Tuesday September 28, 2004
I made it to Boston today, parked conveniently across from the Post Office and just down from the bank, and started in on my necessary errands. That was when I hit the snag.
One of the side effects of osteo-arthritis is an occasional attack of gout in one or both of the great toes. I call it a side effect, and I call it gout but those are terms of convenience only, because I’ve yet to find a doctor who’ll take a look at my feet and tell me what’s going on. One day, perhaps. In the meantime, the condition comes along now and then to make walking a misery for a while, and then it goes away again. It’s one of those things of which sensible people say: “Live with it.”
So I lived with it, limping from one side of Boston to the other in search of the art supplies shop I knew was there somewhere. The Tourist Information office in Boston is useless. Not in the normal way, arising from incompetence or under-funding, but in a most unusual manner, well worth a cautionary note.
In the centre of Boston you will find the Market Square, mostly pedestrianised, and furnished in the usual country town manner with fibreglass imitations of cast-iron lamp-posts, bollards, waste-bins and signposts to points of interest in the town. Four of the signs point to the Tourist Information office. That’d be fine except that they all point in decidedly different and contradictory directions. I noticed the problem only after following one sign down an ancient alleyway that became progressively dingy as I got further from the centre. I made my way back, discovered the strange nature of the signing, and asked instead. No-one knew of the whereabouts of the Tourist Information office. That didn’t surprise me. Few residents know about such things in their own town. Nor did they know of the location of the main object of my search. “You can buy paints and such in WHS, or in Oldrid’s,” one helpful soul told me. And it’s true. You can. This time, though, I needed a good, well-stocked art supplies shop, I knew there was one, but I simply couldn’t find it.
Eventually I came across a ‘Framing and Fine Art’ shop in a secluded corner, hopped straight in, and asked. It transpires that the art supplies shop relocated a couple of years back, to an out of the way road just along from the place where I’d parked the car. My town guidebook needs updating. Wouldn’t mind betting the one in the Tourist Information office does, too, so it’s just as well I never found it.
Hey ho. Back I trudged, my feet complaining all the way. I could have given up but I was darn well determined to succeed in my quest for art supplies.
It’s a great shop, one of the best I’ve ever visited, and I got exactly what I wanted, at a reasonable price. And, now I know where it is, I shall be able to park close by when I need to go back. Art supplies are available on the Internet, of course, and cheaper, like as not. I shall investigate that shortly. There may be times when trudging around on complaining feet is simply beyond me.
So I got it all done, almost. I returned to the car and sank thankfully into the driving seat to rest for a little while before driving back home. That was when I realised that the camera had stayed in its case all the way, and that I’d missed an opportunity to grab townscape shots from which to work up pictures of the kind I am hankering to paint.
“Bugger. Bugger. Bugger,” I cried, striking my recalcitrant legs in frustration.
“Bad as that?” smiled a passing woman of middle-age.
“Oh, dear,” I said. “I’m sorry. Didn’t realise I’d left the window open. You weren’t meant to hear that.”
“Don’t worry, luv,” she said. “We’re all entitled to a bit of bad language now and then.”
She was right, but I should have been more careful. We are indeed all of us entitled to give vent when things conspire to spoil a day but it’s better to go out into the countryside and scream at the trees where you can’t be overheard. Trees make good counsellors, in my experience. And they don’t mind bad language.
Anyway, I drove home without incident, dropped my bag of goodies on the counter and got myself a mug of hot coffee. Then I limped off to take a nap, having popped a pain killer on the way.
I fully intended to massage my feet with geranium and sage oil to disperse the gout crystals when I woke. That’s a good treatment, one I’d recommend to anyone. Didn’t need it though because the nasties had all dissolved away while I slept and I was able to walk once more without pain. Too late for Boston photographs, though.
I swore again, louder and far stronger than I had when sitting in the car. It didn’t help, of course, not really, but at least there were no innocent bystanders around to suffer my invective. Except Harry and Dolly. Not that they mind in the slightest. Or notice, even. I could get worried about that if I gave a cuss.
And that was my day.
North Gate, Sleaford