Thursday 31 January 2013


Let me take you back to a world of snow, a world not so long ago .... last week in fact ....

The snow's going, going, gone from most places, but the allotments still have an air of wintery wonderland. The gates are locked and it doesn't look like much allotmenting has been going on for a while. I am not fooled by this, because only last night, just by chance, I was watching a programme about allotment shenanigans and I know that I risk being arrested for trespassing, seeing my equipment smashed and/or having my carrots stolen. Undeterred, ninja like, I leap over the metal mesh gate. Oo, aar, there goes my ninja hip. Still, I made it and no one has appeared to witness the scene so I tramp around until I find an okay spot to paint.

Surprisingly the painting appears to go okay, until, it had to happen, I'm rumbled. A lady arrives (by car) to tend her veg (or other such allotmenty thing).

"Did you climb the gate to get in?"
"Er, not that one." (bizarre, slightly evasive response)
"Is anyone else here?"
"Er, no."

She lets me live and goes about her business. I set about my own business and I nearly finish by the time she passes again on her way out. Another conversation as she gets out to close the gate and lock it behind her:

"Will you be okay climbing out?"
"No worries." For I am Ninja...

Tuesday 22 January 2013


First dose of PAP this year. I have been shamed into action by the bubbly fresh faced enthusiasm of PAPper extraordinaire Tom Hughes (no relation). [Check out his work at] Whereas I have been gloomily looking out the window, thinking it looks really cold, he has been out revelling in the PAP opportunities. [Check out his blog here] Well, dammit, he's right and better late than never I make the effort and try and find some snow to paint.

It's rapidly diminishing, but the building site over the way from the studio has been pretty much left untouched and (again inspired by a Tom painting) I can put some diggers in for a bit of colour. It all sounds great, but I get lazy and try and use the old paint still on my palette from last year (a mistake) and any detail required escapes my worn brushes. I leave off the name of the hire firm - there's no point in trying and who is P Hickey anyway? (Apart from being the only person who might be interested in buying the painting.)

Walking around trying to find this spot I saw an inappropriately dressed man in a sharp suit and leather soled loafers. He's slipping and sliding over a sheet of ice carrying something to his car. He's trying to be so careful with the object that I think he must be holding a baby, but then he opens the boot and turns around and he's only carrying a large load of toilet paper. Crazy, I think, why's he risking a life time of bad backs for a bumper load of loo roll? This thought returns to me as my boots turn the snow beneath my feet to ice and I struggle with the picture.

I manage to get the painting to some sort of reasonable conclusion before I get too cold to continue. At least I'm back on the PAPping horse again.