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.