One of the many things you learn at university (or can learn) is how to be pretentious.
So mixing with an arty and somewhat posh set (some of whom were quite well-off), I sucked up artistic aspirations. Not just that, my degree happened to look at art too. The archaeology aspect of it looked at the most brilliant art and architecture from the glorious period of the Roman empire.
One holiday – one of those lovely endless university ones – I took myself off to London and the Courtauld Institute. Some of my friends had raved about it, so I thought I had better get up to speed. Although perhaps best known for its Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings it has excellent collections from a number of periods and styles. And truth was, that it was rather nice, so I bought me three Turner prints.
I liked Turner. Moody, vague, ethereal, not all there. Suited me down to the ground.
My new arty self found a local picture framer and I had them framed in silver with non-reflecting glass. Sadly one of them broke at some point a few years ago, and I only had the glass replaced last week.
‘The frame could do with replacing,’ said your man in the shop just up the street from me, a most convenient location.
I’m not sure why he mentioned it when I collected it. Somewhat late in the day.
‘Well yes, but you didn’t have a silver frame like that when I brought it in, and I also have two others that form part of a set and are equally distressed.’
End of discussion.
So it went happily back to the finca this weekend to join its colleagues, or siblings or whatever similar prints are called.
Just before we were about to leave for the finca, I remembered I had promised to take another photo back for my neighbours.
In the May Romería, I had taken a photo of their grandson.
One of my internet pals offered to fiddle with it. I’ve written on other posts that I rarely fiddle with photos. I do like cropping some photos, but that’s because I spent a while learning how to get maximum impact from a cropped photo on a sub-editing course. But basically most of my photos are as they were taken, apart from some that I may darken from to time – too much sunlight here! I like the idea that they are a record, a tiny piece of history. Manipulating them is like re-writing history. It is no longer a record but creative art.
This was different. To me this was more like a portrait for someone, and getting rid of extraneous clutter was perfect. I love what she did with it. So did my neighbours. When I took the first photo back I thought there was going to be a fight between the mother and the grandmother about who got it, so I needed to print off another one which I finally remembered to do about ten minutes before leaving Gib.
So it cost me some ink from colour print cartridges and some glossy paper. The first time, they asked me how much they owed me. How embarassing. This time, I got seven tomatoes, four huge courgettes and 16 pimientos. Much easier.
In these times of economic crisis, austerity measures, global uncertainty (unless you are a rich banker of course) and all the rest of it, it’s important to focus on the big issues in life.
Dog excrement (this is my polite blog hence the long word) all over the pavement is clearly a big one for a lot of people. As we dutifully pick up after our dog, I can honestly say, it isn’t my fault. What annoys me about the people who don’t pick up is that it gives the rest of us a bad name. In fact what annoys me most, is people who think they have to pick up from the pavement, but not on gardens, because people don’t walk on there.
Honestly. Who do they think does the gardening? There you are, meant to be doing a nice interesting job working with plants, trees, flowers, and you spend half your time cleaning up after someone else’s dog. Not good.
But what is just as annoying, and never seems to get any publicity – is cats using MY garden as THEIR personal toilet area. Like the poor old Gib gardeners cleaning up after someone else’s dog, I’m cleaning up after someone else’s cat. And not even getting paid for it.
Having covered the vast majority of remotely bare soil in plant pots with wire to prevent them jumping on there, we discovered the ingenious little wretches had turned their paws to my olive trees. Front paws in one pot and back paws in another. More wiring was called for on Sunday morning.
However I will end on a sunny note.
Western Beach in Gibraltar as we approached the frontier on Sunday afternoon.