In April I reached Peak Maternity Leave. Nora slept at times and on Wednesday evenings I rode up the Johnston street hill to Fitzroy to do painting classes.

I have no natural aptitude for visual arts.  In high school I disliked it so much I once volunteered to clean the studio sinks instead of painting.  I have since learnt to enjoy doing things I am bad at.

The painting classes were terribly fun.  There was cheese, cake and apple cordial.  Actually there was wine too but I'm not much of a drinker these days.  The teacher was fabulous, he took us step by step through painting tonally (light and dark!) using colours (warm and cool!) and glazing (painting one colour over another colour!). This all culminated in my fairly rudimentary painting of an apple:

My favourite part of the painting class was learning the artists' idiom 'to pull it out of the fire': to rescue a painting from a seemingly catastrophic error.

I love learning new idioms.  There are lots of great medical idioms, all terribly morbid. A way of avoid 'D' words (death, dying dead) when we are chatting with our colleagues.  "Don't buy any green bananas", we say, "He's not fit for a two-staged haircut."

We are now taught to use the D words when we speak with patients and their families.  This sits well with me. It always reminds me of my grandad's eulogy.  My uncle Bill said, "Pat never beat around the bush.  People didn't pass away, they died. And he did."


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