This week I have a lovely oil painting to do, the canvas has arrived after more than a weeks wait from ordering it, I have the right colours, brushes, and the sexy but mysterious image has been agreed, discussed, and decided with the client. I am poised, ready to paint!
But, I have been caught up in a domestic problem that has interfered with my best laid plans!
On Sunday evening, after getting back from a lovely long weekend away with my fella seeing good friends, I felt there was a bit of a chill in the house but put it down to the time of the year when it can be sunny but cold as well overnight and adjusted the thermostat accordingly for the central heating and we went to bed thinking nothing more about it. But on Monday morning realised that there was something more involved that was at fault. No central heating, and no hot water. The boiler was working, so I presumed it was the thermostat and rang my usual friendly plumber. No answer from him, so I rang his business partner, also a plumber, who told me my usual guy was away, but he himself could come later on that day since he was passing my door. He duly arrived a few hours later, peered at the boiler, and peered in the airing cupboard and announced that it was the little silver box that was the problem. Ok, whatever it is, can you fix it? I asked. “No, its an electricians job”. Now, I know that the minute there is a problem in a house, and I have a workman who has turned up when asked, and looked at it, that a sense of desperation takes over…. you don’t want the said man to go, without doing the job. This one was refusing to even start on it, since it was an electrician’s job, not a plumbers. The fact that the water wasn’t heating up and coming out of the taps in a hot, scalding sort of way, or the radiators weren’t reassuringly warm, seemed to me a plumbing concern, not an electrical one. It seems I was wrong, and he was right though, and I wrote down the name of the thing I needed (which I have never heard of before) and rang the usual electrician I have used in the last twenty years or so for all my household work. He greeted me cheerfully when I rang him, and listened as I explained the problem, and said that the earliest he could get to me was in two and a half weeks! Er, no, that’s no good, I need it doing NOW. I am cold, the house is cold, the water is cold, and it needs sorting out.
Ok, another electrician then. And that’s another problem finding one of those!
Eventually, one was found, but of course I had no idea if he was any good since I found him via an advert and not a recommendation which is the best way to get a workman I know. This one was helpful, and came the following day to look at the faulty silver box (“Its buggered” was his considered opinion) and he showed me how to get the immersion to heat the water (which was more than the plumber had pointed out) so at least I could have a hot shower again (cold showers are very under-rated in this house). And he went off to speak to a few plumber mates to see if he could get me a good trade price on the silver box rather than paying too much buying it at the extortionate domestic DIY store prices. He rang me back within the hour to tell me that I would be better getting it myself online, since it was HALF the price than the DIY stores. I liked him for that, since he could have ordered it himself and added on a good percentage for himself and I would have been none the wiser. Part ordered via ebay, coming from Kent, and within 24 hours I was told, as indeed it did. Wow, amazing service! It is now sitting, waiting, to be fitted when the electrician can get here to do it. The house is still cold, I am still cold, hot water bottles heat me up when I am asleep in bed, I am wrapped up in a blanket watching telly at night, and thank goodness the days have so far been warm and sunny which heats the house up during the day.
But, none of this is good for oil paintings drying. I have done the first layer in acrylics to get the depth of colour on the canvas. And I have done one thin coat of oils over it, to start the painting. But I need to get the next coat on, and until the first part has dried, it’s holding me up a bit. Oils don’t like cold weather any more than I do! I know its April, but it doesn’t feel like it, it feels like the depths of winter!