You know what makes me grumpy? All the Grumpy Old Men who appeared on the BBC TV series were younger than me, that's what makes me grumpy. Mutter, mutter....

The Grumpy Old Artist

The Grumpy Old Artist
Would YOU pose for this man???

Exhibition Poster

Exhibition Poster
Catterline Event, 2011

Oil Painting by Jim Tait

Oil Painting by Jim Tait
Helford River, Cornwall

Oil Painting by Jim Tait

Oil Painting by Jim Tait
Full-riggers "Georg Stage" and "Danmark"

Other Recent Works

Other Recent Works
Fordyce Castle and Village

Hay's Dock, Lerwick

Shetland-model Boats at Burravoe, Yell

Tall Ships Seascape

The Tour Boat "Dunter III", with Gannets, off Noss

The "Karen Ann II" entering Fraserburgh harbour

Summer Evening, Boyndie Bay

1930s Lerwick Harbour

Johnshaven Harbour

"Seabourn Legend"

Greeting Cards!

Greeting Cards!
Now Available in Packs of Five or in Assorted Sets of Four

Sunday, 14 June 2009


I'm stressed out. There are five days to go until my sister Mary and I set out, on the blue canoe, to the mainland, bearing my Duff House exhibition in her Volvo estate. As yet, not one of the eighteen paintings has been framed. When I phoned the fellow who does this task last Monday, he said, "Dinna worry, Jim! I can frame a painting in five minutes. I'm away on the boat tonight - I'll be back next Monday. Cheerio!" I was left staring at the handset, with my mouth opening and shutting but emitting no sound. After a bit, I got up and walked up and down for a bit, trying to formulate a cohesive thought, but nothing would come. I sat down again, and stared miserably into space, for how long I know not.

Mary and I had hatched a cunning plan. The boat normally sails at 5.30pm on a Friday. We had devised a schedule which would allow Mary to put in a full Friday shift at her office, and I could go out to visit my mother, as I usually do on that day. So we had planned to load the two boxes of paintings, together with the larger personal luggage items, into the car on the night before. Now, in order for this plan to work, my framer has from tomorrow until closing time on Thursday to get all the pictures ready for hanging. Now, I know I'm a worrier. When I have nothing to worry about, I worry about that. I see a nigger in every woodpile, to coin a phrase. But, by gum, you're looking at a worried man now. With possibly the most important event in my life pending, this is a worry.

But, hey, summer is here! The weather has been, if not beautiful, certainly acceptable all week, with plenty of sunshine interspersed with showers to keep the plant-growers happy. Lerwick harbour is busy with visiting yachts, and the odd cruise ship has added to the usual traffic. It will be even busier in the coming fortnight, with the Flavour of Shetland event taking place on the pier , the Bergen-Shetland race, combined with the North Sea 1000-mile challenge, making its 3-day stopover, and the revived mid-summer carnival, Johnsmas Foy and other events leaving their usual legacy of sore heads around the place. My native islands certainly know how to throw a party, and it's a pity that I'm going to be away for a large part of it.

This week, I ran my stall at the Toll Clock Shopping Centre on Tuesday (largely a waste of time), baked a cinnamon raisin loaf on Monday evening, and continued to work on the canvas of Johnshaven harbour. News of a possible commission arrived, along with tidings of a probable sale from my mini-exhibition at the Lounge here in Lerwick. This last piece of news gave me the ideal excuse for a couple of pints of lager at my favouite watering hole on Wednesday. There I was given a calling card from the Swiss couple who are more than interested in my picture of Foula. I have to contact them this week, when they are back home from their Scottish tour, and I will be delighted to do so.

I had my usual trip out to see my mother at Whiteness on Friday. She was well, and had an amusing tale to relate from the previous day. She is connected to the emergency services through the HomeLink, a high-tech system triggered from a button which she keeps attached to her zimmer frame. The trouble is that the button is very attractive to curious small children. On one occasion, one of her great-grandchildren set the thing off three times in one visit. Well, to cut a long story short, it happened again on Thursday. My grand-nephew Magnus found the button too much of a temptation and pressed it. The first inkling they had that there was a problem was the booming disembodied tones of the attendant at the HomeLink command centre (or whatever they call it!), asking "Are you all right, Meg?". This rings loudly all around the house, and it sent my miscreant grand-nephew into a fit of hysterical bawling, which meant that my hard-of-hearing mother couldn't hear what The Voice From The Deep Lagoon was trying to tell her. The noise must have been horrendous and, had I been there, my face would have been hurting so badly that I would probably have had to take refuge in the loo or the greenhouse. The situation was retrieved by the arrival of this week's heroine, the home-help Sandra, who actually kept instructions on what to do in this case in her car. Order and calm were duly restored, and peace returned to Brugarth, the most beautiful place on earth.

Well, this may well be the last posting to this blog in advance of my trip to the mainland with the (hopefully framed) exhibition. Before me stretches a week of utter pandemonium, as I make sure that everything is in order for the excursion. It will be nice to be on the Northlink ferry on Friday evening, basking in the knowledge that, if anything vital has been omitted from our itinerary, there's absolutely nothing we can do about it! If any of you are in the neighbourhood of Banff between the 25th June and 9th August, please drop into Duff House tea-room, and cast a critical eye on my paintings over your coffee and home-bakes. I'll be in touch again on my return to Shetland.

1 comment:

Pat said...

Dear Jim Tait Lerwick,
Thanks for the interesting article. Being able to link to it made our article more useful and interesting for our readers, too.
These comment boxes don't always like web addresses, so I will tell you it's The Blog of Kevin Dolgin, September 10.

Best of all possible regards,
Pat Hartman
News Editor, The Blog of Kevin Dolgin