Pesky things

Tuesday January 25, 2005

In Boston[1] this morning the wind was cold and exceeding unfriendly. There are particular corners where it whistles in from the docks, turns the corner, and does a jolly good job of freeze-drying anyone foolish enough to be standing in the way with coat and collar open. Like me, for instance.

“I shall not want to hang around long today,” I said.

“Well, you go off and do your business and I’ll do mine and we can meet up in Costa Coffee for a warm up.”

“How’s about you do my business, then do yours, and I’ll wait in Costa Coffee until you’re done?”

“You gotta be joking.”

“I am. Only a bit, though. See you in about fifteen minutes.”

It was a blessed relief to get into the bank where they had the heating on full. My business was quickly done, and then I had to face the icy blast once more.

That was when I got clever. Instead of putting my head down and battling through the gale, I hopped from the bank into Marks & Spencer’s, dull but warm, and walked straight from their front door to the one at the rear, out across a walkway and straight into Oldrid’s by the side entrance. Oldrid’s was bright and warm, but I walked diagonally across the shop floor and out by the back door, to find myself only a few wind-swept steps from Costa Coffee. I like it when my alleycat instincts lead me across a town by sneaky and comfortable ways.

An espresso and a nibble later and we were about done with Boston for the day. I did think of dragging poor Graham into the art store on the way back to the car but relented. I need some larger sables—can’t find my old tube of brushes anywhere—but it can wait for a warmer day.

From thence to the supermarket and home again, by the country roads.

And, once we’d had lunch, and a nap, I settled down with my paintbox and a bottle of claret to an afternoon and evening of watercolour experiments. I’m getting there, slowly but surely, though I’m spoiling an awful lot of good paper in the process. I really do need those larger sables, though. When I’m working with smaller brushes I get too close, too picky, and the result dissolves into a sea of mud. And that’s in spite of knowing that, in watercolouring, less is more, first stroke is the best stroke… I really do know that, deep inside. And I can paint that way. But, until I get them trained once more, my fingers are refusing to follow my will and my eye. Pesky things, fingers.

Stickford Jan,'04
A failed experiment,
one among many


[1]  I was rather dismayed to be reminded once more this morning (26th, while formatting the above) that, when I speak of Boston, some American readers think I’m talking about the one in Massachussets. I’m not, of course. I’m talking about the original Boston, the one from which the Pilgrims originated, the Boston that is my local big town. The copy in the States is grander, and much larger, but the one here in Lincolnshire is enough for me.

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