Sunday 16 October 2011

The kayak and the ant

Eliza Gray is proud to announce the birth of her new Passion:

Kayaking. Tra-la!

Yes, kayaking. Lily and I went out this morning on a nearby lake and were practically hooked! As an activity, it a) is rather good for upper body tone, b) is quite easy to get the hang of, c) doesn't seem to need too much rigging or paraphernalia or knowhow or lingo such as cleats and winches and daggerboards and special knots. The only downside is how to convey the kayak to the piece of water one wishes to kayak on without a strong man or a roof rack and winch, but I am going to investigate inflatable kayaks. The other problem will be where to store it, given that the recycling bin is already full up with the strimmer, and the washing machine cupboard is replete with the Hoover, the hula hoop, the old hockey stick and the bike rack. Hmmm. Still, we can always hire until we're ready to buy.

On the way back, we drop in on Sally and Giles. Arthur is about as excited as a cool teenager can be about having found the perfect art school course for his specific design aesthetic. He invites me up to his lair to see his latest works. First up is an ant mask.

'Arthur, you're a genius!' 

'It has moving parts as well,' he mumbles, twiddling the mandibles.

'What's it made of?' I ask.

He carefully lifts the mask off so that he can speak. 'One CD player, 1 keyboard (computer), 1 dressing gown, 1 hosepipe, 1 pair of pyjama trousers, 1 umbrella, acetate, wire and gaffer tape.'

'Tell me about the concept...' I venture.

'The concept was, I didn't want to do my English homework and I thought hey, let's make an ant mask.'

'What was your English homework?'

'How was heroism portrayed in Dracula.'

'That's totally up your street, isn't it?' I say, surprised, as I would have thought vampires were pretty cool things to be exploring in English.

'No,' he says, 'boring.'

'Why?' I press this delicate matter.

'Because it involves me sitting down and writing instead of doing what I want to do. It involves effort, which I don't really like.'

'None of us like effort, Arthur,' chips in Phoebe in her most disparaging of tones, 'but we still have to do it.'

'If I could work in a scrapyard for the rest of my life I'd be happy,' says Arthur, now wearing a pair of Hoover-hose Mickey Mouse ears attached to a plastic hairband. 'Next I'm going to make a mosquito helmet with the rest of the CD player. But my long-term ambition is a suit of armour out of drinks cans.'

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