Painting and decorating, trying to keep Italian friends and creative breaks!


It’s been a busy few days. I’ve had lots of people helping with the Italy Plan so this entry reads a bit like a lengthy thank you letter!

– Packing: I’ve been packing, throwing stuff out and taking bits and pieces to the charity shop for weeks now. Work are certainly benefiting from it! My team should have this year’s Christmas Decoration competition in the bag – they have all my decorations complete with Christmas tree (that was an arduous/odd bus journey).  My friends have just moved back around the corner and offered me some of their boxes (thank you Anke & Graham and Leebrizio for helping me lug the boxes back and fixing the kitchen tap!). Mum and dad came up yesterday to take most of the boxes back to their loft (thanks M&D, oh and Lucy for the offer of your loft if I need it!). I think there’s only one more car journey to go which we’ll do when I actually move out. A friend at work’s moving into his own place so I’m managing to get rid of a few other bits & pieces to him and most of my paintings have a home to go to now. I’ve drafted an inventory for leasing the flat and the contract is pretty much ready to roll now too. I’ll advertise on gumtree / moveflat in a couple of weeks. Scary stuff!

– Decorating: My flat feels like the Forth bridge – as soon as you paint a wall, it seems like it needs re-doing! However, I made quite a bit of headway last weekend with a friend’s help (thank you Sean!). I think I’ve done almost all of the emulsion painting I’m willing to do but still a heap of other things to get on with. And, I finally have someone in to sort out my bathroom ceiling – a builder who lives around the corner so on Friday, the most un-rentable feature of the flat should be resolved – hoorah!

 Italian learning: I met Italian Tube Girl in Canada Water last week – she was lovely! Very kind and patient – we spoke Italian most of the time. Speaking Italian makes my brain ache – after an hour I was speaking mainly gibberish but still, good practice! Haven’t heard back from her since so I suspect I might possibly have made her brain ache too!!! I think I might still be at the point where I need to pay someone to talk Italian to me 🙂  I’ve discovered a new (for me) phone app – Italian Verb Trainer – it’s a simple premise – it gives you a verb, the subject (i.e. me, you,we, he, she, they etc.) and the tense (i.e. future, past, subjunctive is the one I’m currently stuck on) and then you need to work out what the congugated verb is and you can tap the screen to confirm the right answer and grade yourself. It’s no Angry Birds, but it’s quite fun, honestly!

– We are sailing….. Well admittedly not sailing at the minute but there’s hope! I told you last time I’d signed up to the Day Skipper course in March/April. I’m supposed to get crewing experience before I go on the course. There’s a guy at work who’s got all the sailing qualifications and lots of experience. We’ve devised / I’ve pressured him into, a cunning plan to charter a boat – just need some crew in order to cut costs. March 16th/17th in the Solent – anyone up for it?!

– What to do: Well, I might have mentioned before how I quite fancy doing a “painting a day” blog similar to Edward B Gordon in Berlin. I had my first foray into oil painting last weekend (Morley College do loads of great reasonably priced courses) and thought it was great YET STILL MY PAINTING IS WET (and covered now in finger prints where I’ve tentatively checked dryness levels). I have a tip for any would be oil painters – don’t put your oil painting on the radiator to “dry”. It sort of seems to melt your painting, perhaps obviously. I’m getting some sketching practice in with the people at work – it seems to be a hit and got a reasonable line up of people wanting sketches 🙂 I was looking at Italian single’s holidays and there were a few “creative break” ones that cropped up – there’s a 7 day painting course in the town I’m hoping to do the language course in interestingly. Almost £1k for daily tuition and accommodation in a shared room – 4 people maximum. I think I’ll work on getting good, start an offshoot “art” type blog and get people coming on holidays if I can get a nice place. Should be a good earner and nice way to meet people. After I’ve got the sailing thing out of my system anyway.

I think that about sums up the last couple of weeks. Not long to go now – I’ve got a couple of countdowns on my phone, one for “days to go until the end of my contract” (that’s 53) and “working days to go” (39). Sometimes I think it seems a long way off (Monday mornings!) and other times it feels ominously close!!!

Anyway, hope you’re all well. Next time I write, hopefully the flat should be advertised and the decorating almost complete, fingers crossed!


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