A few Sundays ago I drove up to Lyme Hall, a stately home in Cheshire. I parked on the A6 outside and walked up the long curving drive to the imposing hall. I was going to stroll round the perimeter and needed an audio book to accompany me. I listened to Mercury And Me by Jim Hutton who was Freddie Mercury's partner for the last seven years of his life. I always thought they had a harmonious relationship and but listening to the audio book over 3 hours I learnt it was pretty tempestuous (mainly due to Freddie's rock star impatience, obstinacy and self-indulgence.) Over the hours I was hoping to spot the herd of deer but only saw some Aberdeen Angus cows which didn't look up even though I walked within feet of them (they were all facing the same way.)
Jim was a quiet, contented, mild-mannered hairdresser working at the Savoy hotel when he met Freddie. His need for independence infuriated Freddie who wanted him by his side anywhere in the world at anytime. He, gave in, left the hotel and ended up being the gardener at Freddie's home Garden Lodge. Besides his cats Freddie adored azaleas and Jim grew hoards of them in the confines of the garden. For some reason this stuck in my mind and days later when I took a piece of glass out of a frame I had an urge to paint on it - some azaleas, I thought. A few mornings before I'd been shaving with the window open when the third bee I've seen this year came inside. I coaxed it out and later I wondered if bees pollinate azaleas. With that well-known restless-hands feelings I thought I needed get painting. Here is the result....er...bees and azaleas.
It was done in oils however working on glass wasn't nice. I had to coat the glass in primer first so the paint had something to purchase onto. I got going, listening to a bit of Bee Gees Live In Las Vegas and a documentary about the war and it was soon done. †I didnít know azaleas can grow up to 2.5 meters, their leaves are poisonous, they generally have 5 petals and are difficult to grow as they need acidic soil.
I can see this cheery painting hanging in your garden shed (behind that broken lawnmower which covers a secret stash of Barry Manilow and One Direction CDs.) It's your for £6222 which may seem expensive. I need the money as I had to pay a surgeon to fix my splattered nose. I texted a female friend "Want a Pizza Hut?" but predictive text changed this to "Want a pizza, slut?" and her husband smashed my face in.
If you would like see 1 Garden Lodge where masses of azaleas were grew please click here: http://johnhalley.uk/Death%20-%20Freddie%20Mercury.htm
Jim Hutton was a heavy smoker and died aged 60 at home in Ireland. Freddie left him £500,000.