Her husband made the point that all children draw and paint, it’s later that they become discouraged or self conscious and start to think that they are no good at it, but that actually anyone can draw. He’s right of course, you just put your lips together and blow … no, you know what I mean.
I don’t know how things are nowadays, but in my schooldays the only teachers who were actively discouraging, whether they meant to be or not, were art and games teachers. That is, people who had a problem such as dyslexia could be called stupid or accused of not trying (that didn’t happen in my school actually, but it’s been reported by many) … I suppose what I mean is that those were the teachers in whom favouritism was expected. Games lessons were, on the whole, pretty well miserable for me. At least I wasn’t fat, but I was small, not fast (one might have thought I would have been, but I was always rubbish at running quickly and I wonder now if my malformed hip sockets are the reason for that, not that it matters), a bit short sighted and had a rubbish aim. So, when the girls who were best at netball or whatever ghastly team sport – oh, that was the other thing, I had no team spirit and I wasn’t assertive – were inevitably picked as team captain, I was always among the last three chosen to be on any particular team. And I’m not a bad shot now, how was it I was never, ever given five minutes coaching at throwing a ball into a net? Nor was I told to go off and practise until I got better? Why was someone who was keen but not that good given the opportunity to be team captain for once?
And Art. I disliked the Art teacher. She was hearty, not discouraging but she scared and intimidated me, without in the least trying to of course. I’ve nothing against her in truth, not as a person but she dismissed me early on as useless because I couldn’t paint in the style she wanted, which was big and splashy. I couldn’t do it – not only was I desperately shy and inhibited and a whole big sheet of paper was far too big for me, I couldn’t get any sense of proportion, of the size of things. What I’d have liked was to have been taught drawing. Painting ruined it, I only liked to draw, on a small sheet of paper. I wish that had been allowed – actually, I really do. I’ve just realised that, or possibly remembered it. On the rare occasions I do draw or paint anything – actually try to, that is, it’s usually a single flower or something like that. There have been a few hands-on WI meetings when I’ve done that and, actually, I’ve not been entirely unhappy with the result. I’m very limited in my ambition, but even that was discouraged when it might not have been. I can’t remember the teacher’s name, but bad cess to her for making me hate Art lessons.
Ghislaine said that she paints a small picture, something from the news, every day – she started a few years ago as a year-long project and those paintings formed an exhibition, but she’s kept it up – and I’m sort of tempted to draw something every day, but I doubt I will. It’d be for myself only if I did, but I’ll forget all about it, I expect.
Anyway, back to the good news. I’m due to finish as Nadfas Area secretary after the next meeting in March, but I had no idea of whom to ask to take over from me. And someone else on the committee has come up with a very nice woman called Celia who is quite keen. Isn’t that brilliant? I’ve not been the greatest success in this position, to be honest – I underestimated the amount of work in the first place, or rather how I’d deal with it. But I’ve done quite a bit of work on streamlining the job and simplifying it, and getting people to work with me helpfully (they’re all lovely, but some of them were a bit bossy and rather forgot that I’m a volunteer as much as they are) and I think I’ll be passing on something that works quite well. That’s been my aim this year in fact, not to hand on a tricky job.
And now, darlings, it’s time to go and cook dinner. I’m going to stuff some chicken breasts and serve them with ratatouille, French beans and the rest of the rice (cooked with lemon juice and turmeric and tossed with toasted mustard seeds) left over from last night.