Saturday, June 25, 2005

Maine and the Plough...

So I was contacted by a local gallery to see if I could deliver a painting to Northeast Harbor on Mt. Desert Island in Maine. Since Sylvia could get the time off and we'd already considered a bit of holiday time there, we decided to take advantage of the opportunity.
Mt. Desert is a good six hour drive from here... but, of course we had to pick up the painting, which was in Gloucester... adding at least an hour to our travel time. The artist was quite pleasant, had the painting all wrapped and ready... it fit nicely into the van (which I had cleared out) and we were on our way.
The drive up was fairly uneventful... a few road construction projects to slow us down. Just as we approached Augusta we were funneled into one lane for what we thought was more road work... turned out to be an articulated lorry off the road and on its side with a lot of big tow trucks and cops all scratching their heads about how to right the thing.
We arrived at our inn in Bar Harbor at six. Took a little while to find the innkeepers, but we were soon settled into a very pleasant room. Using Syl's phone (mine had "no network") I made arrangements to deliver and install the painting. We walked into town, look around and found a place for a pint (Bar Harbor Real Ale... not bad) and some dinner. A bit more walking around and back to the room for some TV and to bed.
A very nice breakfast and we were off to look for the house where I was to install the painting. Nobody knew where the address that we had was, but we found it easy enough. The caretaker was very friendly and I had the piece on the wall in about ten minutes... job done. A short tour of the rather grand house with wonderful ocean views and we were back to Bar Harbor to get tickets for a whale watch. Warm in town but freezing out at sea... I spent the whole time inside. Syl had a hood on her sweatshirt and spent more time outside. Even those who were better prepared than us (crew included) were cold. We went twent-five miles out, to a rock with a lighthouse and seal colony. Supposedly, someone got a glimpse of a whale, but there wasn't a real sighting (because of this we got vouchers for a future try). Back to the warmth of town... more Bar Harbor Real Ale and dinner. Eventually, to the room and bed.
Raining in the morning and after breakfast we head to a very small museum of Native American artifacts... and continue on a drive around the island, stopping at a small Oceanarium, which was very cool. At first I thought it was going to be a rip off as the entrance fee was $8 and it seemed really small... but the displays were terrific and the hands on look at sea creatures was brilliant (see Syl's pics). Back to town where Syl had her first lobster in the shell.
In the morning we checked out and went to the top of Cadillac Mountain for the great views (again, see Syl's pics). Then heading home... stopping at the really expensive "Big Chicken House" full of antiques/junk/books, that had been recommended. Lots of good stuff, but way too pricey.
We were keeping a log of license plates from the begining of the trip... collected 43 states and 5 Canadian provinces. I guess that we're not really having a problem with the price of petrol.
Today I received notice of a tribute show for Bern Porter at the Belfast Free Library... we passed through Belfast Maine two days ago... pity, that.

I walked into the Plough last week to be told that they'd be closing as of last Sunday. At first I thought I was being told they'd be closed Sundays (upsetting enough). But I soon realised that they were closing, full stop. Sure enough, on my return from Maine the curtains are closed, the lights are out and the door is locked. Rumors abound and I'm sure that the room will reopen reasonably soon. It's enough to drive one to drink... but where?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

A Couple of Mad Days...

Yesterday... the guys were out painting for an old client in Watertown... they'd all been there before and knew what had to be done. Me... I was dealing with an art presentaion for a corporate client in an highrise downtown. Load up the van at the art consultant, drive it over, unload and get it all upstairs (20th floor). Unwrap it and get it ready for the presentation. The decision makers and the presenter arrive at about the same time and we're off holding pictures against the walls in a fairly vacant space. Somewhere along this process, the powers that be decide I have to move the van from the loading dock... "I'll have to be back in here to pick it all up again in an hour!"... no good... found a metered space after only two go rounds. Back upstairs to find that the construction people had taken away our packing material...go chase that. Luckily, Christy, from the art consultantnt is helping with this. Notes are taken, the artwork is rewrapped and then it downstairs to the loading dock and I bring the van around again. Back over to the art consultants space and we unload it all. From here I go to scrape, sand and put a patch into some water damaged area for a client that's trying to sell their house.
Today... I checked in with the guys in Watertown... for the most part things were fine. Back to the water damaged bits... had it all sorted, I thought... but at the last minute, I saw that the paint was bubbling and splitting. Let it dry proper... and I went off to make a pick up and delivery to one of my earliest painting instructors. I didn't expect him to remember me after 35 years... and he didn't... but he still wanted to show me around and talk about those old days. Boston Brahmin sort... and he's been painting the same, formal, realistic still lives for all these years. Finally pulled myself away from that... back to deal with the blistering paint and seemed to find a solution.
I needed a quick trip to the Plough after all of that.