Better Late Than Never

I came late to painting. I was already in my forties when I began. In the quarter century since then I have never held an exhibition. However, late last year I was persuaded that I should take the plunge, and alongside three other artists I now have a three week exhibition in the village cultural centre, La Casa del Apero. Fifteen of my paintings are on show and last night we had the official opening, with wine and nibbles. My ego was well massaged during the two hours of the event, and I now feel quite proud and pleased. Just goes to show that it's never too late.......


Three Cheers For MAPFRE!

This morning my wife got up and went to make coffee. On entering the kitchen, she discovered a large and ominous pool of water on the floor, directly beneath the light fitting from which water was dripping steadily. It had to be Sunday, of course. I rang a friend who is a plumber, he came round and together we went up to the bathroom directly above the kitchen. Everything looked fine. But then it would look fine; all the pipes are under the tiled floor. He treated me to a chorus of that sucking, slow intake of breath one expects from a plumber in the process of diagnosis, and declared it to be too big a job for him. So I did what I should have done in the first place. I rang my insurance company. One hour later, an electrician arrived to disconnect and tape up the wires to the light, assuring me that when everything was fixed and had dried out, he would return and reconnect them. An hour later the plumber arrived. First of all he made a hole in the false ceiling of the kitchen so that he could see where the water was entering the void. He went up to the bathroom, located the guilty pipe, smashed his way through the tiles to get at it, removed the necessary section and replaced it, and then three hours later left with the emergency over. He also assured me that I would now receive a visit - arranged by the company - from a builder who would repair the kitchen ceiling and replace the broken tiles (Fortunately, I have several spares, so no problem about matching them), and that a painter would then come and repaint wherever there had been water damage. All of this on a Sunday! But that is the beauty of MAPFRE. When three years ago the engine of my car blew up at 8.15 one Sunday morning on a country road in France, a breakdown truck was with us within an hour and a half, and we were then provided with transport in the form of taxi, train, taxi and hire car, which allowed us to drive into the village at almost precisely the time that I had anticipated getting back before the car let us down. It took rather longer for the car to catch up with us, but that is another story. Oh, and next year we are planning to visit friends in New Zealand. The price of comprehensive travel insurance to cover a four week trip to the other side of the world? 3.40€ each additional premium on our household insurance policy; and that covers us for any other holidays we might take, irrespective of where or for how long (up to 60 days each trip). That’s why today I think my insurance company deserves a blatant plug on my blog.


Easter in England

This year, for a change, we missed Semana Santa in the village. Instead we flew to England to attend the wedding of my nephew, Richard to Samantha. The wedding was held on the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, at a barn complex in the Sussex village of Upwaltham. It was a wonderful day - the weather kept dry with frequent spells of sunshine, the bride looked beautiful as brides should, and the groom didn’t look too bad either. The proof is in the photo above. How the groom’s uncles looked, you must judge for yourselves from the other photo which also includes one of my two beautiful daughters. It was a time not jut for rejoicing but also for reunions and a reconciliation. There was also a tinge of sadness about the day. The sadness arose from the fact that Richard’s father, Peter, my youngest brother, died prematurely three years ago; a lovely touch - but one which prompted a sudden wave of grief when I saw it - was Samantha’s idea to have a photo of Peter on the Registrar’s table for the marriage and on the top table for the meal. Peter’s second wife had come over from her home in France, and she and his first wife (Richard’s mother) finally met and talked to each other. And my brother had flown back from his new job in Istanbul. All in all, and even though the temperatures hovered around 10º, a very good reason to miss Easter here in Frigiliana.