Green With Envy

It’s green alright, but is it anything to be envious of? I asked myself this as I gazed at my newly repainted walls. My guess is that most people who come to visit won’t look at it and think – ah! yes, I should do the same to my hall. I asked the painter what he thought of it. He took his time answering, arms folded, staring at the wall. “It’s my job to paint, not to have an opinion on the colour.” When I type this, I make him sound petulant, but really, he said it in quite a pleasant way, adding, “I’m a Rangers supporter, though, so obviously it wouldn’t be my first choice. It’s less monotonous painting a bold colour than the usual range of pale creams and greys. In that regard, I’m liking it.” His last comment felt like a little nod of approval. I felt I might have squeezed an opinion out of him after all. He’d given me the green light. Rothko, the modern master of bold colour, was big on red, but he championed green too. The abstract impressionists weren’t great on naming their paintings, (Rotho would have been a disastrous marketing man), but my walls were inspired by ‘untitled work’ – predominately green with a blue stripe through the centre. This combination might have better suited my Rangers fan painter.

Thankfully the colour is growing on me. Last night I met up with G. and told her about it. “It is Regency green?” she asked. I wasn’t sure what that was, and although I was drawn to the insinuation of grandeur, I’m pretty sure there is nothing regent about it. Funnily enough, G. and I ended up eating at the new ‘Ivy On The Green’ on St. Andrew Square. It is rather grand. All of the internal woodwork is painted green – Regency green we decided. “No, that’s not my green,” I conceded, “Mine is not as understated and tasteful.” When I was selecting my colour, I even overlooked ‘Pomona Green’ because it was too tame for me. Loved the name though: Pomona, the Greek Goddess of the orchards, the apple was her favourite fruit.

This morning, as I start the day slowly following my ‘Green Ivy’ night out, the word pops up everywhere. On the radio, I listen to how the green shoots of recovery are looking less healthy as Philip Hammond’s budget provides revised, weakened economic projections. I recall the advice I gave to my young visitor two weeks ago. Finding her first term at university hard, and harder still when some of her best friends dropped out and headed home, I told her: the grass is always greener. She’s going to stick it out. In the far-off days of primary school, we wore a very basic school uniform that included a bottle green jumper. Mine was hand-knitted. It was a colour I then hated, time must have rehabilitated for me because I like bottle green now. Back then, there was one particularly strict teacher who used to threaten ‘wigs on the green’ if work was not up to scratch, or homework not completed in full. I’m sure none of us knew what it meant, but we understood the translation perfectly well: her menacing wrath would descend, and there was nothing worse than that. When I step on a ferry, regardless of sea conditions, I’m one of the first to feel green about the gills. I like to think I have green fingers, but my gardening experience is relatively new – as green as the grass, one might say. Enough of my musing on green; it’s time to get up and about. Too much sitting around and thinking can make me feel a bit blue.

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