Our house’s a hothouse
Our House’s a hothouse 50x70cm oil on canvas €1950
So the RDS Art Source Fair is done for another year. Yes it was extremely hard work both physically and mentally but also a whole lot of fun. At the end of the fair any work not sold goes to my galleries. Thankfully this year was fantastic so there wasn’t a lot left to send off but this one was swiped by the Killarney Art Gallery.
Workshops.. they’re filling up
Lots of lovely folks stopped to talk to me about my upcoming painting and business workshops in January and February respectively and booking for both of them jumped from around 1/3 full to 2/3 full over the weekend. So don’t leave it too late to book and if one of the workshops is on your Christmas list then maybe it’s time to drop some not so subtle hints under the nose of your loved ones. :-)
Prints.. the perfect christmas gift
Don’t forget I have two limited edition prints available which make a great Christmas gift and I offer free worldwide shipping.
We have a yellow alert here due to storm Barney and I came across this explanation of Irish rain. If you live here or have visited you’ll know what Colm Toibin is writing about here. If you live in Texas this will most likely be new to you!
‘If the Inuits have fifty words for snow, the Irish have about a hundred variations of ‘Bollocks, I’m after getting soaked’. So, here’s a small compendium of the various categories of rain to watch out for.
Stage 1: ’Tis a Grand Soft Day, Thank God
Gorgeously atmospheric, soft day rain is best experienced around the mountainous, coastal fringes of the west of Ireland. A subtle cross between mist and drizzle, soft day rain is a mysterious and subtle form of precipitation. For the first ten minutes of contact, it appears benevolent and feels like it is having no great impact. You might even chance going out without a coat. It’s refreshing, almost. Unfortunately, before you know it, you’ll be wetter than a film with Hugh Grant in it. We all know the soggy horror of being caught outside on a dank, miserable, wet, muggy, damp, slippery, moist, misty, soaking, drizzly, sloppy fucker of a day.
Wetness: Low at first, very high eventually
Stage 2: Spitting
Spitting rain is the small nagging child of precipitation. Although it won’t wet you entirely, spitting rain has evolved cunning ways of getting at you – it tends to creep along the forehead and enter the eyeballs at odd angles. It splashes up from the ground and attacks the sock and ankle area with a great and unexpected tenacity. It can mysteriously appear on the underside of umbrellas even though the top is bone dry. It can be a complete nightmare for drivers trying to decide on an appropriate wiper setting. Note that it’s pronounced ‘shpitting’.
Wetness: Fair to middlin’
Stage 3: Regular Rain
Regular Irish rain is the most straightforward example of precipitation. It truly is the working class of the water cycle. Visible to the naked eye, honest in the manner in which it descends from the sky, unpretentious to a fault . . . regular rain is sound. Of course, like any rain, it can soak you to the skin if unprepared, but you were probably asking for it.
Wetness: Light if well prepared; severe if you act the spanner
Stage 4: Lashing
When it’s lashing, it’s no laughing matter. It doesn’t just rain cats and dogs. Cows, zebras, stoats and sloths have often been observed. When it’s lashing, you may stay indoors. It’s true that lashing rain can be a wonderful thing, e.g. when it’s beating off the window and you’re snuggled up by the stove with a book like you’re in an ad for Dulux Weathershield. But not if you’re outside. I’ve seen grown men sitting in the middle of the street, defeated by lashing rain; puddles forming around their shivering bodies, praying that someone might come along and shoot them in the face.
Stage 5: Bucketing Down
Bucketing rain can elicit startled observations in open-plan offices. ‘Jesus, it’s fucking biblical!’ You know it’s serious when Irish people begin to openly express concern about rainfall. Going out in biblical rain is not advisable and can lead to unfortunate outcomes, e.g. death. However, one of the wonderful side effects of bucketing-down rain is a little-known phenomenon called rain euphoria. Rain euphoria occurs when you get so completely and utterly soaked that you begin to mysteriously enjoy the experience. People with rain euphoria can be seen skipping down streets, lepping into water fountains, swinging off lamp posts and ripping their clothes off, all the while laughing maniacally into the clouds.
Wetness: So wet it’s funny
Stage 6: Limerick Rain
Very little is known by the wider population about Limerick rain but it is one of the meteorological wonders of the world. Sure, typhoons, hurricanes and tsunamis grab the headlines for their dramatic and destructive impact – huge physical events that rip through cities in front of your eyes. Limerick rain, by contrast, causes its destruction over a longer period and in a much more insidious, parasitic manner. In Limerick, they don’t have dry spells, instead they say ‘the rain is waiting’. Limerick rain is unique in that, on average, it falls for up to 378 days per year. Not only that, but it can defy physics and pass through barriers. It’s not uncommon, for example, to be lying in bed in Annacotty and the rain mysteriously begins cascading from the ceiling. In fact, Limerick is the only place in the world where it is known to rain regularly indoors. There is nothing unusual about a family gathered around the TV on a Saturday evening watching The X Factor under an umbrella. It doesn’t end there, however. Limerick rain has a horrifying, almost supernatural intelligence. It seeps through gable walls like the magician David Copperfield, creeps up into crevices, defying gravity and making a mockery of modern waterproofing technology. It laughs in the face of oilskins. When Limerick rain falls on your head, it doesn’t stop at the skin. It slowly soaks into the brain, starting at the stem, seeping up through the cerebellum, spreading around both hemispheres, riddling the frontal lobe, where it sets about poisoning your very thoughts. It forms new neural networks that run like gutters in your thinking.
You can see the effects of Limerick rain on the streets – people shouting ‘Shitfuckbollocks!’ for no apparent reason, old women trying to shift the statue of Paul O’Connell, crows singing themselves into electricity pylons just to end the unrelenting wetness. Limerick rain destroys careers and breaks up marriages. It causes untold anguish before flowing out of the sockets of your eyes and the orifices of your ears, dragging with it any store of happiness you had built up in your childhood. In all honesty, Limerick rain is more like Ebola than a meteorological event. But at least it’s not as bad as sideways rain.
Wetness: Not measurable using current instrumentation
Stage 7: Sideways Rain
Sideways rain combines two of the worst things about living in Ireland. The wind and the rain. It is truly an elemental clusterfuck. Sideways rain usually sweeps across your torso like a samurai sword, ripping into your guts and shearing the very skin from your cheeks. Sideways rain is almost impossible for a person to fend off. Although Limerick rain can invade your consciousness, you have some hope of escape (e.g. leaving Limerick). Sideways rain, on the other hand, attacks you in terrifying waves. If you are upended from the rear by sideways rain, it will wait for you to get to your feet before launching another full-frontal attack, knocking you on your arse again. If you attempt to get away, the wind and the rain will conspire to roll you around in mid-air, like a crocodile killing a pig. You really haven’t a hope. The only appropriate response to sideways rain is to lie down and die, leaving all your worldly possessions to the rain.
Surviving Ireland by Colm Tobin is published by Transworld Ireland and is out now