Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Where Is The Justice?

It's not my intention to depress you my dear readers, but something has upset me considerably today, and I am having trouble coming to terms with it.

I really ought to stop reading newspapers, because these days in one way or another they only serve to upset me.

What's happened, you may be asking?

There is a bloke whose name is Adam Hewitt. He is 25 years old. In 2007 a family court judge found that Hewitt was responsible for fracturing the skull of his then girlfriends baby. The police failed to charge him when the incident first happened. They again failed to charge him despite the family court finding.

Hewitt later formed a relationship with another woman. Guess what? Her baby suffered 11 fractures and ended up in a coma with permanent brain damage.

So two babies brain damaged. Hewitts sentence? Five years! This means he will be out in 2 years. Where is the justice?

I know I shouldn't think like this, but I can't help hoping he gets a bloody good hiding in prison.

On the same day, two people got eight years each for doing a bit of gardening, and growing a few 'herbs'.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Any Colour You Like, As Long As It's Green Or Cream.

I decided to let a little more light into my studio! This should make quite a difference. I will let you know.

This is my latest painting. This window only exists in this painting. I painted it without reference to anything, apart from my memory. When I was a boy all outside paintwork was painted mainly either green or cream.

Provisional Title: 'Section of sash window with net curtain'. Oil on board. 24x14 approx. Click to enlarge.

My first ever job was as an apprentice painter and decorator. I hated it, and left after a few months to join the Merchant Navy.

Ironically, in the Merchant Navy I spent most of my time painting the ships. Fortunately none of the ships I served on were green or cream!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Sadie The German Shepherd Ponders A Question.

Today I was sitting loyally beside John as he tried to hammer a large nail into a piece of timber. It was a hard wood and the nail kept bending. John was patient, well, quite patient. The swear words were muttered rather than shouted out loud. Each time he would remove the bent nail, hammer it straight on the anvil and try again. After several attempts, he finally saw sense, and drilled a hole for the nail to go through. At last. Success!

Having finally achieved what he had set out to do, he turned to me with a smile, and said, rather smugly I thought: "Now Sadie, if you were human, you would be capable of doing things like this. If you were human you could help me around the place instead of just sitting there looking bored. Don't you wish that you were human Sadie?"

I didn't answer. I never do. But I did ponder the question. The conclusion, and the answer I came to, amounted to this. I have a roof over my head. I have a bed to sleep in. I am well fed. I am loved. These things are enough for me.
Sadie Bain. The German Shepherd.
Humans always seem to want more. Are never satisfied with their lot. I could go on and on about humans, but I don't want to be a bore.

So, the answer to John's question is a big, fat, emphatic. NO!

So there you have it. I wish you love. As you know, love from my species is completely unconditional. Humans can't say the same.

                                                Sadie. The German Shepherd. x

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Sunday Roast.

I was invited to have Sunday dinner with Tricia and my extremely handsome son George today. Mmmm Sunday roast how lovely. We were to eat it from trays on our laps.

When Tricia brought George's dinner in, he had just gone to wash his hands, so she placed his tray on the sofa beside me whilst she went to fetch mine.

Looking at George's dinner tray there beside me, I thought it looked a bit precarious, perched as it was on a cushion. I was about to rectify this, when Tricia arrived with my dinner. As I took the tray from her, George's tray slipped from the cushion and crashed to the floor!

The plate smashed on the tiled floor. Broken crockery is not good to have mixed in with food. Sadly it was not salvageable.

George appeared. We all looked at the roast dinner on the floor. We all looked at my dinner steaming temptingly on my plate, with the delicious crispy roast potatoes and vegetables, and the yorkshire pudding.

I hadn't eaten breakfast. I was saving my appetite for this dinner. My mouth was watering. I had looked forward to this meal so much.

"You have my dinner George", I heard myself saying.

He protested of course. but I insisted, saying, " Please take it Son, I'm not really hungry".

I returned to my wagon, where, after I had managed to control my sobbing and wiped the tears from my eyes, I found a single slice of bacon in the fridge. I made myself a sandwich.

Yep, I'm a good Dad.


Saturday, 25 February 2012

What A Difference A Day Makes.

It is unseasonably warm. The sun is shining. I saw some snowdrops, celandine, crocus and daffodils. My body isn't aching quite so much today. I don't feel so old.

Celandine. Photo by Mandy Tu/The Nature Conservancy.
Are you well? I hope so.

Have a lovely weekend.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Thank You God, For a Young Mind.

A couple of days ago I had to cut short my walk with Sadie the German Shepherd. After just a few hundred yards, I had to turn around and limp slowly, painfully back home. The reason: Severe pain in the toes of my right foot. This is one of those intermittent niggles that goes with getting older I suppose.

There is also an intermittent pain in my left arm. This can cause me to swear out loud, when I turn it in a particular direction. Well, you might say, don't turn it that way. But I have to when I'm getting dressed.

The small of my back was killing me one night last week. Mind you I had been standing at my easel for ten hours.

These are I suppose, simply the consequences of getting older. I am getting older. The mirror, that hateful sheet of glass, loves to remind me of the fact.

My brain on the other hand, seems to delight in concealing the aging process from me. Constantly telling me I can still do the things I used to do.

In my mind I can still run, my feet hardly making contact with the earth, as I hurtle along. I can dribble a football like Georgie Best, or even my extremely handsome son Georgie Bain. I am still the grooviest mover at the Saturday night dance.

Georgie Bain about to score from a corner kick.
The reality hurts sometimes, and not just physically either. But despite it all I am still grateful for this life I have. Still able to enjoy it. Perfectly capable of taking a little pain.

Because at least I am still here. Given the chance to grow old, when so many, so many that I have known and cared for, and loved, were taken too soon.
Come on now, cheer up! I didn't mean to depress you. Let's all count our blessings.

Anyway, can't sit here all day. There is still loads of work to be done on the 'Ramshackle Gallery'.  

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Here Come The Next Twenty Thousand.

20,000. That is the number of page views this blog has received. Wow! That is quite something. A real milestone  reached.
Another milestone I have noticed, actually within the last few seconds, is the fact that I just managed to spell the word recived without getting the 'e' and the 'i' in the wrong order. Oh blast! I missed out the 'e' that time. I ought to go back and correct that mistake, but to tell you the truth I can't be bothered! But hey, one mistake uncorrected. That's a pretty decent record. When you consider the amount of writing I've done.

I want to thank you all for your support, and all your comments. I love the fact that you are there, and I think of you as real friends.

Recently, actually I first noticed it yesterday, a little box with the words 'composition editor' has began popping up as I write. I have no idea why, or how to make it go away. Do you think blogger is trying to tell me something? Do you know how I can get rid of the pesky thing? It appears when I move the cursor.

'Garden' by John Bain. Pastel.
Should I go back and insert the missing letter? No, don't think I will. It's about time you all found out, I'm not perfect! Sorry if you feel I've let you down.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Mr Messy

You may have met in me one of the worlds most untidiest people. Take this morning as an example. Actually if I'm honest perhaps you had better take the last several mornings. I look around the place and think to myself: 'this place is a mess'.

So what I do then is I make a plan of action as to how I shall deal with this self inflicted mess. Having made the plan in my head, and full of good intentions, Sadie the German Shepherd and I go off for a walk. It is usually during the course of this walk that my plans go wrong. Life intervenes, and my mind becomes as cluttered as my abode.

It is this cluttered mind which rules my waking (and sometimes sleeping) life. It is this cluttered mind, which results in me spending my days running around like a blue arsed fly, doing a bit of this here, and a bit of that there, and in the end accomplishing very little.

That is what has happened here. When I woke I was full of good housework intentions, and then I thought, 'hey! I'll blog about this!'

So you see, my untidiness is not really my fault. In fact it's your fault. If you hadn't been on my mind, I could have got such a lot done!

Sorry that's not really fair is it. I can't blame it all on you. There is another culprit. Surfaces. I have too many surfaces. If on the odd occasion I see a bit of clear surface I can fill it within seconds.

Oh well, I can't stop here chatting all day, there are things to be done. Now where did I put that duster? Ah here it is.

Hey look Sadie, the suns come out. "Walkies!"

Monday, 20 February 2012

Swimming Lesson.

Perhaps it was because of my horrendous childhood experiences of bath night with the wicked Miss Dee, when she would rinse the shampoo from my hair by forcibly pushing my head under the water, that I was incredibly nervous at the compulsory swimming lessons. You would find me standing at the edge of the pool, desperately trying to avoid being roped into going into the water.

One unforgettable day, after they had tried unsuccessfully to cajole me into the water, one of the housemothers decided to help me overcome my fear. She did this by picking me up bodily, and hurling me into the pool.

My descriptive powers are not able to properly convey my utter terror, as I found myself floundering out of my depth. Panicking wildly I desperately attempted to reach the safety of the side. To no avail, and I swallowed mouthfuls of water as I sank down. Coming up for air I could see them standing there, as they watched me unsuccessfully try to swim. My cries for help were ignored, and only resulted in more water entering my lungs.
Title: 'The Drowning Pool'.  24x18. Click to enlarge.
I thought I was going to die. Why wouldn't they help me? I could see the two women through the water. I could hear the muted cries of some of the other kids muffled by the water. My strength, was failing. I could no longer fight, stopped struggling and let the water take me. I cannot recall if my past life flashed before me. If it did, it would have been quick, as I had not had much of a past, being only six or seven years old at the time.

The next I remember was being wrapped in a towel, and being left in the changing room to dress myself. I made my way alone back to the house. The journey home is vague, but I recall being unable to breathe properly through my nose, and vomiting several times as I walked.

Unsurprisingly, this dramatic attempt at helping me overcome my fear of the water was unsuccessful. It was many years before I was able to try swimming again. I did learn to swim, but I will not go out of my depth.

Sometimes I wish I could confront some of those wicked, thoughtless, so called carers. Oh the things I would like to say to them!

Painting this picture has been an emotional experience. The paint is likely to contain a few tears.      

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Unfollowed.

I had at one time got this blog up to 55 followers. Yes, I know exactly what you are thinking, because I have had  the same thought many times myself: He really deserves far more than that!

Then I lost one. Oh yes, you're doing it again, reading my mind. Unbelievable I thought. Someone has unfollowed me!

That hurt. That cut me to the quick! I withdrew into myself. Booked myself in for some counselling. Never spoke to a soul for two whole days! Didn't eat. Hardly slept.

Unfollowed! What a horrid word.

One night in the pit of despair, I overly comforted myself from the whiskey bottle. Was arrested for drunk and disorderly.

Next day in court, I explained to the Magistrate that I had been unfollowed. She said if that ever happened to her, she would probably get drunk too. She threw the case out of court! With a word to the prosecutor about his lack of feelings.

About a week later, whilst cleaning my shotgun, I took a look at my list of followers. Oh, dear, dear reader, let joy be unconfined! I had a new follower. I was back to 55.

I'm, (come on, sing along with me) H. A. P. P. Y, I'm, H. A. P. P. Y, I know I am, I'm sure I am, I'm, H. A. P. P. Y.

What's wrong, don't you know the tune?

Saturday, 18 February 2012

A Little Sunshine On A Rainy Day.

"Good morning, and how are you today," says the pretty Saturday girl with a smile, as I approach the checkout till.

"I'm very well, thank you," I answer, whilst at the same time thinking, that if I told her how I really was, we could be here for some time.

But it was kind of her to ask, and her smile was the perfect antidote to the rain outside.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Let Battle Commence!

Look at this! I got a parking ticket. Do you see that disc thing? What you have to do is set that to your time of arrival. Because I am getting really old and my ability to function correctly is, on the odd occasion, somewhat diminished, I inadvertently set it to the wrong time.

I agree that I am a silly old fool. But I do not agree that a genuine mistake should be punished with a hefty fine of £50.00. They call it an excess charge. I call it an excessive charge.

The powers that be have rejected my challenge to this charge. I have rejected their rejection. I phoned the Council Dept responsible and told them this. I told them I will see them in court!

I'm not angry. I'm not even particularly upset. But I do think this is unfair. That is why I have decided to fight this. That, and the fact that I can be a stubborn old so and so when the mood takes me.

I will not hear anything for 28 days. Then their legal proceedings will begin. I'm looking forward to the fight. Besides, I've been thinking of taking up a new hobby!

PS. Sorry about the untidy state of my cars interior.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

A Few Hours At Church.

What a lovely day it has been weatherwise. The sun shone brightly through the mollicroft windows. Last night I had got to bed at a decent hour, so I was well rested.

My first thought after a morning 'cuppa' was a walk in the sunshine with Sadie the German Shepherd. After the recent cold spell it felt surprisingly mild. It was on the way back that I saw this view of the church.

Something has been cut back here because I cannot recall seeing the church from this angle before. It was the wall though that took my attention.

After our walk I collected my art stuff and hurried back to the church. On a nice day like this it was perfect for painting in the open air.

After about three hours I was happy with what I had achieved. Of course I wanted to share this painting with you. Hope you like it.
A view of St Mary's church. Yapton. 16x12. Click to enlarge.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Stockings And Suspender Belts!

You might possibly be aware that I have begun a series of paintings entitled 'memories from childhood'. This has caused me to delve even more deeply into the inner recesses of my chaotic mind.

I have already finished a couple of paintings along these lines, and a few more ideas have been written down for further consideration. Ideas such as 'the tragedy of the milkmans horse', and this: 'Mrs Williams fluffy jumpers'. But the idea that is exercising my grey matter the most robustly at this particular moment, even outweighing the prominence of Mrs Williams jumpers is: 'Stockings and suspender belts'.

There is a word for the kind of child I was. The kind of child, who might be more aware than perhaps he should be, about, shall we say, more grown up matters. There is a word for it, but at the moment it is eluding me. I shall continue writing and hope that the word presents itself by the time I finish this. How annoying that I can't think of it.

The magic words uttered by a woman, " Oh damn, my suspender is broken!" would be guaranteed to take my attention away from whatever book I was currently lost in. My interest was instantly aroused, and I would watch intently as, in situ, emergency repairs were undergone to this, to me, extremely fascinating item.

I'm sure had the women concerned known of my interest, they might have declared it an unhealthy interest. Because in those prehistoric days, any interest a child took in such matters was to be discouraged most severely. They might even have packed me off for psychiatric evaluation.

Fortunately for me, they didn't realise. How could they? I was still only in the first decade of my life. It was the fact that I was so young, and apparently, as far as they were concerned, so childishly innocent, that I was able to view proceedings with such alacrity.

Of course being so young myself I had no idea why I found stockings and suspenders so endlessly fascinating. I only know that I did.

As I grew older, I naturally studied the subject more closely, and of course discovered the reason for my fascination, and a very healthy and normal male interest it turned out to be.

In these more 'enlightened' times there is not so much secrecy surrounding female under garments. There is nothing hidden. There is no mystery. This is such a shame for the adolescent male.

I am so glad that I underwent my voyage of 'naughty' discovery, even though, in the words of the old song: "In olden days a glimpse of stocking was thought of as something shocking, now heaven knows, anything goes".

That's the problem these days. Anything goes. Not much excitement to be had in modern circumstances.

But oh what excitement in a glimpse. Just a glimpse of stocking tops and suspenders!

Right! Well, I'd best get on. There are pictures to be painted. I'll let you know how I get on.

I still cannot remember the word I was searching for earlier. It's a word that describes a child acting older than their age. I bet it comes to me as soon as I hit the publish button!

Got it! Precocious. That's the word I'm looking for. Just in time too! At least, I think that's the word.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

This Time Next Year I Will Be Famous.

It's 1-30 in the morning. What am I doing up at this time? Well actually it is not unusual for me to stay up most of the night. I am definitely a night person, and it's becoming worse as I get older. I've been sitting here, half watching drivel on the tele, waiting for the next painting to form in my head. It is there, the idea, I am just waiting for an element of composition to arrange itself, and off I will go.

I feel like the proverbial artist in his garret, surrounded here as I am, with paints brushes etc, and the smell of linseed oil and turpentine all pervasive.The canvas is there too on my battered old easel, staring at me blankly, with a hint of reproach at my tardiness. But I am determined not to be rushed.

It seems an age since I made any money. It is an age. Whether from art or any other means. When the warm weather arrives I will have to get out there and persuade the public to sit for portraits. Also I feel a determination to hold an exhibition, and not just in the ramshackle gallery I am making here.
Memory from childhood. Title: 'The wicked Miss Dee at bath time'. Click to enlarge.

I did earn something today though. My friend Chris the builder phoned me. He had killed a couple of rabbits whilst digging with his JCB, and knowing of my phenomenal bushcraft skills, he needed me to gut them for him. He intended to make a rabbit stew. Good for him. Waste not, want not, as the saying goes.

He paid me for this service: Three bags of logs and a bottle of red wine. I don't particularly like wine, but I might drink it. Just to help me forget how much I owe the bank!

Being an artist is not an easy life. I started being serious about it almost 50 years ago. I have sold lots of my work over the years, so there must be some merit in what I do. I certainly wouldn't recommend it to a young person as a way of life though.

Now here I am approaching 65 years, and do you know what? I think I can paint OK. I have a belief in myself. I'm going to be famous! World renowned! Yes that's right, world renowned!

Well you know my work, and some of you live in other parts of the world to me. Could you do me a favour please? Spread the word. Thanks. Much appreciated.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Warmer, Colder, Warmer, Colder.

The newspapers and television are full of it. Britain is in the grip of a battle between weather fronts. From the Atlantic there is a warm front in place over half of the UK. From the east a cold front has locked into place. It is right slap bang down the middle of the country. Half of us are having a mild spell. The other half are freezing.

On the outward leg of my walk today with Sadie the German Shepherd, I was heading south. Now I know that you are going to find this hard to believe, but in fact I was walking directly down the line of the warm and cold fronts. I know this for certain because my left ear was very cold and my right ear was basking in what in comparison felt like a tropical sun!

Fortunately for me, I was able to use my phenomenal brain power to devise a plan to combat the problem. What I did was, I walked backwards until my cold ear felt warmer, and then turned around again, to regain feeling in my other ear. Using this method I managed to complete the walk in comfort. Apart from the times I tripped whilst walking backward.

On the homeward leg of our walk, heading north, I had an even better idea, and simply walked two paces to my left. Thereby avoiding the cold front altogether! Unbelievable as all this may seem, I know it to be true, because I arrived home with two warm ears.

You might be thinking: That man has gone completely crazy! You are probably right. These ideas just pop in to my head. Sorry about that!

I have just finished this self portrait. It was while I was on the walk today that I realised I am sixty four and a half years old. I have titled this painting 'self portrait with woolly hat and reading glasses. Age sixty four and a half exactly '.

It's me that is sixty four and a half exactly, not the woolly hat! I don't know how old the hat is.

I think I do look a bit crazy in this painting. Perhaps I should get out more. Avoiding conjunctions between weather fronts, obviously!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

What A Naughty Man!

There was a bit of a surprise waiting for me today when I checked to see how my blog was doing. The readership had almost doubled overnight. Fantastic! Until I worked out the reason why.

Maybe it is just the way my mind works, but I can only put it down to the fact that I had used the word cock in the title, and there were photo's of two cocks also. Some people, looking for certain websites might have got the wrong end of the stick!

There must have been quite a few disappointed readers yesterday. I doubt very much if they hung around when they discovered the innocence of it however. Nobody made the decision to become a follower either. Oh well! Never mind, at least it made my stats look good.

Sunny Jim and his sister at three days old. A nice reminder of last Summer.
As a consequence though, I have found myself thinking of ways in which to get 'innocent' rude words into forthcoming titles. I know I'm being naughty, thinking along these sort of lines, but it's not as simple as it sounds. I can't think of anything at the moment. My innuendo brain has switched itself off.

You wouldn't do anything like this to increase your readership would you? But don't you think it might be fun to try? Oh go on, I dare you!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Cock Of The North! North End Road That Is.

There is a bit of a problem associated with letting my hens lead a free ranging, natural life. Namely a surfeit of cockerels. There are always more cocks hatched than hens, usually a lot more. From a dozen eggs you are more than likely to end up with eight cocks and four hens.

The trouble is that if a free range hen goes broody, she is likely to end up hidden away in some quiet corner or under the hedgerow. They are remarkably clever at hiding their nests when they decide to raise a brood.
Until one fine day she decides to reappear trailing a dozen or so little chicks. I love it when this happens. The year before last, one hen successfully hatched fourteen little 'uns.

Of course it is impossible to keep all the cocks. Once they reach maturity they will start to fight each other to the death. It is not pleasant at all to witness the plight of the vanquished. Also there is the noise. My neighbours put up with one cock crowing, but I would not want to inflict on them a dawn chorus of competing cocks. They have to go. When they reach about three months old they are dispatched, and make an excellent coque au vin.

This is 'Sunny Jim'.
This last Summer was remarkable in that only four chicks were hatched, and only one a cockerel! The 'Wing Commander' has not been doing his job!

The solitary new boy has reached maturity. He is a 'bit of a lad'. The ladies like him. They like him a lot! The 'Wing Commander' has had his feathers ruffled. He is not happy at all. There have been skirmishes. Nothing too violent as yet. But it is coming.

The new boy will not be dispatched. He will not end up in the pot. He is a good looking chap. Very 'busy'. Tricia has given him a name. She calls him 'Sunny Jim'. Though this fact alone is not what has saved him.

What has saved 'Sunny Jim' is that he has become remarkably fond of me. When he is not busy 'servicing' one of the ladies, he is to be found at my feet. He follows me everywhere. He is a good natured chap too. I don't know if this is the way he has planned things, but luckily for him, I like him also.

The 'Wing Commander'.
What the 'Wing Commander' will make of 'Sunny Jim's' continuing presence has yet to be determined, but I suspect they will both have to be kept an eye on. 'Sunny Jim' is going to be the bigger stronger bird, though he does not have the 'Wing Commanders' magnificence, he will win any fights.

The 'Wing Commander' will not end up in the pot either.

This is the way it has to be. The livestock lead a natural life here. Life isn't easy!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Luxury. I'll Pass On That Thank You.

Part of the problem was, that I have become used to living life without the little luxuries that most people take for granted these days. I must be quite a hardy old geezer. Well actually, there is no must about it, I am a hardy old geezer.
My extremely handsome son George. Age 4.

My first reaction on reaching our luxury hotel was, is this what passes for luxury these days? I had been expecting comfort. Things like big fireplaces and enormous soft armchairs, for a start. I had been expecting a concierge, and a bell boy to show us to our room. What I got was a lukewarm unsmiling greeting, and a request to confirm my credit card number. What I got was plastic armchairs, and stifling overheated rooms.

I had expected a twin bedded room, but it was a double bed. I went back down to reception to change it, but they had nothing available - she didn't even look - so my extremely handsome son George had to share a bed with me. Poor thing, and he does snore so. Do you know he had the cheek to blame the snoring on me!

After I had worked out how to turn the taps on, (really if they are going to change perfectly good taps for new fangled modern ones they should have the good grace to provide an instruction manual). I ran a bath. With the toiletries provided it smelt very nice, although sadly there were not many bubbles. I did not take a photo, you really do not want to see me in a bath without bubbles!

I stepped into the bath and just as quickly stepped out again. Swearing loudly. Too hot. Far too hot! Whilst shaking my scolded leg I somehow at the same time managed to work out how to add cold water.

George was knocking on the door. "Are you OK Dad?"

"BLOODY BATHS! BLOODY HOTELS! BLOODY LEGS SCALDED!" Then I remembered this was his birthday treat day, "Yeah I'm OK son."

I never stayed in the bath long, it was too hot even after adding cold water. So much for that longed for pleasure.

The bed, well it suffered from the fact that too many people had sat on the edge of it in it's lifetime. The mattress dipped. It was like lying on the side of a hill. George had chosen the best side. Purely by chance of course. I think I must have just imagined him trying the bed out before he made his decision which side to sleep on!

I didn't sleep well. What with trying to avoid falling out. Also the room was far too hot. Outside in the corridor, people were being noisy and inconsiderate, for what seemed most of the night. Friday night is not the best time to spend in an hotel. I know that now!

The breakfast was excellent. Except that it was self service. I had expected to be served at table.

Many many years ago I was a silver service waiter, in some of Scotland's finest hotels. I know what a real luxury hotel is. I know how guests should be treated. I know that it should be a real treat!

Yes I do realise that I am living in the past. But do you know it cost £130 for bed and breakfast! Wouldn't you expect something a little bit classy?

Apart from the hotel though, we had a great time. Our team got though to the next round of the FA cup. We took in some culture at a museum and an art gallery.

After the match.
The best part of all though, was that I got to spend a lovely weekend with my best friend, my extremely handsome son George. You can't put a price on that!