top of page

And we all adored it

"...And we all adored it." - I hurriedly wrote on a scrap of paper.

This was the part of his story that caught me most.

It was about a small painting in a cave, and in this cave, so little light could get in, a light needed to be switched on to see the artwork by. The light wasn't on all the time for fear it would damage the work.

(Let's ignore this - the irony that we all know about, bla bla, how paintings are actually made to be seen - in light! - the very light that might damage the pigments.)

But ...maybe this was a fresco. Yes, that's most probably it. - It was a fresco, - and by Giotto, - and the cave wasn't a cave, - but a small chapel in the middle of the Italian countryside far away from any serious habitation.

Do you think I an 'Unreliable Narrator'? (I heard this term recently from the doctor when my Mother couldn't answer him about how long my Father had been lying there).

Anyway, there was a woman - small, officious, impenetrable, minimally responsive - who was in charge of the switch, and only she was allowed to turn it on - which she would do for a small fee. (Small though it was, I imagine this a significant part of her income stream.)

The woman accepted the money gruffly, as if wasn't for her but that she was about to give it to God who was out the back. Muttering something, she trundled up to the light switch (Any of us could have turned it on), and turned it on. The switch was on a timer, and as the light went on, the cool dark damp silence of the cave - sorry: chapel - was perforated by the loud, quick ticking of the mechanism unwinding - heightening the preciousness of this moment.

And there it was.

This tiny jewel of a fresco, now, spectacularly illuminated...

There was a collective gasp of breath...

...'And we all adored it."

After a while the timer turned the current of electricity, and with it, the light, off, and we all went back into the low level light - our pupils opening luxuriantly wide again.

I liked the idea of this intense concentrated focus of adoring. I liked the way everyone had to adore the painting all together at the same time, without any distraction. They had to soak it all up there and then, all together, and greedily store this intangible thing away inside each of themselves in their own inner caves (or chapels) for the rest of their lives. Unless of course they kept giving the woman more and more money, or cheekily waited for other people to walk in and pay for the light to be turned on.

*...should I say: usually?

**Confusingly, I recently heard, that after an oil painting is painted, it needs UV exposure to fix the colours, and prevent them from yellowing.


I went to a PV recently. I was recovering from flu and we had got there early at 5pm to help the artist friend. The place was a vast unheated warehouse, and so very cold. I'm a bit of a socio-phobe anyway (long story), but after a while I was tiring and anyway my back was aching. And I was getting funny comments as I stood my body right over one of three small electric heaters. I thought - and I think I said it out loud too: 'Is it 8pm now? It must be time to go home'. But no, there were two whole hours left to go. What?!

I came away thinking that PVs have to be less gruelling than this! Can't we put a timer switch on the lights? Or conversely, do a post-nightclub thing, and turn them up super bright and play the national anthem to allow everyone to go home?


When is a cave a snow dome and when is a snow dome a cave and if someone shakes me is it alright to snow?

Is it alright to snow.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page