Thursday, March 01, 2007



The day was thunder black. The jog was done – an invigorating one via the stark white almond blossom sprung up in a false spring and now blowing in a black sky around my head like confetti - the emails replied to, the pavoni pulled and it was time to put metal strings back on my modern cello – something I have been building up to with increasing dread but which I have to do for concerts later this month in Cadiz.

For Julian the day started in a touching way, with the receipt of an email from Grace, Annie, Theresa, Lily, Margaret and Julie, an art class who had made a fan club called the 'Julian Merrow-Smith appreciation Society'

“Maybe we should have a plan?" I said, ignoring the fan-mail. "Make some kind of order for the work on the house? That way we can keep chipping away and maybe one day finish something…?”

“You know I don’t work like that. I’ll do it when I do it.”

“Well, for example if we moved all the food into the back of the kitchen like you suggested, will that not mean you can’t build the loo if you suddenly want to because the pasta will be in it?”

“Look, if you get the food out of the cupboard and put it on the table we can move the cupboard and then I can do the wall and then we could phone the tiler and book a date.” Julian was meditatively carving up a gourd, looking at the curvature of its mottled skin and wondering at its paintability.

I was trying not to leap to the telephone and make the call I have longed to make for several months since the tiler’s quote arrived. I started emptying the cupboard and placing everything on the kitchen table. Suddenly Julian was at the wall with his big turbo tool, stripped down to his thermals and making a super sonic noise. It was too late for the dust covers and my cashmere jumper, innocently resting on the back of the chair, was matted with debris.

My day at the cello and the writing desk was never to be. I was, from now on, as I understood it from the body language of the mad mason, chief dust collectres. I was to wipe the advancing dust off storage jars of risotto rice and packets of mole sauce, envelopes with cloves from India and tins of plum tomatoes from the Ligurian supermarket. Then I was to go the dump with the rubble and return home, hopefully in time to ‘gobeti’ (don’t ask, see previous bio dynamic renovation posts) the wall. It was sudden but it was thrilling.

When I did return from the dump, I found my husband in a terrible state. ‘Thousands’ (I think there were about twenty as I received them too) of emails had been ‘pouring in’ to all three thousand people on his mailing list after a glitch with a new mail list software. One person had even used the disaster to send his terrible work on to everyone on Julian's list. Shame on him. Twenty people had unsubscribed in anger and the afternoon so far had been spent not painting the pretty pumpkin but writing personally to every single person who had written to him and assuring them that their email address was safe and that the list in question no longer existed.

‘Well that was a *******good day wasn’t it” said the gollywog opposite me as I handed him a glass of wine. Still in his thermals and hair spider-web white. ‘I'm never going call a painting 'unravelled’ again.'

The latest email in Julian's box said:
'can't afford your paintings. got to buy milk.'

Understand, mate. Got to lay tiles.



Blogger Dean H. said...

Lol!! Great writing. I really enjoyed it. Ah...the life of those involved in the arts. I just "discovered" Juliane a couple of days ago. Today I found you! It's been a banner week for me.

Best wishes,Deano

9:42 PM  
Anonymous silvina day said...

How I enjoy your words! What a delight! I was one of the subscribers to Julian's site that got other people's e-mail addresses. I was wondering why some of them where asking to be taken off the mailing list. How silly to have such an angry reaction. It was, in my opinion, a minor glitch. So what. How could anyone not want to receive daily an image of such exceptional paintings. Poor fools.

Best wishes from California


10:54 PM  
Blogger ruth said...

thanks deano and ra ra silvana. today was going to be a big painting day but Julian is sitting by the fire finally chilling, wiped clean out of apologies, and ready for bed. it is so nice to know some of you have forgiven poor bilbo.

11:01 PM  
Blogger muddy red shoes said...

Poor things! I got the weird emails too, dont worry, anyone with any sense will understand, anyway there wasnt THAT many of them.

2:56 AM  
Blogger Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Are you moving from Blogger then? I can't find - please could you post a link? I don't want to lose you!

8:48 AM  
Blogger ruth said...

that's funny, zinnia, works fine here. does the link work now?

no i'm not grown up enough to move from mother blogger but do own the dot com address and there is a function on the new blogger where it transfers your blog to the new address. therefore my blog SHOULD appear on both addresses (does chez moi). I just find all that blogspot stuff a hassle to say and write!

8:58 AM  
Anonymous kate said...

Poor ol' Julian! I can't quite understand those who asked to be taken off silly! Those tiles are going to look great when you get them the coloured ones at the back of your oven!

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Erin said...

Oh mailing list stuff happens all the time, I couldn't understand why anyone got upset about it. It's only email. Sheesh.

Good luck with the tiles.

9:52 PM  

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