I Should Have Put A Cork In It


Nowadays I'm on the scrapheap and of little use to anyone but when I worked I remember driving down to Staffordshire to carry out a survey for the company I worked for. It was one of those big earth-moving companies - JCB Excavators or Caterpillar. I parked at the capacious posh reception expecting to be greeted and taken inside the building which shared proportions with a mega hangar.


I was greeted by a woman in her forties with a genuine smile, easy way. She was squeezed into a respectable two-piece suite in line with her lofty position in the company's hierarchy. She seemed warm, open and liberal though she said we weren't going into a guts of factory. We were going to visit a new factory and she led me to her shiny BMW in which we set off. She was rather fidgety and said she was bursting for the toilet. As we zoomed across rolling countryside rather too quickly (I was getting a little queasy) she was "about to burst" and needed the toilet. By now I'd deduced she was informal, chatty and without a "front" that guards most people's true self. I said I'd known my mum drop down behind a bush a few times to which she replied she might have to. She put the car windows down as they seemed to be steaming up but the air only messed up my fourteen hairs and did nothing to quell her flushed face.


We arrived at a new development - not a factory one but a housing one - about twenty contemporary glossy houses and flats. "I'll have to nip in home a moment - do you mind?" Wow, I didn't mind at all - I was hoping she was going to force me into her home, get down to my gigantic Y-front and broaden my mind. She did not. She left the car engine running while she ran up some white steps into an apartment block. I watched her drop a handbag outside the front door so desperate was she to get through it. My instincts and the cars steamed up window told me this was womanly stuff of which I knew little. Eventually she appeared, retrieved the handbag and smiled with relief as she got back in the car.

"Oh God....my fault love," she said, "I've had three Expressos and one slice an a slice of toast all morning," she explained. "Sorry about that. I should have put a cork in it!"


I liked this woman's carefree air and she's still around (I found her on Linkedin.) Moreover she's spawned this oil painting. I did it on an A4 canvas from the Poundland (they went up to 1.50 overnight.) The grain of the canvas is too smooth for my kind of brushstrokes but it was suffice for a quick unsophisticated painting of the woman about to demolish a door in order to explode over a toilet bowl. As usual I blocked in the basic shapes and thought the proportions good enough to start painting it in oils. I've tried to capture that power suit the lady wore (oxblood in real life but pinkish here) and the handbag in mid-air as it was dropped.


Perhaps the woman in this painting would like to buy it - if only to throw on a fire to exorcise the memory from her mind (she was laidback enough to easily forget it.) Furnished with a well-paid job she could easily afford 16,886. I could mail it off to her with some spare corks from the wine bottles in our back room.