Tuesday, 22 November 2016


Out for lunch at Ashvale Farm Shop Restaurant with three ladies from last term's Monday Night Pastel Class at the Island Centre: Barbara, Anjanette and Avril. 

Hadn't seen them for six months so we had a right natter for around two hours. You'd never believe from looking at this photograph that Avril was in a fairly serious car crash in July and maybe lucky to be alive today! Scary that! I think we all enjoyed our talkaway lunch – the Irish Stew I had was lovely so definitely a place I will go to again!

Barbara, Anjanette and Avril

Friday, 18 November 2016

Paint & Draw f-i-n-a-l-l-y arrives

About six weeks ago I subscribed to the unimaginably named new painting magazine Paint & Draw from Future Publications. I would get the first four issues for £5 and then monthly after that offer period ended for a quarterly debit of £11. I was looking forward to the first issue as it looked to be a superbly designed publication. In truth I was buying it as much for the great layout as the painty arty stuff inside. 

A few days later Paint & Draw confirmed my subscription in an email. Snag was it stated I'd be getting only 3 issues for £5 starting with the second issue at the end of November so I sent them a politely worded letter together with a screengrab of my original October purchase which clearly showed 4 issues for £5 starting with Issue 1. 

They seemed to forget about me for a while so I sent them a little reminder that I hadn't gone away you know, that I expected them to honour their contract. This time someone else contacted me by email and I was back to square one having to resend my vital screen grabbed evidence. Now I was getting quite narked at this. Eventually I received an email from yet another person that Issue 1 was being posted that day (2nd November) and would arrive within five working days. Blimey where was it coming from?

Seven working days passed last Saturday 12th November and totally peeved off I went in to my bank and cancelled my direct debit with Future Publications for MacFormat (another magazine I get from the same group - I had been a loyal customer with them for over fifteen years). The bank clerk informed me that I would have to tell Future Publications as well. Gladly!

Stuff the emails. When I arrived home I rang Future Publications and got through to Zenia and despite her beautiful strange name I finally got someone who seemed to have a grasp of the English language and my situation. She couldn't understand why I'd been messed about. Neither did I. She tried to get me to hang on in with MacFormat (as I expected she would) but I told her I had already cancelled it that morning with my bank and I wasn't heading back out into the rain to cancel my cancellation!

On Monday morning 14th November Mr Postie popped the first edition of Paint & Draw through my letterbox. Crikey Zenia. You're good! But then Mr Postie did the same thing on Thursday. So I now have two copies of the magazine. I don't think it's a goodwill gesture - more a sign of their total ineptitude - Zenia excepted!


Was it worth all the frustration and emailing? I hope so. I have flicked through it and it looks great. Work has been busy so when it dies down a bit I'll probably find time to read most of the articles before Issue 2 lands on my doormat – if I had a doormat and also assuming I will get Issue 2!

So moral of the story? Always screengrab your online purchases as evidence of your deal!

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

SERC Painting Class

This might be a little bit crazy but I have just signed up for a SERC painting class starting at the end of January. There's no guarantee I'll get on the pastel course at the Island Arts Centre and I desperately want to do something just to get me out of the house and away from my computers! Painting for Pleasure (a misnomer) is a mixed media course playing with watercolour, acrylic, oils, pencil and charcoal for sixteen weeks with fifteen other people. 

I would call myself proficient in pencil, all right with charcoal but running slightly scared of the other three as I have never done them before! I'll be totally out of my comfort zone but that's good and I am looking forward to new things! I'm going along with my old work buddy Anne Murphy who sold the course to me in a text message. Hopefully she'll keep me right!

It's supposedly all about form, tone, pattern, colour and texture. I'm looking forward to it though not sure where I am going to fit this, Lisnagarvey and Hillsborough Art Society all into a working week!

I had been looking at courses at the Crescent Arts Centre but the thought of travelling into Belfast and then looking for a parking space in those bunged up sidestreets around the Botanic area discouraged me.