Pebbles, one at a time

Sunday June 5, 2005

I had mixed feelings this morning when Graham told me of the heron’s visit. Sorry for the missing goldfish, of course. Glad that a few of them have survived by hiding under the thick growth of weed, deep down at the bottom of the pond. No element of anger or resentment directed at the heron—he has a living to make and, like as not, a nest full of eternally hungry chicks to feed. Indeed, I can’t be too hard on him when, for over a year now, I’ve sung the “Come, friendly heron/And eat our fish” poem. Ah well. I really don’t much care for goldfish, and think a garden pool is better without them. Shame, though. A case of Nature, gold in beak and fin, I suppose, and there’s nothing to be done about it. From my experience of herons, they’re persistent blighters, and he’ll continue his dawn’s early light visits until they’re all gone the same way.

The obsessive appeal of unlimited Internet surfing faded away with me quite early on in the day, to the point where I put the computer into sleep mode and went out into the garden for a good stretch. I really needed a good stretch. In fact, I could have done with rather more than a good stretch. A session with a pair of Indian clubs would have done it nicely. Not entirely practical, though, in the absence not only of Indian clubs but of my ability to raise my outstretched arms higher than my shoulders without unbearable joint pain. So I contented myself with a creaky version of the soft shoe shuffle, up and down the driveway. To the alarm of any passing heron, no doubt.

Graham was still glued to his computer, surfing and chatting, and not at all receptive to the thought of a walk, or even a short bike ride. I’d do the latter on my own if I had the nerve but, sadly, since my minor fall late last season when I was out on the fens, I’ve not recovered the confidence to go cycling alone. If we were staying here I’d trade my bike in for a trike and, depending on the location, I may well do that when we fetch up some place new. Or, if not, and if we have the space to spare, a stationary exercise bike. I miss that particular type of exercise.

So, returning to the desk, I was momentarily at a loss for suitable Sunday activity. All my chores were done, and there was a lot of morning left in front of me. Didn’t feel like reading. Then I had a mini-brainwave.

Inside the last box of laundry detergent there was a kid’s activity pack containing five small plastic tubs of acrylic paint—black, green, blue, yellow, red—together with a little plastic brush and two blank fridge magnets, ovoid in shape, about 2 inches by 1.75, made of some near-white resinous material. I passed the brush on to Graham for DIY use but reserved the paints and the blanks for myself, for some future silliness.

Well, a little arty-crafty silliness came in handy today. I passed on the little pots of paint, mainly because I was fearful that my fingers aren’t up to the job of opening them without accident, and picked up a fibre-tip pen and my little watercolour box instead. The surface is strange, resisting the pen nicely but reluctant to take the ink, and yet flat and rather flaccid when attacked with the brush. Fun, though. I shall varnish the result tomorrow, and keep it about me for a while. Like enough I shall add a little flag for the mast-head, and a tiny signature, too, just for the record.

The first one done, I reached for the second, hesitated, and put it back in the box. This is the closest I’ve come to painting on pebbles since I was a kid, and it’s probably wise to exercise a little restraint. Like chocolates, pebbles are best enjoyed one at a time.


Stickford, Jun,'06
A day on the river
Pen and wash on fridge magnet blank


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