Wednesday 29 September 2021

30 09 2021

 The commision-completion plot (some of it) and a re-coloured painting... and the ferris wheel thing, so nearly done but missing something. Sigh.

29 09 2021

 Finally, got a head full  of ideas. Think I'm through the eye thang or at least through the obsessive terror of it.

Thought of a way of managing the completion of the Co-Mission project so spent the morning mapping it out... pausing only to a) bandage thumb, damaged by bottle opener over weekend and b) bandage wrist, damaged by potato peeler ditto. Revot of the kitchen implements. Couldn't actually use drawing pins on account of  damage a) so using selloptape; painting uncomfortable with turps in b) 

Co-Mission shaping up though. It needs 60 images and so far juggled 14, changing and correcting so its already a bit of a mess. Its all feasible however.

The dummy is on an old screen that I carried here from Rue des Jardins. It's solid, quite modern (1940's) - the panels are wallpapered, neutrally. Perfect for the map. BUT keep thinking what I'd like to paint them.

 Have to hold fire until this is done. 

Monday 27 September 2021

27 09 2021

Spent what time there was in the last few days on this little gem... heaven knows what it's about. Saw the round thing when we were at St Pierre last week and much taken by the motif, wheel-of-fortuney. Not quite finished. 

Eyes nearly, nearly, grown in. Last one a bit squeaky/scratchy/intrusive still. Nearly run out of drops and appointment with surgeon looming so I suppose this is all following it's course.

Out of studio today - countryside exploring with Max. 

Friday 24 September 2021

24 09 2021

St Pierre de Mer ... and more importantly, sticks. These hollow weathered things are ideal for ink drawing.


Wednesday 22 September 2021

23 09 2021

 Painting much better but havent snapped it yet - and away to the coast today. Had to scrape off paint and knife it back on otherwise Id still be watching it dry -

Eyes better every day. Did one full day outside and found it uncomfortable but not badly and not for long. Confident today will be even better. Embarassed at my inability to manage all this.

Tuesday 21 September 2021

21 09 2021

 Having to re-learn colours. Not easy. Like some bits, including the emerging image, but not others. Today I'm in Carcassonne, showing family around. No bad thing, let the overworked paint settle some.

Saturday 18 September 2021

19 09 2021

 -Got some painting done, some ideas in order. Using rather pasty colours but will address that. Curious element of trepidation .

Friday 17 September 2021

17 09 2021

 So messed with sleep deprevation, I take off the sunglasses in the night and put on sleep mask. Blessed rest. Still aware that I mustn't move my head to either side or touch the eyes... but I can carry that in me somewhere and sleep. Frightened though. RS who had eye infections after the event says not to worry, anibiotics clears that up quickly; CR had a bad eye infection featuring blood tears which required a second op on the second eye; but shes fine now.

And sooo frustrated! I'd forgotten how miserable life is without making stuff. In a fit of near rage I took charcoal and paper to Maxs garden, sat in dark glasses under cover and looked at the mountains and the rain and the sensational clouds . Charcoal an easy hit. Half-a dozen drawings that gave me huge relief but are in themselves pretty damn dull. Still - ludicrously - fixed them, dated and sited them. For whom, why?? 

---mine is not to reason why, I guess.

Thursday 16 September 2021

16 09 2021

 Have primed and gesso'd 3 50 x 50 canvases and want to press on with the last unfinished; but, ha, various commitments here, chiefly brother-in-law who is a retired tecchie and prepared to examine all my computer problems. Probably as well to move slowly.

Wednesday 15 September 2021

15 09 2021

  - An attempt to surmount this eye implant experience... notes from my notebook. Not recommend reading for the sensitive.

The previous day spent hanging about, fighting off poems about torture (blade/sharp/clean/eye)

Eventually - not allowed to eat or drink - got to hospital early for 3.00 appointment. Handed my phone to Bob - his is a UK number and unacceptable He has to be called to get me when I'm done. Have to use my paper pass sanitaire at the doorkeepers post. 

Admitted at reception desk and sent to next floor, following blue dots on wall. Three other women also in waiting room. I'm called first - paper work, labels, identity label in plastic sheath on wrist - follow nurse to changing rooms. Tout nu. All in locker. Given paper shoes, knickers, charlotte. Cloth gown. Mine won't close. Turns out not to be my fault, it's broken.

Group of three other (different) women. We sit in seperate cubicles but I'm aware of them. Nurses give eye drops over two hours. Theres a mirror in the cubicle and I can see the pupil spreading over my face... there is also a poster explaining whats going to happen. I don't know why I didn't research this. Just assumed that some grot is going to be scraped off my eye. Seems that actually bits of my eye are being replaced by a plastic lens implant. Why didn't I know this??

Tierd, didn't sleep the previous night. Doze. Hours pass, two, I asked a nurse the time. Don't understand her and she writes in biro on her palm, removes it with chemical cleaner. The lady next to me is cold and complains, gets a silver and gold foil blanket - I bags one too but remain cold.

I'm called and put in a wheelchair. Young mixed-race driver clearly expert; drives very fast with a deep knowledge of the spaces available. He's worked in the hospital for two years. He moves me onto a bed on wheels with removable sides and I'm parked up in a ward next to another woman. He goes. Nurse arrives. Chats. Another nurse comes, they chat. Time distended. Someone else is wheeled in and then leaves.

A whole hospital of men and women, fully gowned, come streaming past - going home - chattering. Happy there have been no problems. They are like a flock of  blue exotic birds floating past. A ballet.

I'm told, there has been a delay. More drops.

A boss man appears; asks my name, checks my writ tag, looks me up on a clipboard, disappears without comment.

Comes back, chatting with nurse. No point in taking a holiday you can't go anywhere. He's had covid it was bad flu for 2 weeks. They talk over me. I force myself into their conversation and they allow me into their talk - as he twists a torniquet round my arm and coats my hand with a transluscent gold liquid that stains. He drives a line into my vein. Goes. Nurse tapes the line in. Doze some more. More eye drops. Sticky patches for heart monitoring put on skin.

Taken off trolley and walk slowly on nurses arm. Climb onto another bed.  There are two in the room, one occupied.

Dr E talks and I know him by his voice - masked and hatted and gowned, completly unrecognisible visually.

They take my blood pressure, put clips on the three heart monitors, pour something into the tube wired  into my hand.

Lights. Primary colours, swimming, changing. Pain. That hurts. Oh, that hurts? It stops hurting. Something slides, something moves, something slides. Sometimes the doctors hand shades the light and I'm grateful, it seems a tender act.

He tapes a raised pad over the eye and says he'll see me tomorrow in Limoux at 9.30. I ask him to write that down somewhere. Yellow post-it stuck to my blanket.

Wheeled to another room and given coffee!! Coffee... and a bag containing salad (cucumber, cheese, tomato all chopped v small) apple puree with some cream, a brioche. Bliss!

I hear Bobs voice. They let me see him, I hug his arm and woukd have cried if I could. They take him away.

After I've eaten I'm wheelchaired to the locker room and dress, shakily. Bob takes me to the car.


Think, thank God thats over; but of course its only just begining. Hard to sleep with patch. Dr E takes it off the next morning and all is well and YES, colours, fantastic! Embarrased to catch myself reaching out to touch his dark violet internally-lit clothes - stopped just in time. He's laughing, a response he's used to.

Strapping on the patch every night with sticky tape gives my eye-socket bruises and disrupts my sleep. Try various tricks. Clearly it must be protected. Can't move head at night, none of the customary curling up. Ratty with lack of sleep. 

Managing the eye drops turns out to be a challenge. Three,  three times a day. Easy, but there has to be 15 mins between them so a certain amount of attention has to be paid. And various eyes, not both at once.

And as the day for eye two gets nearer, I'm ridiculously frightened. Odd, since I know what happens, but convinced something will go wrong.


The day dawns. Due in at 2.00 and find I have time for coffee and a croissant early. Have Christopher Hamiels lovely book with me - Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts - absorbing and comforting. In  the waiting room I am the only woman.  I'm called quickly. Same rigmarole with paperwork, another plastic bracelet in case anyone forgets who I claim to be. 

Back to strip ; why is a charlotte called a charlotte? It like a culotte. Charlotte, culotte. The charlotte is a hair net. Culotte are knickers.  Oh well...

Back to cubicle. All men waiting, I'm embarassed for them, naked but for their gowns. Old legs. They are shifty, what I see of them. I'm called quickly after the endless eye drops. Very uneasy. Same process as with the first but without the heart monitor sticky things. Different anesthetist - at least this one introduces himsef and says what he's doing instead of talking over me - before talking over me.

It's all taking too long and I don't want to be here. When I'm wheeled into the operating space I realise the anesthetist isn't there. Do they know I'm not under? Not full of what HH called The Good Stuff?? Dr E positions my head. Pushes a microphone by my mouth. Puts a clip on my second finger which proceeds to beep in time with my heart. A large cuff on the other arm which inflates, deflates.

He's playing rather anodyne music, jazz/pop/ beat driven boring. He and the nurse keep up a running conversation which I can't follow. Not enough drugs! I want to shout - then see the anesthetist. Smile with all I've got visible to thank him. But still too awake... my neck and shoulders are hurting I can feel my bones, see them like an xray but they are brown. I'm clenching and unclenching my hands, waving the arm with the cuff. Can't interupt their conversation. Pray.

Don't move! Dr E shouts. It hurts, I shout back. You mustn't move he shouts. I hear him mutter and something is removed, something replaces it. Is it over? I hear my voice. Not yet. Is it over yet? Yes.


I ask for extra coffee. The men in recovery are impressed I can speak French. Everyone has stories about the idle and arrogant English. We are all on eye two and rather blaise now. Not dead, not brain damaged. Just in pain but bearable.

One man wears a red tshirt saying the most beautiful thing about me is my tractor. We all smile.


Next day appointment at 10.30 and I've already taken off the bandage by the time we get to Dr E's surgery. No appreciable change in eyesight yet, just less tobacco-tint yellow. He greets me with an apology! Another patient wasn't given enough anesthetic and he was sorry, realising a bit late that that was why I moved. He's happy with the eye though and says on the plus side I'II recover quicker.

More prescriptions for more drops, some ideas about patch management. It's impossible to manage two, he says, so I can give up on the first. Seems unlikely I think and show him a way to insert plastic patches into a soft sleep mask Ive brought with me for his inspection. Great idea, he says.


Nowadays I sleep in my sunglasses. It's possible and the best option. Only another week and I should be, well, whatever I'm going to be. 

Thursday 9 September 2021

09 09 2021

 Tis done and I live. Off to surgeon now but (DV) normal work will begin again soon.

Wednesday 8 September 2021

08 09 2021

 Due to have the other eye done at 2.00 today. The sleepless night will ensure I can doze off in the endless waitingness of it all...

Saw 21 buzzards come out of the clouds and float over the town, en route to Mont Marot.  Think they were buzzards, could only see their sillouettes - not eagles, not vultures, and in a large group so likely. Magic, of course :)

Monday 6 September 2021

06 09 2021

 Yesterday was the first day I felt comfortable with the new lump of plastic in my eye - beginning to see how this might work. Next op is looming so just as well. Finally getting the rhythm of the eye drops and learning to sleep in the plastic patch.

My old eye has a strong yellow bias which the new eye has eradicated in dazzling blue/white.

Other than that; Pauline has sent photos of the printing-in-progress of the survivors celebratory flags. Encouraging.

And I have 1500 more words to write for a review due any min. 

Saturday 4 September 2021

04 09 2021

 Got its basic shape I think. Have to wait for eye recovery now. In the meantime have to come to grips with half-finished stuff - the co-mission, the web site, the book review (due in a week)

Whilst aware of the eye. And the next op on weds. 

Life seems sad - it isn't, it's no different than normal, but Jims death has been a shock and I'm so aware of the others who've died lately. Want to make a tribute, like Lament for the Makers

probably need some exercise.

Thursday 2 September 2021

02 09 2021

Through a glass darkly :) Having to paint in sun glasses. Done a cute ex libris plate, something I've been promising myself for 60 years. Next op in 6 days...