A bit of yellow always warms the heart at this time of year.

I remember my Dad would take great pride in the small but perfectly formed patches of daffodils he would carefully foster around the garden. It’s funny how certain images of my childhood house are so etched on my mind. The outside toilet was a delight in winter. The small cupboard under the stairs that scared the pants out of me. The huge coal bunker at the back. Dads spotless greenhouse. The pantry in the kitchen which was the closest we got to a fridge. And the painting over the fireplace.

It was the only painting we had in the house. Lord knows where it came from. My parents would not have spent any money on art. Money was tight for all the families in our working class northern town. A town overlooked on one side by a giant chemical plant and on the other by a giant steel works. I guess like many things Dad would have acquired it at the pub. He would often return with random items. Once including my first pet, Speedy the Tortoise. So I guess he arrived back one night with a painting. It was clearly a very bad copy. Probably done via one of those paint by numbers sets.

Photo from Wikipedia.

So we had the Laughing Cavalier above our coal fire. Even then I realised it wasn’t the original and that it was probably a pretty rubbish copy. But it was our one piece of art, which made it special. Every night as we sat round the open fire and there was our very own art masterpiece. His eyes always following you around the room. That cheeky smile. I grew really fond of him. Even our budgie liked him. One of his favourite perches was on the frame just above his head. I would often dream about this guys back story. Many a dream was played out about his heroic deeds. In those days it was much harder to puncture your imagination. The internet was the stuff of Star Trek science fiction. The towns small library was great for things like fiction, cricket and car maintenance. It even had a goldfish pond in the kiddies section. Yet art history was sadly absent. So the Cavaliers myth continued all through my childhood.

Time marched on and I flew the home nest. My Dad died and Mum moved. The Cavalier was gone. I never found out what happened to him. I never got round to asking my mum. Another one of those unasked questions. Why do we leave it so long – too long.

I hope the cycle of life continued for my cheeky childhood friend. I really hope Dad took him back to the pub and he was handed over to another family for the price of a pint of John Smiths. And today he is sat above another fireplace. Creating dreams for more and more kids.

54 thoughts on “Masterpiece

  1. Such wonderful memories. In many ways i had a similar background but in rural Newfoundland where out houses were common at that point in time.

    I love the story of the art work. I hope your friend, the Cavalier, found a good home.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think having a strong imagination is a good thing! I’m happy to see that despite, or maybe because of, Ben’s processing issues, his imagination is strong. I’m the one who has to create what his mind sees. Poor Ben…my skills aren’t a match.
    Thanks for sharing your imagination and your memories! 🌻💌

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My God, that is epic. My dad never did that largely cos where I grew up that turkey would have been a dead turkey inside of ten seconds, and getting flogged off for body parts within twenty. The tortoise will have fell off the back of a lorry.

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      1. jingle that went , ‘ It’s” —-‘ price didn’t say when they said they were limiting loo roll to two packs per customer was that these are two dozen packs, they want what works out at a quid a roll for. Sure it’s down to altruism NOT. There was one 6 pack sitting in B and M’s,left cos some beggar..I am being polite here wi the vowels…, had nicked two from it. To the shop’s credit although I offered to pay the 1.59, they said no, a quid for the four. Aldi’s was swiped of fancy instant latte coffee packs, dried pasta, every type of processed frozen packs…which we never eat anyway…going, kitchen rolls (saying nowt as to posible reasons for this) and flour but they had aspirins and loo roll. According to one of our son in laws who seeing my post on facebook about the insanity in the supermarkets , only went to the wee local shop, round from their house …still got supplies., well they did till he bought 8 double rolls for us …. So keeping a low profile now . I never asked him . In fact I nearly dropped when he said. According to him and he dutifully reports every local sniffle and every newly recorded case… one of our local Ferry GP’s surgeries has shut its doors cos the doctors have the virus and have been taking it round care homes. if it was my GP’s. I couldnae tell you which one of the two it was since I have only been there have only been there once in 8 years. Mind you that was with pneumonia . But that is roughly where we are. How are you getting by int he wilds of Yorkshire.

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      2. It’s sort of a bizarre world. It seems to be people going about normally. All the stuff is open. The big shops are slowly emptying of certain stuff like pasta and paracetamol. They only allow you to buy two if certain items. On my diet I buy an almond milk chocolate drink. I’m about the only person who buys it at our supermarket. I e occasionally left a bit of paper on top of the and it’s still there next week. It’s 3 for £3 or £2 each. Now I can only buy 2 so it’s suddenly got really expensive. Seriously thinking about pulling son from school. x

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  3. Great blogging material well described. My Dad was a furniture remover. Almost everything we had – even the few pictures – was brought back from jobs. The picture that engaged me most was in my godmother’s sitting room – a lively painting of advancing waves. I think of this every time we go down to photograph the waves.

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  4. My Turkish, Muslim, grandad lived in the slums of Ankara and one of the only paintings he had was a print of Frederick Burton’s Meeting On the Turret Stairs. Which is such an odd painting in that setting. I used to stare at it for hours as a child and invented all sorts of back stories for the couples. The original actually hangs in the National Gallery of Ireland which I think is a nice twist of fate. Wish he’d made it here to see it.

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  5. “Why do we leave it so long – too long” … stuck with me today. Never seem to have the time to listen to parents recall their memories. One day there won’t be any time left if I’m not careful!

    Liked by 1 person

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