Friday, September 28, 2007

2 days in Paris

After a lovely oriental noodle dish prepared by Maura (recipe from Nigella Lawson's book "How to Eat"), and a quick Hello to Bella and Biddie, Lisa and myself went off to the pictures last night.

Out of the 2 movies picked out by Lisa, we agreed on "2 days in Paris". I had only read just one review, and it sounded nice. But it turned out to be hillarious. French woman is going out with American man. They live in New York, and are staying in her flat in Paris for 2 days at the end of a holiday, and he gets to meet her parents, her serious sister, her former lovers, and plenty of mad Parisian taxi drivers! No wonder he's freaked out!! It's half in English, half in French, so if you speak both languages, it's even funnier. I must get Brendan to watch it when it comes out in DVD - I'm sure he'll identify with poor Jack, who is left to mingle with Marion's friends (& ex-lovers) at a party, although he doesn't speak any French. I laughed out loud throughout.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Hen

I didn't get a chance to work on The Hen at all this week, but between last weekend and this weekend, I've made a bit of progress.

Last weekend:
  • After masking the hen and the log with low-tack masking paper, I sprinkled paint on the page with a flat sieve and a toothbrush.
  • Then I painted the log wet-in-wet, to keep it fuzzy and out of focus.
  • After removing the masking paper, I started painting the detail, with the darkest colour to begin with.

This weekend:
  • I've adjusted the sprinkling of background paint, as my hen shape was slightly too big, leaving a bit of a white gap between the background and the hen itself. I had applied masking fluid over the edge of the masking paper, and it had settled a bit more than I anticipated (I should know this by now!)
  • I've applied small lines of masking fluid to the bits that I want to keep light, and I've started painting the rusty-coloured feathers.
  • The patterns of colours are not as strong as they should be, so I want to figure out how to make those lovely feather shapes before I do anything more. Some of these shapes are like little shells, others like arrows, and then there are the dotted lines. It's all very natural looking, and yet, there are very strong patterns in each area - in the wing, in the thigh, on the neck, ... I think now is a good time to stand back and think about it some more.

Autumn colours

More autumn colours from Airfield

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Autumn colours

We're enjoying glorious sunshine these last few weeks (well, apart from yesterday morning, that is, when it looked like the rain would never stop and the heavy cloud would stay stuck to the mountain forever and ever). Today was like a summer's day, so we sat out the back and read our books.
Last week, we went to Airfield and took plenty of pictures, as the light was lovely and clear. Here is one that I really like:

Friday, September 21, 2007

Indian Summer (again!)

Mary had reminded us about the Indian Summer Food Festival, so we had booked a table for Wednesday. The Indian Summer are running this Food Festival every Wednesday night until the 17th of October. Along with the delights of a sampling menu for the various culinary regions of the Indian subcontinent, you can enjoy live Indian folk dance and music.

On Wednesday, it was the North Zone, and we enjoyed every bit of it (well, except the dessert - a milk-based pudding that tasted like sweet cottage cheese). I particularly enjoyed the fish starter, the prawn & squid main course - quite spicy - and the vegetable dish - potatoes and nice crunchy green beans. All of that with plenty of good rice, and an assortment of naan breads. Excellent value and delicious food.

The music was too loud. It was good - a guitar player and a male singer - very nice, but way way too loud. We had to move table to get away from it, and it was still too loud! And then the dancing... 4 men dressed up in what I assume is traditional costume. They were the Indian Riverdance, moving in perfect synch, and at quite a fast pace, to what I would describe as "Indian techno beat". Again, too loud, but the dancing was impressive.

We might go again in a couple of weeks' time, to sample the food of the South Zone on the 10th of October, or the Central Zone on the 17th of October, maybe! I just hope they turn down the volume a bit!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Happy Birthday, Lucinda

We have a new birthday in September - Lucinda is celebrating a big birthday today!

Happy Birthday, Lucinda - I thought you would enjoy a picture of this new bird discovered in Colombia (check out for more information)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

New pig at Airfield

Airfield got a new piglet. She's a black pig and she is really cute. I don't know what she's called. Airfield used to be pretty good at making a fuss about new animals, but they don't seem to bother any more.
And there are signs everywhere that you should not feed the animals. The 2 goats are pretty upset about that - they used to enjoy their treats of apples and carrots. The 2 big pigs at the bottom probably still get the odd treat - they are so big that an extra apple or two can't do them any harm, surely! Don't tell anyone!

Anyway, back to the new piglet. She is in the little barn near the entrance, and she'll come to you if it's around her feeding time. She nearly bit my fingers the last time. Otherwise, she'll happily go around her little area, ignore you, and eat whatever is on the ground or in her bowl. And she buries herself in the hay before she goes to sleep. All you'll see is her big nuzzle sticking out. Major cute factor!

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Another hectic week in PC Medic. There are a lot of broken computers out there, in need of repair (or scrapping in some cases), a lot of printers to be set up, a lot of wireless connections to be re-established! The days have been flying by, and, needless to say, the hen is not getting painted at all.

Last Saturday, we decided we needed a break, and we went to the Monsoon restaurant in Stillorgan for our evening meal. The Monsoon doesn't look like much from the outside. Actually, I had always thought it was just an Indian take-away. But Padraig and Mary informed us that it was actually a sister restaurant to the Indian Summer, and that it offered excellent food. The menu is not as extensive, and the restaurant itself is not as glamorous. But we were very pleasantly surprised. The starter platter was different enough from the Indian Summer one, and my Goan prawn curry was delicious.

- I would not make a very good food writer for the papers: I don't have the vocabulary to describe food and flavours (just like most of our customers don't have the vocabulary to describe what's wrong with their computer). And you know the way the reviewers in the newspapers always describe every dish that their partner had, with a pertinent comment about how it tasted? Not me. I can't do that. I have no idea what Brendan had, let alone what it tasted like. I vaguely remember that it wasn't as hot as he would have liked it to be, but it was very tasty all the same. There you go, that's all I can say! -

Anyways, all that to say we had a lovely evening, and it was a good excuse for me to dress up a bit. Actually, now that I think of it, I must organise a few more PC Medic tee-shirts. The ironed-on print on my white tee-shirts is looking a bit faded, and my black embroidered ones are not as black as they used to be. But where will I find the time?

PS: don't forget that the Indian Summer food festival is on, with a special evening on Wednesday nights in September and October. (I should get a commission from them, shouldn't I?!!)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Quick Hello

Hectic week, so not much free time for painting hens or writing blogs about the process!

We went to the pictures last Sunday - we went to see The Bourne Ultimatum, which we both enjoyed. An action-packed movie, going at a mad pace, from one location to the next - Tangiers, Madrid, New York, ... all in search of the truth about Jason Bourne! I've enjoyed the first 2 movies in the series and I enjoyed this one too. It's a very good story, the main character has a soul and a conscience, despite the violence, and it doesn't go down the path of any of the obvious possible romantic sub-plots. Not the kind of movie that gets you to think deeply about life, but still a good way to spend a wet Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, September 01, 2007