I have never laboured under the illusion that I might just have artistic leanings. Indeed, I am well aware of my deficiencies. The chances of me getting in touch with my Inner Picasso are exceedingly limited.
At school I did wonder if I might be able to squeeze a pass in O Level Art, on the basis that I could study the history of Greek and Roman architecture for one module (which
entailed essay writing rather than anything involving a paint brush) and calligraphy for another. Unfortunately that left a third module which required something akin to proper art. I tried Still Life for a while, only giving up when my apples looked
like pears and my plums like potatoes. My bananas weren’t too bad, being both curved and yellow - but it seemed unlikely that I would scrape a pass mark based purely on a banana so I decided to concentrate on subjects that didn’t require any artistic
That isn’t to say that I haven’t often wished I had a way with a paintbrush. I still remember the time, on holiday with Mr B, when we were
approached by a friendly American who urged us to join him for a coffee and to tell him all about our life. We took a table in a nearby eaterie where we regaled each other with our history thus far and he showed us the sketch book within which he had recorded
the highlights of his many and frequent holidays. I try not to be envious but I could not help wishing that I could translate into picture form the many sights I have seen both at home and abroad. In my mind’s eye, I can picture the city of Dubrovnik
viewed from its walls, the red tiled roofs, the fountain thronged by local people and tourists meeting up, the church belfries from which all the bells of the city chimed in not-quite-unison at precisely noon. Or the pretty harbours we visited on Corfu, all
bobbing boats and fishermen unloading their catch at the end of their fishy sortie. Oh, I wish I could draw! I told myself. Often.
You are puzzling over what has
brought all this into my head, aren’t you? Well, it’s all on account of Mr B’s new whiteboard. I had been contemplating buying one for a while, to help Mr B keep track on important matters such as the date, where I might be if not All Present
And Correct, and - most importantly - when I would be home. Out shopping with my brother in law, Baz, last week, he came across a bargain - a white board marked down to a mere £3. It would have been rude to say no, now wouldn’t it?
I struggled a bit over how to tread the delicate balance between the whiteboard being useful or patronising. Understandably, Mr B is a little sensitive about what he sees as his failing
memory - though ask him questions about some obscure cricket Test Match in, say, 1972 and he will provide you with chapter and verse on which team played England, who won and whether “we woz robbed.“ My answer to the Whiteboard Conundrum was to
introduce a large dose of humour into my announcements in the shape of truly dreadful drawings depicting my activities. Church on Sunday was illustrated by a passable drawing of a church, with a stick person (supposed to be me) wandering up the path. When
I meet friends for coffee, I draw large cups and saucers, with wispy steam rising from each cup. Except that the wispy steam looks more like extremely solid metal springs. Off for my Run The One training session in the park, my running stick figure was joined
by a couple of trees, which gave me an opportunity to use the green whiteboard pen I had bought. Great art it is not - but it makes Mr B laugh.
I’m not sure
it’s completely succeeding. “What day is it today?” asks Mr B. I nod, meaningfully, towards the whiteboard where the day of the week, month and date are written large. How is it possible, I ask myself, that he can’t see something right
before his eyes? Did I but know, I am about to eat my words...
Yesterday I was out in town with grandson Jack, who was visiting with his mother, the Youngest of
the Darling Daughters. While she was at the dentist’s, Jack and I decided to visit a nearby coffee shop where we could nurse giant cups of caffeine and chat away the time till his mother joined us.
So what’s new, my grandson wanted to know, as we ambled towards our coffee shop of choice. “Well, you know Worthing,” I said, “nothing much changes here...”
At which I suddenly became aware of my grandson gawping at something very new, very large, and totally unmissable there on the seafront - the new Worthing Big Wheel.
Right before my very eyes. Mr B has nothing, absolutely nothing, on me...