Perhaps I had ambitions to be an MP - or an undertaker!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I wonder if you’ve seen anything like this before. I certainly hadn’t. Double click for a big enlargement.

It’s the guide for a “Painting by Numbers” picture.

In the few years before I retired, I enjoyed working with water-colours and also charcoal, and recently I had the notion to try my hand again at painting. I thought, to begin with, I’d try painting by numbers.

Now, if I had made my purchase in a shop, I would have seen the numbered pattern on the box and would have realised how fiendishly difficult it would be. However, the illustration on Amazon’s website looked great and so I’m now struggling to re-create Renoir’s masterpiece “The Luncheon of the Boating Party.”

When I began working on it, I estimated that I would have completed it by July!!! However, now that a few weeks have passed, I’m thinking probably Easter.


When my sister Rita and I get together, the conversation very often turns to the time when we were children.

Last week end we were reminiscing and I was remembering that, when visiting a house where there was a piano, or when guests came to our home, we would usually be asked to perform. I told her that I was always sitting quietly, desperate to hear the question “Are you going to play something for us, John?” From what Rita said, I think she was sitting quietly, hoping that she wouldn’t be asked to perform!!!

And that reminded me of an old Gracie Field song written by Noel Gay and Desmond Carter. Here are some of the words . . . .

I took my harp to a party
But nobody asked me to play,
The others were jolly and hearty
But I wasn't feeling so gay.
They might have said, "Play us a tune we can sing."
But somehow I don't think they noticed the thing.

They asked Mrs. Morgan to play her mouth-organ
And somebody else did a dance
They let Mrs. Carter perform a sonata
But I wasn't given a chance.

A north country person called Sandy McPherson
Played bagpipes and took off his coat.
While both the Miss Fawcetts bust out of their corsets
In trying to take a top note.

The others were jolly and hearty
But I wasn't feeling so gay.
I felt so ashamed at not striking a note
That I tried to hide the thing under me coat

They sang "Home Sweet Home" and "The Banks of Loch Lomond"
And "All the King's Horses" and "Trees"
While nephews and nieces kept playing their pieces
And spreading their jam on the keys.

A daughter called Lena, played her concertina
We all played ridiculous games,
Till old Mr. Dwyer set his whiskers on fire
And a fire engine played on the flames.

Yes, I took me harp to a party
But nobody asked me to play
So I flung the darned thing away!!!


When we were much older, we played piano duets together and did quite a bit of entertaining around the town. In fact, we popped up so often at social evenings that possibly some folk would whisper to their neighbour “Oh no, not those two again!!!”

We had a big book of duets, consisting of light classical pieces from the Victorian era. I remember one which wasn’t in that collection - “Country Gardens” by Percy Grainger. So to bring back more memories for Rita, here it is played by Daniel Adni.

Now at John’s Gallery -
Five famous paintings including the Mona Lisa


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