I have never pretended to be an artist of the paints and palette variety.
Even though I do have an exhibit in the Hopes and
Dreams Exhibition organised by the Worthing Churches Homeless Project (http://www.wchpart.blogspot.com/ and look for Number 22 Wayne) regular readers will know that my Jolly Policeman is knitted
rather than drawn or painted. Even the brick wall, the pavement and the lamp-post are the result of much toil with the number 10 knitting needles rather than with a paint-brush. My lovely friend Jan thinks she would love to possess a Jolly Policeman
– but, you know, it isn’t exactly art as we know it.
At school all those years ago I did study for O Level art and for a while I thought I might even
get away with it, on the basis that one-third of the exam could be written essays on Greek and Roman Architecture. Even today, nobody can beat me when it comes to identifying my Greek columns. It isn’t, to be honest, the most useful Life Skill to possess
but, hey, it’s one of mine so I’m not knocking it. Anyway it proved not to be enough for an O Level in Art as I needed to be able to reproduce a piece of Still Life. I could manage the still bit – but there wasn’t a great deal of life
to be seen.
I do still remember my favourite art lesson which involved creating buildings silhouetted against an evening sky. It must have been quite
good, if I remember it all these years on. Mustn’t it?
Anyway, yesterday evening Mr B and I were at the Bowls Club’s Beetle Drive. There was a Ploughman’s
Meal – either cheese (Mr B) or pate (me) followed by a choice of chocolatey puds. We took a bottle of wine and a couple of cans of Diet Coke, plus glasses, knives, forks and spoons and some sheets of kitchen roll. I know what you are thinking –
what does this have to do with art? Steady, Tiger! (as I frequently admonish Mr B when I think he is getting too excited over matters like people we don’t know parking outside our house, being unable to find the diary because I have accidentally buried
it under several days worth of newspapers, or when the telephone rings just as we are about to sit down for our dinner.) All will soon become clear.
I am sure
there are countless versions of the ancient game of Build A Beetle. Indeed, the game I play with the grandchildren involves piecing together brightly-coloured plastic beetles with body, head, legs, feelers, eyes and nose. Every time we play Build a Beetle
we lose a few more pieces – I think I may need to source another game before the Little Welsh Boys come down to play at the end of next month. The Bowls Club version was not quite so hands-on – rather, we were all issued with a card on which to
record our progress in nine successive games.
We sat at tables of four and passed a dice between us as we struggled to throw the required numbers – 2 for
a body, 1 for a head, 6 for legs and so on. As soon as anybody in the room had built their beetle, our Captain blew a whistle to signal that the game was over and we all had to add up how many points we had scored, one for each body part. The person scoring
highest on each table moved up a table, the person with the lowest score moved downwards. I like this, in principle, because it means you get to talk to a lot more people than you would do if you were stuck on one table. Always supposing that you are
either upwardly or downwardly mobile, of course.
So, picture this, if you will – nine beetles in various stages of completion on my card. One beetle
had a round body, with spindly legs. Another had a triangular body and head, with similarly shaped legs. Another was a square beetle, with square eyes and feelers with square tips from which sprouted feathery tendrils. “You are very artistic!”
remarked one of my companions admiringly. At least I assumed it was admiration, rather than amusement, but to be honest it was hard to be sure. Then somebody else made the same comment. Maybe I am? Just a little bit?
I came third with 112 points. The winner scored 118 points and won a bottle of white wine. I didn’t win the raffle either, but then that was a foregone conclusion. There was no prize
for The Most Artistic Beetles on a Single Card.
Such a pity!