Homework for Haringey Literary Live 19/04/2018.

I am at last back in Jamie and Edi’s lovely home near Alexandra Palace, North London.

For the last two months I have been looked after by the NHS, then two weeks with my son Iain and Amanda in Manchester, a very restful break.

I have been itching to have some time writing and painting; several subjects have been on my mind lately.

This one merges the two sujects together, it’s about something I read in an arts magazine sometime ago, regarding acrylic paint, these paints are quick drying —a bit too quick for me.

I prefer oil paints as they keep wet for enough time to blend, the downside is, they can stay wet for days, this makes a painting a long process.

The article was about extending the drying time of acrylic paint to somewhere near half that of oil paints. The name of the product was something like Kentucky Gel, but I cant be sure.

I looked for the stuff in my arts magazines and also asked at Cass Art’s, the well-known art shop, the young lady there had never heard of it, it seemed as if I was mistaken with the name of the product.

I was in Boots The Chemist, in a queue to pay for my items, when out of the corner of my eye I saw a small box of something called K-Y Jelly, could this be what I was looking for, the printing on the box was too small for me to read so I thought I would ask at the counter.

I couldn’t help noticing that the two ladies behind me, seemed very interested in my basket, I assumed it was the hair lacquer that I had bought for Edi, my daughter in law—I am very bald­— and they must have found that very funny.

The assistant was very young, and when I asked.

“Is this K-Y Jelly the same as the Kentucky Gel that is used for thinning acrylic paints”.

She looked at me for a moment and then said.“I will have to ask a senior assistant”.

While she was away one of the ladies behind me said,

“ I have never heard of it being used that way”. And then she and her friend started to laugh.

What with the hair lacquer and now this, I was beginning to feel uneasy, and wished I was somewhere else instead of being the subject of so much mirth in the queue behind me.

It was similar to the time when at the age of 16, I had been sent to buy some sanitary items for my sister, and then being asked what size, I ran out of the shop, I felt like this now.

Before I could make my escape, a rather stern looking senior assistant was before me, once again I was being looked at as if I was from another world.

“ Sir, this is moisturiser and I think the product you want would be found in an artists shop rather than a chemist” she said.

I quickly paid for the two items rather than go into my quite reasonable inquiry and left the shop feeling several pairs of eyes following me.

As soon as I arrived home I was able to read the list of ingredients and found the jelly was water-soluble, this made it mixable with the acrylic paint.

I tried it on an old canvas and amazingly it was a brilliant success, I was able to use the paint for nearly an hour without drying. But I don’t think I will be buying it again in Boots.

I have written to the makers suggesting that they should sell it in art shops, I have yet to have a reply.

The assistant was quite right when she said it was a moisturiser, I now use it instead of my normal shaving cream, the razor simply glides over my beard, leaving my skin as smooth as a babys bottom.

I can’t wait to tell the ladies at my art group of my latest find.














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