Scrumble of Life 2 – The Artist’s Passions

‘Tell me what your passions are, so I can blog about them.’


It’s Saturday afternoon, we have no work today and The Artist is sitting in his dressing gown, rendering a digital Steampunk Racing Camel, on his iMac. (Yup.)

Eventually he senses that I’m waiting for something.

‘Say again?’

‘What are your passions?’

‘Mmm…’ Stroking stylus across graphics tablet, he stares at the computer screen

I wait – and, reluctantly, he shifts his gaze to look at me, confusion clearing.

‘You!’ He beams, proud to have come up with – what he thinks is – the right answer.

‘O..kay. I’ll put that at the end. What’s the next most important thing?’

‘Vacuum cleaning.’
He’s not joking. I rarely touch the Dyson at home and he does the most of the ‘hoovering’ at school, while I wipe down desks and rub graffiti off the walls. And, in his other job, as a Personal Assistant for older people, he often does housework for those that cannot manage.

‘Yes… But that’s your job. I’m talking about your passions – the things that make you who you are. Those things you can’t not do.’

He mentions a couple of well-known computer programmes, then changes his mind.

‘Motorcyles, I’ve been riding since I was seventeen…….’

‘So motorbikes are your primary passion?’

‘Yes! No. Wait a sec…’

He catches me looking pointedly at what he’s working on.

‘Oh!…..Art! Yes, of course… Art. I’ve been doing that …for as long as I could hold a pencil. My mother used to buy me rolls of lining paper to draw on. I designed a really complicated machine when I was eleven – I might still have it, somewhere….’

Finally! He’s stumbled upon the reason I call him The Artist. (Only in the Blogosphere, of course. In real life I call him ‘Babe’, a reverse-sexist nickname we coined in the ’90’s, when a magazine article complained that men patronised women by referring to them in infantile terms.) He calls me ‘Mrs King’.

1. When we met he was a mature student, studying Illustration at the world-renowned Falmouth College of Art and Design. He was working on a course assignment at the time – a water colour, ink and wax-resist picture of architecturally interesting buildings. It was instantly recognisable as being of Plymouth’s oldest quarter, The Barbican, from where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for America in 1620.


I could see that he was good. It was only when he moved in with me, over a year later, that I realised how truly talented he is. A firm believer in travelling light, he brought with him one bag of clothing, a tool box full of painting equipment and more than twenty years worth of artwork, in black rubbish sacks.

‘I don’t know why I’m dragging this around,’ he said, ‘If I never set eyes on any of it again, it wouldn’t bother me. I should just chuck the lot. It’d make life so much simpler.’

I persuaded him to let me look at his collection, before he consigned it to the dustbin. And I was stunned! There were literally hundreds of pieces – some more than twenty years old. Sketches, drawings, paintings, even doodles, in diverse styles, techniques and media – some traditional, others that I’d never come across before.

I was stunned. From this cursory glance, I felt that he should keep it all. This didn’t seem to please him.

‘So, what do you suggest I do with it?’ he asked, almost petulantly, ‘What use is it to me now? When I did it, I did it for a reason. But now it’s done, I’m not interested any more. On with the next thing!’
I couldn’t quite believe him – if that was so, why hadn’t he disposed of it as he went along?

It turned out that he’d already burnt anything he wasn’t satisfied with. And, as his skills improved, he became much more critical of his earlier work – focusing on the ‘faults’. Anything that wasn’t ‘perfect’ had to go.

He also had a more personal reason. Much of what lay strewn about my living room carpet that evening had been executed in troubled times. Moving into my tiny cottage and making our relationship official, prompted him to erase the past completely. To start afresh.

Luckily, I managed to convince him to take more time to think about it – although I’m sure that quite a lot was later trashed without my knowledge. There’s so much to describe, that I’d struggle to do it justice. So, we’ve decided to use this blog to showcase different pictures on a regular basis. Watch this space!

2. As you might have guessed, The Artist is a keen motorcyclist. It was the iconic film, ‘Easy Rider’ that – quite literally – set his wheels in motion. Over the years he’s owned seven different Harley Davidson’s, the latest – and he swears the last (yeah, right!) – being the 2000, 1200cc Sportster Custom, which featured in the previous post, about my passions. Here’s a snap of him, circa 1980, embracing his ‘wild side’, once he’d left the Royal Air Force:


Throughout his riding career, he’s bought, ridden and sold hundreds of machines and can reel off each make and model, even remembering the registration numbers of a few. (It’s a man-thing.) He photographedl the later ones, but owned quite a few before he thought of that. Here’s the first he ever took a picture of, a Kawasaki S1C:


3. His final passion at the moment – apart from me, of course – is remodelling our kit car, an NGTA. Using the donor chassis and engine of a 1964 MGB roadster, (making it a classic) it was originally designed to replicate a 1930’s Aston Martin Ulster. Bought as a part-finished project before we met, it has already ‘risen from the ashes’ twice:


Apart from using it as his every-day means of four-wheeled transport, The Artist drove us in it, from the registry office on Plymouth Hoe, when we married, in 1998.

It even took us abroad, on honeymoon to our longere in Brittany, where the neighbours laughingly declared, ‘c’est drole!’. And we later travelled across northern Europe, arriving – bang on schedule – at the stage door of the German theatre where my son was appearing in the musical, Starlight Express.

And how can we forget the time we visited the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, when the driver of an original T35 Bugatti saluted it as we passed on the road.

Transformation number three has just commenced – the plans will radically alter it’s appearance, make it like no other car on the road. This, in itself, is art as much as mechanics – I’ll keep you posted on developments.

First and last there’s me. A long time ago, The Artist’s mother warned him that he’d never find one woman who would suit him – but I have proved her wrong. To him, I’m perfect. Whew! 🙂


17 thoughts on “Scrumble of Life 2 – The Artist’s Passions

    1. Well, that flowing mane has long departed, his hair is silver now and very short. His laughter lines are deeper – apart from that he’s still a groovy dude!

  1. with a cup of tea I have wandered in your thoughts this morning
    it was such an easy ride you took us on,
    I think passion is not recognized these day…
    the energy of my poems once told me passion dies
    in about 6 weeks,yes he was referring to relationships,
    i argued with him, for I have the save, no more passion for him than I did the first time I found us….
    it is work but then isn’t passion worth it?
    sadly he couldn’t wait on me moving to england, and he set out to find someone to take of him….sadder for i am his twinflame energy, and as we evolved he got scared of all that emcomapsses in this moment…
    you my friend have found passion ……you (both of you)have create the energy, each flaw, each gift compliments the other where no bouncing off each others egos…oh I am sure there are ego moments, we wouldn’t be human other wise, and we would be in denial if we say we don’t have ego…
    but as i read through….I enjoyed the feel of a passion growing, not being suspended in life but evolving as it is meant tooo..
    Thank you..I really enjoyed this moment this morning..
    and I do like the car, made me miss my Harley LOLs, and your Babe( which is what I call Blue LOLs) is a very gifted artist..Hope we see more…

    Take Care….

  2. Thank you so much for these lovely sentiments, maryrose. Our passions are the things we have to do, otherwise we become out of balance. It could be work, but it’s not onerous – I used to be passionate about my career in Social Housing but had leave when it turned into a chore. We do have egotistical spats – at one time they were major upheavals. But we weathered the storms together and found mutual respect and understanding. I plan to post more art – some from each of us – watch this space! We miss our Harley too – it’s in the garage. Thought we’d pick it up yesterday but they haven’t finished work on it yet, so have lent us a Virago. You’ve got to be kidding! 😉

  3. He’s a very interesting man. I agree that he was “seriously cute in the ’80’s”
    I must add that I was glad to see the photo of you – after all I’m just writing to a dragon 🙂

    1. Thank you Rosie! He was and age suits him too, he has a face that you might call ‘lived in’ with a mischievous grin. Bless him 🙂 That photo of me is a couple of years old, though, I’ve now cut my hair. I should get a more up-to-date one as an gravitas – apart from my Chinese horoscope sign, I’m honestly not a dragon!

  4. Love the post, your right, we do seem very similar 🙂 His artwork is beautiful, and thanks for the reminder of home again, I love the Barbican, good restaurants and antiques. I found a picture of Brixham at night and it’s my desktop pic..ahhh… thanks for the homesickness lol

    1. Thank you Claire, Martin will be chuffed that you like his artwork 🙂 The Barbican does have a special feel to it – we used to go there – and to the little towns and villages along the South Devon coast – all the time, when we lived in Plymouth. I don’t feel ‘homesick’, now – I’m content, here on The Isle of Wight.

      1. In NY I feel home sick sometimes for silly things like fish and chips, pie and peas…. it’s hard to find the comfort food we like in the UK and sometimes I say a word and they look at me confused, like ‘mardy’ or ‘gone Bodmin’ lol 😉

  5. Oh bless you, Claire, it’s the little things that you miss and which remind you of ‘home’. I’d forgotten all about Bodmin! I once had a GP who spent time as in inpatient in the mental hospital there, which explained a great deal about his earlier clinical behaviour. Not exactly confidence inspiring! 🙂

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