Two Weeks in Brighton
I haven't had much time to draw many badly drawn girls recently
When I was living in Kraków I went on quite a few walking tours (some of them conducted in Polish). The tours were led by a company called "Free Walking Tours" and you paid as much as you like at the tour (if anything). I decided to go on a walking art tour of Brighton. The fee was £5, I decided that the tour would have to be pretty bad not to be worth £5. The tour wasn't interesting enough. We met up at the clock tower and a group of about ten of us went up the hill to the oldest church in Brighton. I'd never been there before, so that was a good start. After a talk about the history of Brighton we went even further up the hill to the home of Aubrey Beardsley, then through the lanes to see an original copy of a Banksy graffitti (the kissing policemen). We ended up on the beach and learned about the rivalry between Constable and Turner. At the end of the tour we gave our host Nick Richmond a round of applause and the £5 per head that he quite truly deserved. I look forward to going on some more of his tours (if I ever have any house guests that I don't have time to entertain I'll send them on the tour).
One group dies
I'd been along to a couple of meetings of the Drawing4Everyone group (held at the Cowley Club). It was quite a nice meeting. A small but friendly group. We'd do some drawing, play some drawing games. All in a politically correct environment, not commenting on anyone's drawing (whether the comments were good or bad bad). After the drawing we'd have a drink at the br. Our amicable leader (Dave) hadn't been getting enough teaching hours and had decided to return to Portugal. Some of the members of the group decided that they would be organisers, but alas the Cowley Club is a strange organisation where everyone and no one is a leader. Hopefully the group will arise from the ashes, but I still having my Tuesday night drawing (and drinking) group anyway.
Another group starts
I noticed on Gumtree that someone (English) wanted to start up a Polish/English language exchange group. I'd written to them expressing my interest but I didn't get a reply, so I didn't know where the meetings would be or even if there were any meetings. Fortunately the meetings were advertised on Meetup and I have already attended a couple of meetings. One thing essential to the success of language meetings is that you need native speakers. This is something we're in need of. Although my Polish is good, I am quite reluctant to try and teach anyone how to pronounce Polish. I took my Polish Scrabble board along to the most recent meeting and it proved to be quite a success (apart from the fact that I lost to several players who are only beginning their Polish language learning). I've vowed to start reading again regularly to make sure my level of Polish doesn't slip any further.
One houseguest leaves, another two arrive
Greg (after staying in my spare room had returned to Poland). The very day that he moved out I decided to host a couple of Couchsurfers. Kinga and Gosia stayed at my place for three nights and they were no trouble at all. Both of them in their early to mid twenties, from Krakow and working in Bristol for the summer. The weather wasn't exactly great for them, but they made the most of it. I didn't get to spend as much time talking to them as I would have liked, but we did have a few hours sharing a bottle of wine. I was so busy on the day they left that I didn't even notice they'd left me a box of chocolates and a very nice thank you note.
Pride Weekend / Photo workshop
I decided not to expect to much of the Pride festivities. I watched the parade (which was entertaining enough), but I didn't invite anyone over to my place to stay the weekend. As usual my car was trapped in the garage due to all the roads in the party zone being trapped. I considered going away for the weekend to avoid all the noise and chaos, but that idea went out the window when I got a last minute place on a photography workshop. Weekly Imogen is a very popular YouTube channel, with Imogen being the lovely host and model accompanied by Mark, the photographer and course instructor.
We (the course attendees) met photographer Mark by the pier and walked along the seafront to meet Imogen. She was just as expected (having watched many of her videos). The sky was overcast, but this is an advantage (the equivalent of putting a giant studio softbox over the sun to provide even lightly without any bothersome harsh shadows). Mark led us through a series of interesting photo locations. Halfway through the workshop we were joined by Helen (a local girl, without Imogen's internet fame). I took nearly six hundred photos, without about 20 of them that I wasn't ashmed to publish up on my Facebook and FlickR accounts. Three of the photos I really, really like. I got a nice souvenir Polaroid with me sandwiched betweeen the two models. The workshop wasn't exactly cheap. It did prove what I always say, with a really hot model and quite a good camera you can take some "nice" photos. (click link below for FlickR album)
My teeth were in a much better state than they had been for years. I'd had six ugly metallic fillings replaced with nice white ones. One tooth had been completed repaired by sticking a crown on top of it. My teeth had even been scraped clean and polished. I'd had one tooth extracted and even though it was at the side of my mouth (were no one would even notice) I decided to have it replaced with an implant (at great expense). The first stage was probably the worst. The documents I had signed outlined the procedure: "A support will be gently placed in the jaw where the implant will be". It turns out the that here "gently" means a certain amount of the drilling and the screw-like support being driven screwed into my mouth with a torque-wrench like it was a spark plug into an engine. It was quite alarming the amount of pressure the dentist used. Luckily the bruising has now passed (after only two days) and I will return in a few month time, by which bone will have integrated with the titanium support and I can have a fake tooth to fill the hole.
It seems that I still have more money than sense. My latest purchase is an automatic coffee machine by Dolce Gusto (bought on sale at half price from Argos). I don't even really like coffee, but I'd been really impressed by this device when got to try one out when I recently stayed in a five star hotel while on holiday in Rzeszow. Basically you put a capsule (or pod) containing coffee etc into the machine, select the amount of hot water that you want added then press the "go" button. My kitchen worktop is now looking a bit crowded. I need to fix/replace my dishwasher so I get rid of the drainer that is taking up so much spacer. Also my four-slice toaster only half works, so should either fix it or saw it down the middle to free up some valuable kitchen real estate.
In Other News
I've been kept incredibly busy at work due to a colleague taking paternity leave. While it's good to be busy, it's not good to have so much work that it wears you out. Most days I've have had to leave work early for various reasons (e.g. for hospital visits to see my mum or to get my teeth sorted out). As a result I've been skipping my lunch break and not getting as much exercise.
Living on my own in a three bedroom house with a reasonable amount of space and garage means that I don't need to tidy up very often (or throw things away). I've acquired quite a few things from previous lodgers, some of them good and some of them not so good (see below for pictures). It's time for some belated Spring cleaning maybe.