Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Sunday, 22 September 2013
In the garden next to the palace in Sevilla as the sun went down, H.I. spotted this combination of palm, moon and blackbird, and asked me to snap it on my crap phone camera for future reference back home. This will be her next painting I think (she is making a drawing now as I write), so don't go breaching copyright by making one of your own, eh? You might be hearing from my solicitors.
H.I. has been painting palm trees for about 40 years or more now. She never seems to tire of them. As a result of this arboreal obsession, she was once asked to contribute to a mixed exhibition entitled, 'The New Orientalists'.
I have a feeling that this exotic streak in her is a result of being brought up in a tiny terraced house in Sheffield with an outside lavatory and no bathroom. Yes, she really did have a bath in a tub by the fireside every friday, but only after her father had one beforehand. Later, they had a bath fitted, and I don't know if this changed their lives much at all.
As soon as she was old enough, she ran down to London just as the Swinging Sixties began, and her Yorkshire accent became a fashionable asset as kitchen-sink dramas took hold in the South of England.
Whatever money she had was spent on clothes - good clothes - and she worked hard as a waitress when at college in order to buy them. She is still obsessed with good clothes to this day, and I really don't think that our contents insurance would cover the replacement of her wardrobe, should the unthinkable happen.
The funny thing is that - unlike me - she is really careful and good with money, despite blowing small fortunes on things like Armani jackets or Bottega Venetta handbags (that one has yet to be acquired for less than the £3000 asking price, but she'll do it). Going window-shopping with her is a dangerous exercise for a non-millionaire.
I was at the house of an extremely wealthy client a few months ago, and saw an amazing lamp flickering away in the darkness, which looked for all the world like a real - albeit robotic and bright - candle flame, and I fell in love with it immediately. For someone who insists in the real, authentic thing, I have a paradoxical love for anything pastiche.
I looked it up on the net, and found that it is a designer item entitled, 'My New Flame', and costs a bloody fortune. I tried to put it out of my head, but - sorry to say it - Christmas is coming up and I kept thinking what a fantastic ambient addition this would make at the top of our stairs to welcome the kids when they come round for dinner.
So, with more than a little encouragement from H.I., I found myself blowing about £300 on one last night via the internet, and it is due to arrive (from Germany) in about two weeks.