on your receipt you can scan and you also get a pound off entry. Cheers guys.

The exhibition closes tomorrow , so that's your last chance of seeing it.

Mid-week music at The Mermaid

Waiting for my son Hugo to get his film ready to show at the college open evening, I managed to fit in a sketch of the pub across the road from the college. This pub, in St Albans, according to my older kids has a very enjoyable live music evening every Wednesday and if you’re into real ale it's apparently great for that as well. Personally I’m not a great fan of beer but as St Albans is the home of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) I feel any promotion of the stuff and local businesses is good karma for my business.

Oh and talking about good karma I've discovered a great new feel-good activity. At Sainsbury's (my supermarket of choice) they have a scheme at the checkout where they calculate if your shop would have been cheaper at any of the other major supermarkets and then give you a discount voucher for your next shop for the difference. Well do I ever remember to use the voucher? Hell no, it sits at the bottom of my bag with the fluff and stray bits of change and only gets noticed when it's past its use-by date. So now when I get one of these discount vouchers I always pass it on to the shopper behind me. It gets used and they're always pleased so a win-win all round.