You can always rely on cabbage

Thursday March 3, 2005

To Boston today to pick up some paper I had on order from the Artstore, and to grab a new dark indigo watercolour pencil. And a supermarket plunge, of course. Oh but it was bitterly cold in town today, bleak, rather dark, and with another instalment of that nasty wind I dislike so much.

Getting out of the car I cursed myself for an idiot. I’d forgotten to stuff my gloves into my pocket and the icy blast began immediately to bite into my finger joints. Nothing for it but to dive into one of those ‘everything a pound’ shops and buy a pair of cheap woollen ones. Taking advantage of the cold they’d put the price of gloves up to two pounds but that’s fair enough in a business sense, and for me it was money well spent. The saleswoman was kind enough to realize I wanted them, like, now, and she took a pair of scissors to them and snipped off the plastic tag that held them together so I could put them on straight away. I appreciated that, and said so.

Back outside I put my head down and bulleted my way into Pen Street and the welcoming cavern of the Artstore, all warm and stuffed with goodies. I walked around, ogling all the wonderful paper, paints, brushes and stuff but was good for once and stuck to my actual requirements. It was tempting, though. I’ve been reading about these new watercolour ‘brushes’ that have a plastic handle you fill with water which filters through the synthetic bristles to make painting outside an easy job. Two or three of these and a five-pan stick pallette would work awfully well, given a bit of colour planning to avoid muddy results. I shall treat myself when the weather improves, making outside sketching a viable proposition.

I can’t paint indoors at the moment, either. Graham’s deep into the dining room make-over and it simply isn’t practical for me to claim the dining room table on which to work. I know it’s feeble of me. I could easily push my keyboard out of the way and work at my desk. A creature of habit, though, I regard the desk as the place where I write, and the table as the place where I paint.

It’s not truly a loss. The cold outside is doing that awful getting into my joints thing and my hands, elbows and back are beginning to complain. So I’m not doing much of anything at all, really.

“What have you done today?” Graham asked as we sat down to a late dinner.

“Not a lot.”

“What kind of not a lot?”

“Oh, you know, the kind that’s nothing at all, really. Just keeping warm.”

“Don’t worry about it. It’ll warm up soon. Do you know what they’re forecasting for tomorrow?”

“Snow. And more cold.”

“A good day to stay home and keep warm, then.”

“You said it, chicken.”

It wasn’t all idleness, of course. Apart from my shopping trip, I had another go at cutting mounts. This is something I’m not finding at all easy. It may be down to shaky hands, or poor vision, but I haven’t managed to cut an acceptable mount yet. Each attempt has resulted in a botched or skewed cut, mostly both. Graham can do it with no problem at all but of course he’s far too busy to take on anything extra. And, although the Artstore is giving me a good price on mounting boards, I can’t go on spoiling good card indefinitely. I may have to put mount cutting on the the ever-growing list of things I can’t do.

For the moment, then, my putative online shop is going to have to stay in suspend mode. It’ll not be a problem in London. There are any number of places where I can buy ready-made mounts at a really good price. Up here in the Lincolnshire plains, it’s not so easy. I shall find a way, of course, but it’ll take me a while yet.

For once I have more things to do than I have free hours in my day. A mountain of things to put up on eBay. Several paintings I want to tackle. The online shop. And clearing out old paper files. I’m keeping the shredder busy.

It would be nice to have pain-free hands for a while, so’s I can catch up with the backlog a bit faster.

“Hey ho,” I said in a moment of contemplative silence during dinner. “There’s nothing in the rules say’s it’s going to be easy.”

“What are you going on about now?”

“Oh, sorry. I was thinking about things I have to do.”

“That’s silly. Leave it until tomorrow. This cabbage is very tasty.”

“Thank you. Lincolnshire Savoy’s are right on the top of their season now. Cabbage is good. You can rely on cabbage.”

And that’s the message of my day, I suppose. Cold winds may come and go, along with creaky joints, intransigent fingers and not enough hours in the day, but you can always rely on cabbage. Oh yes, you can always rely on cabbage.

 

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