If snails be the food of dogs, play on

Well the second painting has been cancelled. When we said 2 weeks ago we wanted it the reaction was ‘we’ll get it couriered to the gallery immediately so you can view it at home’. It was in the Bath gallery. Or was it Lichfield? Then it was still sitting with the framer. Eventually my frustration had the better of me and I said now or never. Never it seems is the answer. There was also a contretemps over the hanging. We wanted to hang it on the landing – tricky I admit. They had however promised an end-to-end service but now that is not available on Health and Safety grounds. I mean to say…….. Is there nothing that isn’t covered by the nanny state? Sorry guv, more than my jobs worth to hang a painting. Here’s how it goes:

We can’t fix anything to the wall. The boss told me.

Why not?

It might fall down and cause injury.

Not if you fix it properly.

It might hit an electric wire.

There are no wires in this wall.

It might puncture a water pipe.

There is no plumbing behind the plaster.

Well I can’t do it. Company policy. Health and Safety. I can give you a hook if that helps.

Maybe we will pick something up in Venice instead. This time next week we shall be airborne and looking forward to our water taxi ride up the Grand Canal.

Afore we go I am pottering in the garden, cutting this, pulling up that, checking my compost etc. Today was a red letter day for pottering. I have a very large mound of hazel chippings from the coppice. It looks curiously and ominously like a medieval burial mound. Right length, width and height. I’m reasonably sure it isn’t but you never know. Be that as it may and notwithstanding I decided to turn it over and give it a bit of air. All was going well until I realized I was about to skewer a rather shocked looking Slow-worm. I have never seen one in this garden before. They are jolly good slug eaters so of course I am delighted to welcome them to the Lodge wildlife park. We both paused. Damocles’ fork hung by a thread and the Slow-worm peered upwards, panic-stricken no doubt, wondering what its chances were. Then belying its name, its head went down and it did a passable impression of little Tommy Daley, diving prestissimo and without so much as a ripple into the depths of the wood chippings. Damocles raised his fork and gently brushed the mulch into a substantial pyramid. The Slow-worm, thereafter named Tutankhamun, has not been seen since and a there is now a curse on the pile of mulch. So I guess it is a burial mound of sorts.

Further preparation for the trip to Venice has been hampered by Lulu’s illness. Multiple trips to the vet and a lot of cleaning up have distracted us as we try to lift her spirits and return her to good health. She was caught chewing a rather large garden snail a few days back. I suspect the outcome was bad for both participants. Now there is a good case for Health and Safety to deal with. Better shells for snails. That’s what we need. In fact, checking my research sources, I think Corbyn J. is campaigning on exactly that platform. I’ll vote for that.


Life in Brexitstan

“We are a little constrained at present. You could meander your way through the system of course. It may take some time. Or you could, (an embarrassed cough) go (whispers) private.”

So there we have it. An NHS GP’s advice is to forget it and go elsewhere. If, that is, I would like my knee fixed before the universe ends. Ah the joys of being back in Brexitstan. This morning it came to me in a flash. I know the answer to the question vexing so many of us: what does “Brexit means Brexit” mean?

Well Brexit is essentially the same as Remain but with a slap of lippy on it. Years of poorly synchronized treacle wading will see us emerge with a victory trumpeted, a triumph to rival Agincourt, Waterloo, Trafalgar and El Alamein all rolled into one. Except that nothing will change.

On that bright and uplifting note I need to update you on the artwork saga. The solution was to buy two paintings. We dribbled carelessly over budget but ended up with a rather large pair of canvases, one 60”x36” and the other a tad smaller. If you glance at that quickly it fine. If you translate it into feet it is 5’x3’ and it is slightly more challenging. We have wall spaces that will take them but not where the light is optimal. We shall be housing works by Henderson Cisz and Maya Eventov. HC is Brazilian and ME is a Russian living in Canada. We seem to be building an emerging markets collection. And if the worst comes to the worst I can resell one to pay for my knee operation if the NHS does not come up trumps.

Today I received a call from Vodafone. A jolly nice girl, who is genuinely trying to help. She has taken it as a personal challenge to solve the mystery of the missing direct debits. Since March Vodafone has debited my account with varying but always alarmingly high amounts. I sent them my bank statement to prove it. Sadly Vodafone seems not to be receiving these payments, as my Vodafone statement shows nothing since March. No calls. No data used. No payments made. And they don’t seem to know why. They agree it is wrong and a ‘system error’. But after nearly six months they have not cracked the mystery. I have suggested closing everything down and going elsewhere. But “No!” they cry, “Don’t do that. We will fix it”. The tearful caller today pleaded for more time. She labours on my account daily and does not want to be beaten. I wrote to Vodafone’s UK CEO and he didn’t reply. So as you were all so full of good suggestions for solving the artwork challenge I am sure you will be brimming with ideas for sorting out Vodafone. I have a theory that the same people running the NHS are running Vodafone and some may even be negotiating Brexit behind the scenes. Progress is similarly glacial on each front. One solution might be for Vodafone to fix my knee, for the Brexit team to sort out my billing problems and for the NHS to surgically remove us from the gralloch of the EU. I think it may work.