I have been holidaying, basically all summer long, since we finished Grumpy. I have been away four times, to France- to the ile de Re, Scotland – Edinburgh to be precise, Greece to the Island of Follengandros and Sicily – to PAINT with Flavours Holidays.
I shall deal with these hols in chronological order!! And at the end of the blog there will be a quiz to see if you’ve been paying attention. There won’t be really but WARNING, this blog will contain art work and holiday snaps.
Actually I mentioned Ile de Re in my last blog and posted a pic of donkeys in pyjamas, so there’s not much more to tell you as we only popped over for four nights. But if you do go, hire an electric bike and spend your time whizzing past teenagers who cant understand how a fat middle aged woman and her even more ancient partner can overtake at 90 kph, hahaha.
Also, the beaches are great, but the sea is very far out and there are no facilities, which is odd. Although the French are supposedly very food orientated, they don’t line their beaches with snack bars and take-aways. They don’t serve enough veg either – they like their meat unaccompanied, whereas I like loads of veg and a salad on the side and some mayonnaise, but then I’m a savage.
Whilst in Ile de Re I was very taken by a mimosa tree in the hotel garden, so I did a painting.
Beach in Ille de Re
Painting flowers makes me feel like a Victorian lady and I tend to do it with a very straight back and a small squirrel – hair brush
(sable actually, but squirrel brushes used to be popular- God I’d love to do a quiz).
Anyway, my next summer jaunt was to Edinburgh where the playwright daughter had two shows at the festival, ‘Epic Love and Pop Songs’ and ‘Torch’. Epic love is published by Nick Hern books and will be at the Pleasance in Islington during the first week of October. Both shows made me laugh and cry, Torch is a one woman show performed with such glory by Jess Mabel Jones who is an utter star, the ultimate quadruple threat, can sing, dance, act and she’s funny- beat that – I know I can’t.
Me and Phoebe stayed in a well known bog standard chain hotel, which charged £350 for one night – with complimentary mould in the bathroom and two Tetley tea bags- honestly what a fucking racket – still we had a good trip, saw some great stuff ( ‘Joan’ by a company called Milk is wonderful), some ok stuff and one dreadful dance show (Guardian recommended) from which we crawled out on our knees. We also saw some good art and I ate a kebab at 2 o’clock in the morning – so that was good.
In the old days I used to perform up at Edinburgh for almost a month – one night this year almost killed me and I was horribly hungover on the train coming home.
Alice Neel painting
Phoebe and a lovely rug exhibition
Fortunately I had sufficient time to recover before the old man and I jetted off to Greece for a week of doing sod all on a very remote island called Follengandros – no, I’d never heard of it either- it’s a very barren little place with one gorgeous tiny town and really nothing else! Which meant we could slob out and read books and generally loll about in a very nice hotel indeed.
Hotel in Follengandros
I had a lovely time but after a week I needed to come home and see some culture and feel some connection with the real world. Also me and the old man caught colds – I blame the air conditioning, so we came back in a worse state than we left- and no it wasn’t the booze!
However we managed to rally in time for our last holiday, a week of water colour painting with Flavours Holidays in Sicily – now this was great, we’ve done a Flavour’s Holiday before a couple of years ago in Italy, so we kind of know what we’re getting
Basically a mixed bunch of people are put together in a smart farmhouse for a week and in this instance seven were learning to cook and seven were learning to paint. Well six really, the old man is a bit advanced to be a learner so he went off and did his own thing, whilst me and the other ‘improvers’ had lessons in the morning and free time in the afternoon. There were trips out and sights to see and Flavours organise everything – there’s also no single supplement charge- so it’s the ideal choice for people who want to holiday on their own without paying through the nose for it.
Ok, so it’s not rock and roll, it’s a middle-aged kind of thing and we ranged from a gorgeous 43 year old Café Nero manager to an almost 80 year old widow. There were couples and widowers and those you didn’t like to ask – but it was all very jolly and there was a lot of free wine and because it was completely catered, there was none of that boring supermarket shopping to do.
So anyway, I cant recommend it highly enough – if you’re the sort of person who has been thinking about this kind of holiday, check them out, in the meantime- check out my ART.
Cactus wax and watercolour
Pomegranate wax and water colour
Vegetable wax and watercolour
Sketch of buildings
Sketch of Church
Sketch of a man
Sicly’s countryside is not madly beautiful particularly when everything has dried out in September but the towns built into the sides of cliffs are incredible and evens mall places have some remarkable architecture.
Here’s a lovely selection for you…
We were also very comfortable in the Flavours villa, which looks like this and has a donkey in the field next door.
And that’s your lot for now, because I need to crack on, I’ve a tour to get back to and a book of short stories to edit and right now I’m meeting Ms Susie Blake as we have both have completed tapestries to take to Fine Cellwork where they will be turned into cushions.