Sunday, 8 May 2011


‘Mummy! I’ve done loads of development work but no refining!!’ It was Josie. It was the Art. I clapped my hand to my mouth and did my I’M SHOCKED! look, though I had no idea whether this was brilliant or terrible news. ‘Cup of tea?’ usually covers it. ‘I can’t eat, I can’t drink’ she panted, ‘I have too much work to do. I am in crisis.’

She is doing a PhD in Art – cunningly described as a GCSE - entailing about six hours of work daily, responding to this, developing that, describing the journey ya? from eye-balls to ice-cubes, dunes to decomposing apples, culminating in – tada! – the Final Piece, all for one measly GCSE. I am not thinking about what is expected in the A Level - the Podium in Trafalgar Square?

First it was the working space; her tiny bedroom was rearranged and a space for a large table magically tessellated (by me), only downside being you now have to take a running leap over the table to reach the wardrobe. This was cutting off my nose to spite my face since I’m the one who picks the clothes off the floor and puts them back in the wardrobe, which I think I’ve probably winged about before. The arrangement is doing wonders for my high-jump.

Next, my purse and I were invited to Cass Art in Islington for materials – parking impossible of course, so it was queuing in Sainsbury’s on a Saturday afternoon (clever) in order to spend ten quid for ‘free’ parking, thus missing home delivery of the Tesco shopping I did want...but at least the materials for the Final Piece only came to £60, including a canvas for Bonnie (‘I’ve always wanted a canvas - how come Josie gets all the cool stuff?’) on which she has painted one eye, then left as a catch-all on the kitchen table with the general debris.

Josie’s Final Piece was an extravaganza of silhouettes, windows, styles from different decades…the theme was similarities and differences (you knew that) and the whole thing – why not? – was to be lit up from behind. I knew she’d request my technical assistance with the illuminations, it being a bit hot and tiresome lugging florescent tubes home from Homebase, but I was pleased to help, though I would have been more so if it had not been 8pm the night before show time. But when I staggered in with the pile of wood, florescent lights and screws (£50) I did have a sense of satisfaction; ‘Good old Mum saves the day again!’

...which lasted for two minutes, for when we opened the lights we realised that florescent lights need to be screwed to a ceiling and connected to an electric circuit in order to produce light – sticking them onto the frame and crossing your fingers like a dummy wasn’t going to do it. ‘You want to use push-on LED lights’ said Alan, from behind the paper. ‘They’ll be much better for the job and you can get them anywhere!’ ‘Thank you so much for your timely contribution’ I said, thwacking him over the head with a four foot florescent. I did some shouting at Josie too about everything always being at the last b----y minute which may have ruined all my good work with the cups of tea, but made me feel a lot better about rearranging the next day, to fly around north London sourcing push-on lights (‘get them anywhere’ my foot) as she sat her exam, and delivering them to her at school asap, Sa!

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