Monday, 18 March 2019


I wondered if I was unwell. I’ve been feeling tired, listless, irritable and prone to outbursts of inexplicable rage.

Things came to a head last week when I was writing my book – that alone might be the cause – when the front door bell rang. I work at the top of the house in a tower so it takes 50 steps to get to the front door. Despite my bellowing “I’m coming” a pamphlet was being pushed through the letterbox. “No” I shouted so it was rapidly withdrawn tearing as it was pulled out.

I flung open the door to find a short woman with a young man. Not Jehovah’s Witnesses, not obvious salespeople, not neighbours.

“I’m not sure what you want but I’m very busy right now”

She smiled “I just wanted to ask if we could count on you voting Green in the forthcoming Council Elections.”

Suddenly one of those rages surged and I exploded into a rant.

“Politicians! You ought to be thoroughly ashamed -  all of you. Delivering promises which you replace with expedient ideas, prevaricating, destroying people’s hopes and lives. My wife and I shall probably never vote again. There’s no point. You are guilty of terrible things”

She seemed unruffled by this and calmly explained this was a local not a General Election.

“But you politicians are all the same” I snarled (it was meant to be a snarl but didn’t really sound menacing).  I changed tack and turned to the young man “you’ve said nothing – Why should I vote for this person?”

He fixed me with a level gaze “Actually I think you should, she’s very good, works really hard and cares about important stuff….”

She interrupted “He has to say that;  you see he’s my son and I’m cooking his dinner tonight.”

I was nearly won over and the rage had subsided.

A combination of the extraordinary behaviour at Westminster, my having temporarily given up alcohol and this book which as such things always are is a little exasperating may be the cause of my wrath and howling rages - they ought to call me Wolf Hall – but we can fix one right now.

In Saturday’s Times Patrick Kidd quotes from Richard Harris’ book “The Wicked Wit of Ireland “

“I formed a group called Alcoholics Unanimous. If you don’t feel like a drink, you ring another member and he comes over to persuade you.”

The second is fixed too. The book is finished bar corrections, editing and a bit of rewriting.

And the third will be cured by political abstinence and thinking about better things. The Sorolla exhibition is at the National Gallery. He’s Spanish, late 19th century and is called “The Master of Light”.

Most of his painting was done in the open air and is truly joyful, When I look at “Sewing the Sail” I cannot give a fig for Brexit or Westminster.

All I can see is dappled sunlight, the sea and laughing, contented people.

1 comment:

Minniethemoll said...

Wolf Hall. Loving it.
I also vote Sorolla and may even start canvasing on his behalf.
'Sewing the sail' is simply breathtaking to see in 'the flesh' as it were. It is the longest I have ever stood transfixed in front of any painting, in any gallery, in the world.