A LONG PATH TO THE RIVER, meadows and trees and cows dotting the grazing field. Yonder houses, yonder trees like tufts of hair on the heads of hills. Wispy clouds in the skies of blue, what lies behind the trees I wonder. As bucolic as the pheasant's cry, rolling as far as the eyes can see. Bridges across the waters, coming to me.
I passed by this patch of countryside. I was enticed by the roll of land and the sky and water blue. I fell in love with this span of earth, so I bought it. It cost me £10.
It's as pretty as a picture. It is a picture. It looks like a landscape in oil by a master painter. It is a landscape painting in oil by someone who is, to me, a master painter because I cannot sketch, nor paint, nor draw. I can barely read the signature in the corner. But no, not Constable. Constable paints landscapes that are as pretty as a photo. No, not Turner, the impressionistic expression isn't as hazy. But I love it, even if it came in a cheapo-cheapo frame, but it is on canvas all right and the patina of time is there, layered over the oil.
People, the Portobello Road has sold me a picture for a song and it is now staring at me. It feels like the countryside is looking at me through the window of its bedraggled frame, and it is sitting on a pile of books at a jaunty angle.
I do not have to go to the National Gallery now, I have a landscape by a Master right here at home. Now I can, like some Lords of the Manor, sit and sip my Earl Grey and look at the country. When the car boot trader handed it to me for the tenner, I think he asked if I was going to get it valued. No, of course not: I have bought it and have had it valued by me, myself and I. And it makes me feel like a million dollars just looking up to it from my work in Bill Gates' Windows. Well, he may have the billion dollars but I have the oil.