The above isn’t a photo, it’s Charlie R‘s latest picture, “Zeb’s World”, in which he’s finally got round to doing a piece of dedicated Photo-Realism, warts and all – and we have many warts at Coldhome, especially just outside the Ashtons’ temporary main door, where many things get ejected and then sink down in the weeds to have a little rest for a year or two. I’m glad there’s now a fairly permanent record of these things – so lovingly recorded, too. I wonder whose wall it’ll finish up on, though: because such detail of Coldhome rubbish and weeds don’t come cheap.
We don’t know what’s distracted Zeb’s attention: normally he’s a considerable poser, and Charlie R encourages him quite a bit seeing he’s so pretty (Zeb, that is). At the front end at least. Zeb’s world would normally consist of several half-chewed tin cans and yoghurt cartons (cat food and evaporated milk, not tomatoes) and half a dozen egg-shells, well licked out – but his little horde isn’t in as scenic a spot, from Charlie R’s point of view – and it’s part of his photo-real ethic that pictures shouldn’t be set up at all.
Some of Zeb’s eggs would have been Maddy’s rejects, after the dismal failure of her attempts to organise a chicken-hatching this year. Strong (the hen) behaved herself fairly well, but it turned out the cock hadn’t. King Fluffy (the name comes from the days when he was hand-reared and far from kingly) has, when I think of it, has had a fairly long term of office and probably has no more to give. The younger cock, Angel, had an almost equally long shadow-existence as king-in-waiting – a lot like Prince Charles, I suppose – but unfortunately keeled over in April, unable to wait any longer. So between that and multiple mortality among the baby guinea-pigs, it’s been a fairly miserable spring for the livestock, as well as the carrots and peas and brassicas; and now the kids’ latest hopeful, Sox the youngest cat, has gone and thrown two kittens about a week early, and they didn’t survive either, though there’s still a lone one inside her apparently alive and kicking. I blame the Recession. Everyone’s waiting for something called Growth to start, and it just goes on raining. The last summer I remember like this was 1985, when one of the local farmers put an ad into the local paper requesting coolies to work in his paddy fields. Mary’s probably right that farmers are always grumpy (not, as I may have seemed to suggest in my last blog, just at hay-time); but she’ll admit that a bit of creative grumpiness is entertaining for everyone. The coolie-chap got into a spot of trouble over his advert, as various people tried to explain the concept of PC to him while he gazed back baffled as only a farmer can.
I’m writing this in the Kelvingrove Museum on Glasgow, where Annie and her mum have come to visit an exhibition about 500 years of Italian art, or Italian Beauty – Italian something anyway, though not ice cream. It seems quite a long trip to have made to honour two free tickets, but we discovered a new B & B that’s cheaper than our usual hostel, and it so happened that Anna had turned up that same day having just bidden a last long farewell to London to become a True Scot again, so that was something to celebrate, which we did. It’s always nice to visit the Kelvingrove though, and I always say hello to old friends, Roger the Elephant and the Baron of Buchlyvie and Saint Elvis with his spindly legs and enormous belly, and go upstairs to see how Gerald Moira’s Highland picnickers are getting on and whether the midges have found their bare feet yet. I also pay my respects to the Silver-Washed Fritillary butterfly on its stick, whose card states that it’s been extinct since nineteen-thirty-something: it’s a particular favourite, because the first time I saw it I’d just discovered one two months previously on a thistle-flower at Coldhome. No evidence, and I never saw it again, so I can’t get famous as its re-discoverer.
– Ha, coffee-time; Annie and Eileen have emerged from Italian beauty but need to go back again later because there’s too much of it to view in one hour; but Ben is tearing himself away from work to come and meet us for coffee, and possibly Dru too. So Kelvingrove is getting a sort of coffee-time air of Coldhamers Anonymous. And of course there’s no escape till Ellie’s visited the gift shop. Why is it called a gift shop? We’d be able to get the same stuff at half the price when Keith Show happens next week. I suppose we don’t grudge making a contribution to our Glasgow home-from-home, but I think they should engineer a more ingenious way of getting our money off us – specially hired muggers, for example – a little taste of Glasgow street life. Maddy would like that, the Kelvingrove doesn’t have quite the grip on her soul that it did five years ago, a bit of violence might bring back a bit of the old spice. Though we might all try and wait for the organ recital and be reminded of Ben’s old quip about the organist’s feet, which a CCTV screen reveals bouncing away on the pedals: “look – the Thunderbirds,” he told us.
Home again. Sox’s last kitten was removed by the vet after its paw appeared but no more of it. Not waving but drowning, I fear. The vet said they “had to” spay her as well as remove the dead kitten, but we’re a bit sceptical considering vets’ usual spay-happiness. Maddy is now hatching plots to abduct someone else’s orphan (naturally – she reads too many animal stories) kittens which Sox will naturally accept and love and bring up as her own.
I was going to try and get poems nine and ten of “Second Ten” put in, but Annie’s been reorganising the Bedroom Block and the second page of one of them has mysteriously disappeared (no, I’m not blaming her – it’s a Complete mystery). So I’ve added nothing to the literary store of this site this time. Now that Anna’s back north she’ll soon be on my tail with her big stick, and things will change. I have finished my little paean in praise of slugs though, which can be found in the “about” section/page.
Exibitions are not confined to Kelvingrove: there’s also one in Deeside – Aboyne to be exact. “Zeb’s World” has been there for the last few weeks. Below is one of Zeb’s companions at that location – Tardis, we call it (can’t think why) an older favourite, but which we won’t see again because it disappeared. Who can fathom the mysteries of time and space? And who cares anyway, if the punter paid up properly?