Still Life at Sea


We’ve been enjoying a couple of brilliant, boiling days at sea. The weather has turned really hot. I thought I was too brown to have to worry about the sun after 2 and a half months in Goa, but not so…. I havent actually burnt thank goodness, but definitely having to watch it.
Our sea days have fallen into the usual pattern. Art class all morning, sushi lunch, afternoon around the pool, catch up on lectures, cocktail, dinner, show or film. Our art has taken a turn for the better. Viv has got us drawing only from life now to try and break us through what I would call “copyist’s block”. She is quite right. In order to progress we have to be able to create our own paintings from what we see, not by copying someone else’s work, where much of the hard work has already been done. So, anyway, today, we had to create our own still life arrangement of fruit and then paint it. No drawing first. Straight on with the paint. A bit scary. But, actually it was very enjoyable, if intense, and we were both pleased with our results. A step forward. Tomorrow, I’m going to add a bit of background to mine. As well as preparing work for an exhibition this leg, we are also participating in the Charity Fayre. We will paint notecards and paintings to be sold for charity at the fayre. I know…. I made an incredulous face too and got told off for it!!!! Apparently last year, the art class’s work raised £800 at the Fayre and all the other stalls all together only made £400!!!!! So…. I think I might do dogs. I have a nice store of dog images.

Had an embarrassing but funny episode yesterday. Bob and I had gone up to the buffet for some afternoon tea. Not a normal thing! I was feeling a bit guilty I think and I decided to have a bowl of the soft serve ice cream from the machine. No doubt in a hurry before guilt overwhelmed me, or anyone noticed !!, I pulled the lever on the chocolate side, and unleashed an absolute avalanche and Niagara scale waterfall of chocolate milky fluid. I mean a huge gushing outflow that went all over me, the floor and the surrounding area!!!!!! It was a terrible mess. I looked indignantly at a staff member and she waved in the direction of a big notice fixed to the machine that said “CLEANING CYCLE”. More for the laundry…..

Last night we passed through the narrowest part (16 miles wide) of the Straits between Yemen and Somalia and we are now sufficiently far north, across the Saudi border, that this afternoon all security procedures were lifted and we met up with a small boat that took the special forces personnel and their equipment away. An interesting interlude.

Tonight was a formal dinner again. We had a martini beforehand in one of the bars and shared a table with the speaker on the Middle East, Dr Alan Dowty. What a nice man! An American college professor, late of Notre Dame, but who still lectures at GWU and has worked in Jerusalem. Very interesting to talk to. Our dinner was good. I had lobster as did Bob. They always do a great menu on the formal nights. I think the food has been especially good this year. Even better than last year. After dinner we went to the show, “Rhythm of the Night” which is the resident company performing a selection of Latin American themed song and dance. Tremendous show which we have seen a few times over the last couple of years. I think this was possibly the best. This company is very strong, particularly the dancers.