Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Barbados Diary: Day 1: 14th August 2006

You can see pictures of my mosaics on my website: www.martincheekmosaics.com
The Barbados work is shown on page:
www.martincheekmosaics.com/html/barbados_floor.html
Barbados Diary: Day 1: 14th August 2006
I’m on my way to Barbados to supervise the mosaic tiling of the bathroom walls and fountains in the Wilson house. To say that I designed these is an overstatement, the forms already existed and I helped Martine to choose suitable motifs to go on them. The fountains are clad in soft pinks – darker at the bottom, getting progressively lighter towards the top. This gives them weight and will look very elegant, especially with the water in front of them. The walls have a leafy motif going down them – not throughout – just occasionally to give the space verticality and break up the large white areas.
In the light of recent events – increased security due to suicide bombers being apprehended, I can’t say that I was looking forward to my trip. The airport wasn’t half as bad as I was led to believe. After much persistence it turned out that I HAD managed to check in on line – even though the Virgin rep that I spoke to told me that it wouldn’t be possible. I guess because most other travellers believed this to be the case – I was able to have a swift check in at. The first stage of security was also quick – because nobody had any hand luggage! The couple behind me commented that they should always do things this way but personally I would definitely prefer to have my laptop, camera and binoculars – to name but three, in my hand luggage.
Once through the first stage, one was allowed to buy ‘stuff’ so long as a receipt was kept. I bought a thriller by James Lee Burke featuring my favourite detective Dave Robisheux. Set in New Orleans these are brilliantly written and capture the heat that I was about to experience.
I was feeling pretty chuffed with myself for having managed to get a seat next to the emergency exit – these seats have extra leg room and some airlines – BA for example – charge extra for them. However as soon as I saw my seat my heart and jaw dropped – sitting in the adjacent seat was a brick wall of a man – with his arms spread out reading his newspaper. I negotiated myself into my seat and it quickly became apparent that he wasn’t going to give a centimetre. I was busily eyeing up the seats – trying to see how full it was – whether I would be able to move, when a stewardess saw me ding an impersonation of a stretched banana – she offered to move me. I got all three seats on the opposite side of the plane so to say that I was relieved was an understatement. Such things seem petty after the event – but to share eight h-and three quarter hours sitting next to Arnold Swartzenigger reading a broadsheet is not my idea of fun.
So how to describe the heat that hits you when you get off the aeroplane? I was expecting it – having experienced it a few times before – but it is still a shock after the unpredictable August that we have been experiencing in England. It really does feel like a blast and I immediately felt overdressed. When packing it’s always hard to imagine that you won’t need those long sleeved shirts and trousers! Johnny the driver was there to meet me looking as fresh and healthy as I’d remembered him. I explained my desire to buy a push bike and he just burst out laughing – saying that it would get stolen immediately – even with a lock. Besides which, Barbados is experiencing a heat wave – and he thinks that I will collapse if I try to cycle in the heat. I haven’t given up on the idea though and once I’ve settled in, I’ll investigate it further.
Johnny says that the Blairs are still here – well maybe not Tony – but the rest of ‘em – so if you have any messages for them, please let me know and if I bump into them I’ll pass them on!
Once I’d got the keys and figured out the procedure with the security code, I wandered down to the site where the house is being built. It really looks wonderful! The basic structure is now finished and the remaining work is superficial as opposed to structural – the surfaces which will be plastered and tiles and yes – mosaiced. The plaster work is very neatly done – I think that this would look incongruous in England but in a hot country it really looks great. Another John is the site manager. I found him and went up to him saying “Remember me?” This is a bit of a joke as I have caused him so much grief that he is hardly likely to ever forget me. However he seemed pleased to see me and showed me around. I dished out the praises lavishly – all of which I thought were deserved. “Remember you tell Mr Wilson!” He said. I will. To see the house now makes me realise that I wouldn’t make a very good architect. Even though I had studied the plans, I had no idea how beautiful and magnificent the house would finally look. Up until this point it’s always looked like a building site to me – a mess. But now even I can imagine the final result. It’s really looking like it will be the most impressive house in Sugar Hill. We agreed that I would return at eight thirty this morning to begin work.
I went to the club house last night for dinner, but when I sat down alone amongst all the couples and families with friends, I decided that I couldn’t face it after all – preferring the solitude of the little studio flat where I sleep. I’ve bought three books on cd – so I fell asleep listening to – yes you guessed it – James Lee Burke.

You can see pictures of my mosaics on my website: www.martin cheekmosaics.com
The Barbados work is shown on page:
www.martincheekmosaics.com/html/barbados_floor.html

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