I've recently returned from a week's visit to England to see my family and participate in the annual charity garden party put on by my daughter Justine. She lives in a beautiful house surrounded by a fabulous garden which she loves to work in growing wonderful flowers. For the last 4 years she has opened the garden to family and friends in aid of the local hospice. The girls make cakes and biscuits to sell and her mother in law comes with a friend to make and serve all the teas. For 2 days we all worked hard baking and cleaning, picking flowers to decorate the tables and looking forward to seeing everybody.
I had spent a lot of time in the winter binding sketchbooks and making lots of cards from my original paintings to sell. Justine is a talented beader and had plenty of her jewellery on sale too as well as lots of plants from cuttings and seeds. We set up our wares in her 'beading shed' next to the swimming pool garden house. My granddaughter Stephanie took plenty of photos and this is one of me just before we opened for business.
It was a bit slow to begin with so I started a sketch of the back of the house which I had to finish later as I was soon inundated with customers. Some of the visitors were very interested to see my sketchbooks full of drawings and I'm sure I inspired a few to take up the sketching habit too! One of Stephanie's friends was studying art at school so I lent her my coloured pencils to play with in the book she had just bought from me. All too soon the afternoon came to an end and we counted up the takings which came to over £500, the best result yet. I sold most of my books and cards and all the plants went too. I'm already planning my products for next year.
My other daughter Joanna took me back with her to Kent for a few days and we spent a lovely time together and playing with little Jimmy, her son now aged 2. One day we went for a drive in the country and along a narrow lane we came across a couple of lambs that had escaped from a field. Jo stopped the car and I tried to herd them back to their mothers who were bleating loudly at them to return to safety. It wasn't easy as they were fast movers despite their short fat legs but I finally got them to crawl back under the fence! Jo and Jimmy enjoyed watching from the safety of the car and I had a lot of fun drawing this from memory when I was on the train back to Stansted airport to go home.