Nothing Interrupts My Cigarette


One day I drove to Liverpool as it was “Ant Week” at a museum in the centre of the city. After a couple of hours of looking around (with the gasping portly security dude advising me sternly not to photograph the ants using a flash) I went outside to find a bench and a sandwich.


There was an old woman next me drawing heavily on a cigarette. She was about seventy and I guessed by the concentric wrinkles around her mouth she was a seasoned smoker. I observed her closely. She wasn’t idly enveloped in a canopy of smoke but taking pleasure in the nicotine chasing around her brain. She wasn't watching people passing by or looking into space or rummaging in her handbag. Smoking wasn’t secondary; it was the only thing occupying her. Like a dragon, smoke puffed down her nose.


She stamped out the fag and after about a minute lit another one, cheeks hollow like belly buttons as she dragged in the nicotine. I presume it was her daughter and grand-daughter who appeared from the museum door to join her. They had a quick chat but suddenly granny barked, “You go in -nothing interrupts my cigarette!”


The mother lost her patience with the old woman and pushed her daughter back into the front door of the building.

   “We’ll see you in there - if you can find the time for your grand-daughter!” she barked to the dragon.


This has always stuck in my mind so here is p painting using dragon’s words. I should have selected a bigger canvas as the houses and dangling man were fiddly to paint. You’d think the woman would have gone to help him wouldn’t you?