From one painter to another

My father always said the best barber was always the one with the worst hair cut, based on the dubious logic that a good barber was so busy he didn’t have time to cut his own hair.

While time might be a factor, it’s more likely that he’s so sick of cutting hair, that in his spare time he really doesn’t give two hoots about how his hair looks.

After thirty years of living with a professional decorator who’s been painting for more than 40 years, we often live in houses that need a redec.

Somewhat like the hypothetical barber, he often doesn’t have time, and when he does, the last thing he wants to do is pick up another paintbrush.

As my limping is getting slightly better, I made a start on some well overdue cleaning, and much to my surprise, the kitchen area and entrance to the flat were painted. Next I attacked the bathroom. It has water stains from an upstairs leak and the paint around the window area was flaking, and there was mould. Damp humid environments like Gib = mould.

I washed off as much of the mould as I could. Limping might be coming along but it doesn’t extend to climbing stepladders so he finished the washing down.

Next steps, each requiring a separate day for drying time:

  1. Scrape off loose and flaking paint, and apply anti-fungicide (Dulux)
  2. Apply PVA
  3. Apply filler
  4. Rub down and apply one coat of anti-mould matt emulsion paint (Dulux)
  5. Apply one coat of stain block primer (Johnstones)
  6. Apply second coat of emulsion paint (same Dulux anti-mould)

This wouldn’t be a cost effective job to do for a customer. Six visits to one property for a few hours each day? For a tiny area? Stain block primer at nearly thirty quid a litre and Dulux paint at around fifty quid a gallon?

Anyway it’s looking good. Well, the walls are looking good, even if the rest of the bathroom needs chucking out. We’ll be checking to see if the stains reappear in which case they will get more stain block primer and another coat of emulsion.

And while my personal painter was grafting away—I’d retired after my phenomenal cleaning contribution—I was reading a book about the other sort of painter, in this case Botticelli.

Botticelli’s Bastard by Stephen Maitland-Lewis

imageHow could I not want to read this? The good thing about studying history is that you get loads of art history thrown in too, whether it’s mosaics in Ravenna, the Sistine Chapel, or lesser known glories but equally as awe-inspiring. Botticelli appeared in my history A level, after all, it was Renaissance and Reformation, so we were blasted with fifteenth/sixteenth century artists.

Novels involving art history invariably revolve around proving an unknown painting is by a famous artist. Michael Frayn’s Headlong is an example.

BB is along those lines. Is the picture lying in a crate of an art restorer by Botticelli or not? The twist here though, which is almost spooky after reviewing EJ Simon’s books Death Moves In and Death Logs Out, is that the subject of the painting speaks to the restorer. Yet another voice from beyond.

The author creates a good character in the count in the portrait, who is naturally a Medici, a mix of arrogance, sincerity and pragmatism. He’s probably the best character in the book. The self-righteous art restorer becomes slightly obsessed with checking out the history of the painting and wonders how it ended up in his family when the last recorded memory of the count was hanging in the home of a French Jewish family in Paris in the 1940s. Cue Nazi art thefts … concentration camps … and a relative who survived Auschwitz.

But to get to there, we’ve had to go through every single exchange of owner the painting has made which drags out the story somewhat. However, once we finally get to the point, ie who took the painting from the Jewish family and, if, IF, it is a Botticelli, what then happens to the painting?

So after a meandering start, it picks up and the second half is quite lively.

In terms of picky roughseas finding spelling errors, I didn’t. Amazing. I must be losing my touch. But I did find some annoying examples of sloppy word placement, or rather misplacement, most odd, eg:

“poured himself a glass a wine.”

Where it should be ‘a glass of wine’.

I found it odd that a book that was clean on spelling and had only one dialogue error (that I noticed) had a number of missing or wrong small words like ‘a’ and ‘of’. Bizarre.

One of the other aspects that puzzled me was that the author is described as a British attorney, and lives in America (qv bio below). The book is set mostly in London, with trips to Europe, and one brief trip to New York. Yet the language is totally American. Perhaps the biggest one that didn’t ring true was when the art restorer was in Paris and asked to go to the bathroom and he wasn’t understood so resorted to asking for the toilet. Duh! Où est la toilette? Or in this example, where are the toilets?

Young Brits may well ask for the bathroom instead of the toilet these days, I have no idea, but this character was knocking on a bit, Italian heritage, but living in London and no American connection. Why would he ask to go to the bathroom? If I ask for the toilet in Spanish I don’t ask for the cuarto de baño.

It does bring up important questions though about what language you use for novels. If I wrote a book set in America or Canada, how would I have my characters speak? In Queen’s English? Unlikely. Should the main setting, main characters, or the author’s nationality determine the variant of English used?

And, on a forum, I recently read a thread questioning how characters in historical novels should speak. At one end of the spectrum is it thee, thou, forsooth, or should they use current day idioms that we are all down with? That applies to this novel as the Medici count is some 500 years old, and interestingly, therefore, he predates America.

The main issue about language is retaining credibility for the novel, surely.

All in all, however, it was a decent, enjoyable and interesting light read. A note at the end about Botticelli would have been good for people that don’t know much about him, and also to explain that he didn’t usually sign his paintings.

imageStephen Maitland-Lewis is an award-winning author, a British attorney, and a former international investment banker. He held senior positions in the City of London, Kuwait, and on Wall Street before moving to California in 1991. He owned a luxury hotel and a world-renowned restaurant and was also the Director of Marketing of a Los Angeles daily newspaper. Maitland-Lewis is a jazz aficionado and a Board Trustee of the Louis Armstrong House Museum in New York. A member of PEN and the Author’s Guild, he is also on the Executive Committee of the International Mystery Writers Festival.

His novel Hero on Three Continents received numerous accolades, and Emeralds Never Fade won the 2012 Benjamin Franklin Award for Historical Fiction and the 2011 Written Arts Award for Best Fiction. His novel Ambition was a 2013 USA Best Book Awards and 2014 International Book Awards finalist and won first place for General Fiction in the 2013 Rebecca’s Reads Choice Awards. Maitland-Lewis and his wife, Joni Berry, divide their time between their homes in Beverly Hills and New Orleans.

Thanks to Italy Book Tours for providing me with this book to review.

76 comments on “From one painter to another

  1. Use oil base if you want to avoid mould in the future. Your decorator mate would know about that…unless moisture is a constant issue.
    As for Botticelli….he would not worry about that and just grab the colour on his palette.
    Our local hardware giant ‘Bunnings’ now has line dancing evenings to entice more women to get into hardware and learn about plumbing and painting. It looks as if that would be wasted on you though. You seem to know your way with fillers and anti fungal washes, undercoats, PVA and Dulux. .


    • Yes, it is a constant issue with Gib’s sub-tropical climate and dense city centre housing, shadow of the Rock and Levanter cloud formation. We were using an oil-based interior finish some years ago, but, because of VOC regs it was taken off the market. Dulux has come up to speed on VOC and their anti-mould paint plus prior anti-fung treatment has actually produced the best results of anything we’ve tried. It’s actually worth the price. Instead of watching damp spores coming back in months, this paint is much more resilient. We’re heading into our wet season now, so we’ll see what happens through winter.

      Can’t remember how damp Florence was even though it was winter when I went, main memory is the Uffizi, but I would rather deal with mould than temperamental powerful rich clients like the Medici family.

      I’ve had a 30 year apprenticeship in it. My theory isn’t bad, but my practical skills leave something to be desired. Still, I can wash out brushes and buckets of plaster …

      I’d be skipping the line dancing. A group of us (four women) planned to sign up for a car maintenance course, no idea why we never did. But still, I can read a Land Rover workshop manual and know my leading edges on brake shoes. Don’t see why basic skills can’t be built into science classes. We learned how to wire plugs when I was at school.


    • If I let him into SA, or us, we’d never escape! Hmm, he’s a bit picky about tools and equipment. But still, we could load up the Landy. Purchase of appropriate paint would need to be approved. Estimates will need to be signed.

      Joking apart, he has been asked to go back to the UK a few times. Not that there’s a shortage of decorators, but people want a) someone they can trust b) who does good quality work c) who doesn’t charge the earth. But there’s no way it’s cost-effective to go back to the UK to do work. And Gibbos and Brits with places in Spain have asked us to work there too.

      And given the rate of the rand to the pound I dread to think what decorators (don’t) earn in South Africa.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Damn, that was some mold! It looked more like an invasion of painfully coloured ectoplasm. Great job in exorcising it. You should hire your services out to the Vatican ;)


    • It was a mix of flaking paint, water stains, and mould. Nobody had ever treated it properly before, so it meant a full scrape back to get rid of the crap ectoplasm. We’ll see how long it lasts, further exorcism may be needed. Evil is constantly trying to return.

      When I visited the Sistine Chapel it was in the midst of restoration, but I gather that was finally finished at the end of the last century. God has been revamped there so the Vatican is probably on a roll with its painting and won’t need us. I suspect they require a different skill set.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kate, was it you that wrote about British authors being pressured by their publishers to Americanize their writings? I read this somewhere, I’m sure. The book sounds exactly my cup of tea and I’ll be adding to my pile. Thanks a bunch and glad your ankle is slowly improving. BTW, my husband disapproves of my painting skills and so I get out of that task easily.


    • It was probably this post:
      There was something in the comments too as I recall, but as there are 200+ I’d only look if you are trying to avoid cleaning or whatever.

      It was a decent read, I’ve given it three stars on Good Reads, but haven’t written up a review on there or Amazon yet.

      The ankle is getting to the point where He thinks I should be skipping around Gib. But it’s a city, and everyone is busy and in a rush, and I’m slow and limping, so I’m not confident enough for that yet.

      Partner is actually a really good teacher, very old school, you have to be prepared to do the apprentice jobs of cleaning out and sweeping up, but so long as you are interested and Pay Attention, he’s actually patient. Can’t stand slackers though!


  4. A good review on what seems a fairly interesting book. The bathroom is looking so much better after all your treatment.
    I’m glad to hear you’re hopping better but please don’t push it too much.


    • It was interesting, I just felt it lacked a little something. Je ne sais quoi.

      Correction, the walls look better. The bathroom still needs ripping out.

      I’m def limping now rather than hopping or hobbling. I will be an expert on the various gaits of people with broken ankles by the time I am walking again. Thanks.


  5. The bathroom looks great. I used to live in Florida, where I had the same problem with mold invading my apartment. Still, it’s a decent burden to have if one enjoys where one lives.

    I also took note of your comments about dialogue. For me, the dialogue should fit the character as much as it can reasonably be done. Sometimes, though, for more ancient characters some license is needed. Using ancient words can be an impediment to the story rather than a help. Perhaps what is important is consistency; if one makes the same mistake with a character, it could be part of that character. Certainly it’s one of the things I look for when reading dialogue.


    • Florida does sound one of the nicer parts of America. Yes, I think if you enjoy the good points of somewhere it’s inevitable there are not so good ones. Mould is preferable to cockroaches, for example. At least the mould will stay away now for some time, fingers crossed. We’ve used the same treatment elsewhere in the flat and it’s been very good. Obviously the bathroom is damper, but we’ll see how it goes.

      I have no set view on the language apart from consistency is always key. I thought the dialogue in ‘business as usual’ was great. Where is chap 27 I might ask? In terms of historical novels I don’t think it’s necessary to use archaic language, in fact where I come from in the UK people used thee and thou, well, with a certain amount of dialect. But neither do modern slang and idioms fit, unless they are time travelling. Really depends on the book.

      I found it strange that someone of European lineage with no apparent connection to America would ask for the bathroom in French, rather than a toilet.


    • Paint, sundries/consumables, getting there and back each day, setting out, tidying up and cleaning up each day. At a couple of hours a day? Doesn’t bear thinking about. Only worth doing, from a customer’s point of view, if something else needed doing there as well.

      Our neighbour had similar problems, and cos she’s short of cash, he told her how to sort it. So she bought the expensive paint and is pleased as punch.


  6. On English in novels, I would be half-way between the local language, or the language of the time, and the audience’s own. If that audience is American, why should English people not sound a bit American? The bathroom is much improved, and I would ask for the “loos” rather than the toilets. Or the dunny, or cludge, in the relevant places.


    • But books are international now. Epublishing means the audience is international. It’s no longer print books demanding English ones being translated into Americanese, people are reading books in whatever hybrid of English from all over. So I think audience is less of a deciding factor. More and more it should be the setting of the book, geographically and time period, unless one only wants to sell to a limited single country market. I don’t see a lot of authors doing that.

      Dunny is good. Never heard of cludge. I haven’t used loo in years. It reminds me of being young and not wanting to say such a crude word as ‘TOILET!’ I would cringe to say loo.


        • Lav sounds a bit old fashioned, because who calls it a lavatory? Reminds me of school where the dozen or more huge toilets complete with wooden seats etc were actually called ‘The Lavatories’. Pronounced in a serious voice. Lav is better than lavvy 😀

          Bog did come to mind. As did shithouse. The former being rather more acceptable. And then, there’s the quaint, ‘I’d like to spend a penny’. Probably ‘I’d like to spend a quid’ by now. We have some vastly expensive prefab all flushing all dancing all self-cleaning toilets in Gib that I think cost 50p or a euro. Nice rip-off exchange rate there. Plus, of course, you have limited time in there as well.

          Your delicate phrase is rather like shorter, ‘I need to go’. They all serve their purpose in English, but get lost in translation, or even in English.

          Eg, ‘I need to go.’

          ‘OK, thanks for coming, we’ll see you later,’ and the desperate person is ejected onto the street with not a toilet in sight!

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Psssssssssssst. Stop at El Motor in Guadiaro and ask for Muffycid spray. Pronounced Moofysee sprrry. That’s the end of mould.
    The author looks like a cross between Alan Sugar, Paul Daniels and the captain of the Love Boat :D
    Distressing concept.


    • Gee thanks for the pronunciation lesson. I’d never have guessed. But I’ll share one with you in return. British band Dire Straits. Pronounced Dear Streets in Spanish. We cracked up when our neighbours told us they like Dear Streets, and tried to explain the difference between muchos problemas and calles muy caras.

      It looks evil stuff. But it isn’t the end of mould, it kills it, but it will and does come back, plus you need to repaint over the crap left behind, so why not do a proper job in the first place. One review I read said it comes back in a year, and we’ve had longer than that with this current prep and treatment. Plus, in a small confined space ie our flat, those fumes would send me off it. And the dogs.

      I don’t watch love boat, thought Paul Daniels was appalling but Alan Sugar made my first computer. Well, not personally.


  8. Nice segue between painterly topics :) Regardless of our occupation it does appear we value regardless of the necessity of our professional attentions a cut-off between work and home but it would never do to get someone to do our home-work for us, so it eventually is attended to.
    Good review but better you than me. I’m feeling unusually huffy about books, normally I churn through and enjoy most of whatever comes my way but at the moment I’m not keen to fritter valuable reading time on so-so. There is so much writing out there, and so many over-effusive reviews and 4 or 5 stars that I’ve lost all faith unless it’s a reviewer of some calibre and integrity such as yourself.


    • Ha! Contrived but it served my purpose in wanting to write about two different topics.p

      We fell into the trap of getting a cleaner at one point as we had No. Time. Well, he claimed we had no time. And then did the usual trick, exactly like my mother of rushing around the day before, because ‘the cleaner’s coming and it must be clean and tidy’. We went on holida and said we’d get in touch on return. Phew. A lucky escape and a total waste of money.

      Four and five star reviews are lending a bad name to reviews. Mine are normally three and four. Indies get some slack but best selling authors don’t, so, if I read an indie and it’s below three I won’t review as it wouldn’t be helpful, they may or may not get a mail saying why/not.

      I reviewed one recently for another site and was told someone else had given it four stars. Did I agree? No. Three max. Seriously transparent plot, weak characterisation, and poor use of first person didn’t help. Yet, this same book has a multitude of five stars. I felt slightly relieved when I read one review that highlighted exactly the same points I had raised, but what is with these gushing reviews?

      One of the reasons I like this book tour company is that I am allowed to write an honest review. Many book tours don’t allow that. Plus they require the books to be professionally edited, so you can at least expect a decent read. I like reviewing books that are out of my normal choice too because it broadens my view. I’ve got a few different ones coming up, but I like pacing them, as not everyone is interested in book reviews.


  9. Dulux is well known/well used here, too – especially after hurricanes. Constant battle, oil based or not. (There’s this one spot in the ceiling by the attic access where the insulation was moved over for some remodel and not returned..after a cold winter and lots of heater use. Sigh. I know what you mean about the barber’s hair cuts…) Your bathroom repair does look great.
    Will check out the book – the Medici, the art and the art thefts of the ’40’s should make an interesting story. As you say about language, the whole thing is credibility.
    People used to be so touchy about “delicate” subject wording…Toilet always sounded odd. Much better than “little girl’s room” my mother used. Men said something about “seeing man about a dog”. Bathroom – sounded harsh and unsophisticated? Potty. Now that was ugly sounding and not said in polite company. “Need to visit the facilities” heard that sometimes. I always wondered if people actually said “loo”.
    I’m with you, Schools should have a class in basic auto mechanics and maintenance…especially if they aren’t teaching how to read and think any better….with the web videos and pictures in manuals, most of us can figure it out. So many not motivated and cars let to deteriorate and the owners just drive to the mechanic and pay for the fix…or buy a new car. Dumb (not the car)
    More sea fog today…ugh…wait 10 seconds of sun…with rain expected all weekend….pass the Dulux…


    • We were well behind the USA in producing VOC compliant paints, but Dulux must have thrown serious money at it and is now producing good quality paint. Early British VOC paints were the subject of much moaning by British decorators, and people continued to use oil-based paints for better coverage and durability. But now the spec has improved, we prefer to use them at home and for clients wherever possible. For example in the bathroom (and kitchen) we always used flat oil-based finish, but now, the matt emulsion (water based) is actually good enough quality.

      I’d forgotten about a man seeing a dog. Where is the logic in that? I suppose it comes from somewhere, but no idea where. When I was young, people did say loo a lot. I just can’t remember when I stopped using euphemisms. When I grew up, I suppose, and accepted that everyone goes to the toilet.

      It struck me that if we could learn to wire plugs as part of science lessons, there could be plenty of other practical lessons that could be added into science lessons eg pumping brake/clutch pedals when you’ve been doing work on them to clear the air in the system. Basic plumbing, flow and return systems would all be practical ways of looking at the theory and teaching people simple skills, or at least an understanding of them.

      After a couple of days of rain we’re back to sun. Cold (ie 11 degrees brrr) but sunny. Waiting for the super to open this morning at 8am, the early birds were let in by a store worker who said it was too cold to wait outside. It could be minus 11 and that still wouldn’t happen in the UK.

      Liked by 1 person

      • More sea fog…snoooooze…oh not happening. Out very early with Molly as it wasn’t raining but might be soon.
        Your idea of combining science with practical knowledge is a great idea…might encourage people not to think science is all elevated academics but real life. It’s such a good idea, schools will probably never buy into it.
        That seeing a dog thing – never figured it out.
        Sometimes you see WC on supposedly fancy restaurants or house plans. Sometimes Chica or Chico or stupid stick figures. Better than “Standers” and “Squatters” So ugh: fake hillbilly theme is so dumb.
        Bathroom. Just say bathroom.
        If it’s raining here all weekend, maybe some house projects will get done? (wanna bet?) Paw waves and hobble with care!


  10. Your thoughts about the use of appropriate language for a historical novel had me wondering why in many historical movies, regardless of their location, the characters always speak with a British accent?


    • None of them are quite what I want. I really don’t know why someone doesn’t produce the perfect theme for me. I don’t like the picture effect if you click on the home page, I’d rather have the scroll down text. My trouble is, I started doing all my work on the iPad since the accident, and I’ve got too lazy to use the laptop. So I didn’t realise the last one came up as two columns till it was pointed out because it comes up single on a tablet or mobile. Two columns only works if you have one or less photos. Now, I’m checking any new theme on all three and any tweaks I make. Thanks 😀 it will do for now. Oh and WP does not make it easy to try out themes these days. Top top, avoid USA waking hours if wanting to try themes.


      • They released a new one the other day – Plane – which looks all right. I am thinking of changing too, now that I am posting more photos.
        It’s actually fun just to muck about with different themes. Not as if anything is permanent in any case.
        How’s the ankle, by the way?


        • I looked at Plane, I thought it looked OK, but wasn’t it double column? I think I tried it out but there was something I wasn’t happy with (nothing new there).

          I don’t think it’s fun. It is annoying when they aren’t exactly what I want. Stampy feet.😡

          Have you looked at Nishita? It’s been around a while but does work well for photos.

          It’s still around. Thanks. Hoping to try getting out more on next trip to España. Gib streets are too narrow and busy for limping old women like me.


  11. A great difference in the “before”e and “after” pictures–nicely done! I’ve always found that applying the paint to the wall is the shortest and easiest step. It’s the preparatory work that is the killer. In my case, there’s always a little surface damage to be repaired. In NL just about all interious walls are constructed of gyproc (sheetrock, gypsum wallboard or whatever you call it–every place seems to have a different name). The stuff is normally a pleasure to work with as its easy to install, repair and finish, as well as being relatively cheap. It is prone to dents and scrapes though and all paint jobs look only half done if you don’t take care of that first. Whenever you paint, though, the act of moving the furniture, removing switchplates and such and covering what needs covering seems to take the majority of teh time. Once you’ve cut in (the part I don’t like much. I lack fine motor coordination and have to go really slowly) all you do is apply the paint with a roller. Here’s how it breaks down for me in say a standard bedroom:
    – considering doing it: 2 years
    – procrastinating once I’ve made up my mind to do it: 2 months
    – getting paint and supplies: 2 hours
    – second wave of procrastination: 2 days
    – moving things out of room, covering stuff, etc. : 2 hours
    – surface prep/mending dings & spot priming – 30 minutes spread over 2 days since the plaster needs drying time
    – cutting in first time: 2 hours
    – first coat: 1 hour
    – cutting in second time: 1 hour
    – second coat: 1 hour
    – putting everything back in place: 1 hour
    – hinting around for wife to tell me what a great job I’ve done: 3 – 4 weeks


    • Painting is like any skill, whether it is writing (research) or tailoring, for example. The finishing is often easy, but you always need the prep to get it right. Tailoring is a classic, one wrong cut, and you have got a whole length of fabric wrong. Or measuring up for curtains. Planning the layout and drop. The actual sewing is easy and stress free, but taking the scissors to expensive fabric? … My heart was always in my mouth.

      We call it plasterboard. I think your southern neighbours call it drywall which is a little odd if someone puts on a skim finish because that is wet by definition, but I digress. People think they shouldn’t have to pay for: taking down curtains, curtain poles, radiators, bleeding them, moving 5672 ornaments, moving furniture into the middle of the room, sheeting up, cleaning up, and then putting it all back. And, if someone is living in the room, you might have to do some or all of that every day.

      I’m cute. I’m right in there to say what a fantastic job it is. And can I wash out your brushes darling? :)


  12. Your link to a blog entitled night in gib ( or something similar) has gawn and nevvah called me “mama” It contained some shots of a rainy Gibraltar Main Street and the front of the RC cathedral. As it brought back mostly happy memories, I posted a comment and then it went AWOL ( I’m considering disciplinary action if it is not re instated forthwith or even forthwithout )


      • Hmm! Wonderful what the mere threat of the lash will produce! :-)) OK! Stand at ease, Prisoner and Escort, and we’ll hear the case for the defence!

        I actually found it , the posting that is, amongst a trawl through your vast collection of blogs in here The photo is a real memory for me for reasons already stated…. I would like to copy it across to my forum if that is allowed?



          • The ‘Cafe Dillo’ an off shoot of a once well attended further offshoot of the ‘Armadillo’ forum run by the Consumers’ Association ( Now called simply Which?, way back in the late 70s. It is now sadly, not there any more. Armadillo was replaced by Cafe Dillo ( ) in January 2006 and I joined a handful of the many who used to enjoy this forum. A small cross section of ex CA members now run this almost hidden forum ( but would welcome a new and informed literary talent such as yourself.)

            Your picture shows ( I’m pretty certain on the right of the frame) the front entrance of The Cathedral Church of St Mary, Gibraltar, where I was married in April 1962
            I merely wanted to show this to the dozen or so members who remain at Cafe Dillo. If that is not allowed then I shall not do so.


          • No, it’s totally the government building. If you want to link back to it, rather than using the pic, that would be fine, but as I say, it is not the cathedral of St Mary the Crowned.



            This is the building from a Google Street view Type of shot. Your photo showed the portico above the door to the far right and also the Statue to the Sappers of the Royal Engineers on the left of the shot This was not there during my time on the Rock but on a recent visit( March 2008) I noticed it had been positioned on a small triangular area at the junction of Main Street and Bomb House Lane. Looking further on Google, the Statue is labelled correctly and is as shown in the above pic., almost directly opposite the Cathedral door. I shall not infringe your copyright of this pic.


          • Eddie, look at the difference on wiki between St Mary and parliament building. Look at the angle I took the photo from. I was looking down the street (North), parliament is on the left, St Mary is on the right. SM is not in my pic. Also look at Google images for St M, if you scroll down, there is a night-time shot, totally different to mine.


          • I do hope that we’re talking about the same photo, Kate It’s no 2 down on your images blog ‘Everypic’ I’m not able reproduce it, but I’ll try to describe it

            A Rain covered cobbled street ( Main Street, Gib.) is in the foreground, leading the viewer through two large waste bins/ bollards (?) in black to a wider street A lady dressed in a black overcoat and carrying a brolly is on her way towards the pavement to her left. On the Extreme Left is a large piece of white(ish) limestone which forms the Base for a statue of a old time Sapper in the CRE. Illumination is from a large double,ornate, street lamp which supports two hanging baskets. The right edge of the photo depicts a floodlit building, with tall black painted iron railings lining the street’s edge. The façade of this building is finished in an ochre wash and with the large windows, being picked out in a white stone, A central doorway ( door not visible) is capped with a quite severe ( ie not decorated at all) arc-ed pediment whose curvature is reflected and echoed in the much larger Arched Roofline some 40 50 feet higher up. This is partly hidden by the branches of a tree on the Right of the photo.

            But when viewed from behind the RE Statue as in my Google ‘street view’ shot this is very obviously the building marked in English and in Spanish as being the said Cathedral.
            That corner of Main Street was where my then girlfriend and I would meet for our ‘dates’ so I became very well acquainted with it over the 18months of our ( necessarily “Chaste” courtship :-)


          • LOL! No of course we’re not. I totally thought you meant the title photo. I’d forgotten I’d even caught the cathedral in one of the other photos. My apologies. They do look similar in a way because of the classical architecture. Great example of communication breakdown huh? My fault for not asking which photo you meant.


          • I’m very glad that’s sorted !! I was about to start emailing my Ex. to see if she had any piccies of our wedding day taken outside the Cathedral… !!

            I seem to recall that we had a bit of a ‘barney’ with the snapper from a local shop who turned up, took the piccies, outside the church and then accompanied us up to Alameda Gardens where he fired off a couple of rolls of 36 mm film and then demanded a lift back to town in our Wedding Car! We refused as we were due “Over the Gap” at New Wifey’s parents’ home for the REAL celebrations.
            I waved a genuine ‘Soldier’s farewell’ to him as off he staggered under his cameras and tripods down Europa Road towards the Queen’s Cinema, and we past him as he made it to the Trafalgar Pub into which he disappeared presumably to regain his strength !

            In those days one could actually cross and recross the border at ‘4 Corners’ with nothing more than a cursory glance at my well used Passport and a more severe scrutiny of New Wifey’s ( ( Not issued in Gib. but craftily , via a mate who advised us of the potential problems, from the Passport Office at Petite France, London.) We were prepared for a bit of a delay but it didn’t happen as Best Man Charlie ( Still living on the Rock) had inserted a mass of confetti between each page of our passports and this exploded all over the little office changing the GC’s mood from being slightly officious to genial, beaming, bonhomie, through which we were waved as honoured guests! :-)

            On return and after about 3 weeks since The Day, we ventured forth, squinting slightly in the bright sunshine ( Ahem!) and went into the piccy shop to collect the album. The young lady presented it to us and then looked at a note attached to the invoice, which stated that the snapper was not at all happy with the tip I’d left him and would we please reconsider it? I’d left 5 Shillings which from a terminally impoverished Squaddy earning not much more than £6 pw ( my Marriage Allowance had not kicked in yet !) I had thought sufficient… So we politely asked for the 5 bob back and made as if we were about to bestow on him even greater largess ,then promptly walked out with the snapper’s ears ringing with Spanish phrases including Ladron! Hijo de puta! etcetera etcetera! ;-) Ah, Happy Days!


          • So am I. I felt I was next in the firing line to be hija de puta!

            It’s a great story. Would you be surprised to know nothing has changed. I’ve just written a post mentioning backhanders …


  13. wow, that was some serious mould. it brought to mind our leaking pipes scenario from a couple of years ago. well done on cleaning that up!
    you can get Dulux here as well, although i don’t remember which brand we ended up using, but i do remember following the suggestion of a good friend who has been dealing with such things for years. i just remember being pleased with the results. out of sight, out of mind, i guess. i am just grateful that project is behind us.
    i actually read a novel on Rembrandt while in Germany last year. it was rather interesting after having been to Amsterdam. very readable, although it was in German. It was titled ‘Der Gehilfe des Malers’ (English equivalent would be the Artist’s Apprentice, or something like that) by Alexandra Guggenheim. Not sure if there is an English translation available, although there is a Spanish one titled El discípulo de Rembrandt. would be interesting to see what you think of it if you ever got your hands on it. but no pressure of course :)


  14. I clicked on this post because I liked the painting. Who knew that it would be the most useful blog post I’ve ever read, as far as healing our London basement bathroom is concerned? I might read the Botticelli novel one day too, once the damn damp bathroom is fixed.


    • The painting is interesting as is the book. But I’m pleased you found the painting info useful. We did tell our neighbour, who is invariably short of funds, how to fix it and she forked out for the paint and is really pleased with the results. Prob needs touching up or redoing every couple of years. Depends on the level of humidity in your bathroom I suppose. Dulux anti mould might be cheaper in the UK than in Gib, so shop around. It IS worth paying for though. No I don’t work for Dulux.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. That painting makes for a stunning header Kate. It’s gorgeous! So is your paint job. Love the colour but hell yes, it’s hard work for sure. I’ve had my share. :D

    Looks like an interesting book to read. Does it come in movie format? :P

    As you can see, I am trying to catch up. :D
    ♥ Big Hugs to you and the beasties ♥ <3


    • It’s an interesting book cover, and I like to have different types of featured images.

      Paint is actually white, but the light changes the colour, should have fiddled with the photo maybe? Nah, too lazy.

      It would be a slightly complicated film. Don’t think the author wrote with that in mind, unlike others.

      And I’m trying to catch up with comments!

      ❤️And to you in Sonels wildlife reserve❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      • It sure is and must have been the light then or my eyesight and yeah, I know the feeling. LOL!

        I like complicated films and would make an interesting one as well. :D

        Well, you’re doing a great job. Keep going. hahahah!

        Thanks hon. Have a great weekend and more ♥ Hugs ♥ to you and those gorgeous furries. <3


        • I’m pretty stuck for new photos due to not wandering out, so striking book covers work well enough. Or in the case of my last post, someone else’s photos! With permission, and I © marked them too to her.

          Now I’ve got to catch up with blogs! This is why we take breaks 😀

          We’re all chilling this weekend 💤 and its also ☔️

          Liked by 1 person

  16. Pet peeve: writers who write about cultures of which they know nothing. It could be writers who write about contemporary times but with characters who are from other countries, and it could be (and usually is) writers who set their books in the past with no idea how the people spoke or behaved. I don’t mind a little anachronism — better that than completely slaughtering the language or having them behavior in an inappropriate way — but simple things (like having British characters use “sweaters” instead of “jumpers” make me crazy. End of rant.


    • Historical fiction is interesting. It came up on the book review site I’m on. Should current language ‘hey dude’ be part of a historical novel?

      British/American is very difficult. I actually called my jumpers sweaters when young. I used both, or rather my parents did, suspect it was the influence of 50s sweater girls? I’m wearing one now and I actually can’t remember what I call it!


      • I’m actually more tolerant of historical characters speaking contemporary English — Lorenzo de Medici saying “Hey Dude” — than an author trying and failing miserably at “historic speak.” Romance novelists are the worst.

        Grant and I have picked up “pudding” from an English friend.and use it. Just because saying “pudding” is fun. Yes, we are 10.


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