In comparison to some of our usual work places, this tent is rather splendid – light and airy but not too draughty – and there’s plenty of space for everything. It takes a couple of days to get the systems streamlined – kettles, heaters, lights and general supplies, but once you’re settled in and everything’s to hand, if the weather’s half-way decent, there’s nothing to complain about.
What’s more, the kind folk at Prysmian, Drammen, had thoughtfully provided a Portaloo for the benefit of us Magnetisers and the chaps controlling the cable tensioner. One morning, with all my safety equipment on, I got in a muddle adjusting my dress and my glasses fell into the oggin – it was my only pair. Need I tell you …… no, so I won’t.
In an idle moment, I was standing on the dock side talking to one of the ship’s officers from the Flintstone, when his phone rang. He switched to his native language (he was from Cameroon) and launched into a very animated conversation with someone who was equally excited about whatever it was they were talking about. I later learnt that this chap’s mother had gone on holiday and left a man looking after the family cow. Well, the cowman had gone walkabout and so had his charge so my companion was having to find another cow before his mother came back to the village. He was, in this enterprise, relying on his I gather, rather less than reliable brother, though he was at least on the spot – so to speak. And we think we’ve got problems!
Amongst the visitors to the tent I’m working in, was this mouse. He was a persistent little chap, scuttling round my feet and trying to run up the table leg and he didn’t clear off until the end of the day – I haven’t seen him since. He reminded me of the time, many years ago now, when, at the end of harvest, I was sweeping out the buck of a lorry that we used to cart the grain from the fields to the drier. My landlord (the farmer) was with me and he spotted a tiny field mouse in the corner of the buck. He went over to investigate and the mouse shot straight up his trouser leg. That woke them both up!
In Oslo’s National Gallery, I spotted this painting which reminded me of one I’d done some years ago. Looking at the composition of this work, ‘Au Miroir’, by Ludvig Karsten, it was uncanny to see that both he and I had taken almost the same viewpoint and included details like the reflection of a painting on the opposite wall.
Of course, it takes a professional to get it right and there’s something in my effort which I got wrong. Answers on a post card to the usual address.