I don’t know why but having read the title without having read the book I was reminded m of those words in ‘the Rime OF The Ancient Mariner’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge ‘As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean’
Perhaps he might have added, ‘Under a painted sky.’
That instant in time when everything stands still and all is silent. No breeze to cause the clouds to move or make the ships timbers creak. No ripple on the still dark water
The atmosphere is breathless and the blistering sun in the shimmering hazy sky is beating down upon the semi-naked bodies of the exhausted sailors prostrate upon the searing deck.
All is still. For a brief interlude the world has stopped.
These interludes in a busy modern world are all too rare but they do happen and we should cherish them.
Incidents like the discovery of a breath-taking vista after having rounded a bend on a country road.
Or suddenly coming face to face with a magnificent painting by a Great Master as you wander aimlessly around an Art Gallery.
The instant when cupid’s arrow strikes a love-sick swain or when a mother holds her child in her arms and is greeted by a loving smile.
There are so many such moments in so many different ways and every single one of them precious.
Of course different people react in different ways. The car enthusiast will drool over the site of an old Bugatti or a vintage Bentley. The horse lover will gaze in admiration at a fine Stallion.
The bride’s proud father standing in the hall will gasp with delight at first sight of his darling daughter radiant on the landing in her beautiful white wedding gown.
There are two things that fascinate me fountains and sunsets.
In the gardens opposite the Royal Pavilion in Brighton is a large fountain, the combination and variety of spray patterns illuminated by ever changing coloured light formations seem endless.
Few people would stop to watch for more than a few moments but I would send my dear wife off to enjoy the shops and sit until her return usually some considerable time later completely absorbed by the display.
My wife couldn’t understand but the arrangement suited her admirably.
On another occasion I was on holiday with the family at Golden Cap in North Devon. The children had tired themselves and us out playing on the beach and we sat in the car overlooking the bay just as the sun began to set.
The sight was breath-taking. I had never seen a sunset like it before in my life
There were glorious colours of every hue from burning red to palest violet and yellow. The little wisps of lace like cloud. The blazing fiery orb all reflected in the tranquil waters of the bay,
On the sky line could be seen black silhouettes of little boats homeward bound and rugged rock formations framed the picture.
‘Come on Dad. Let’s go’
‘Just wait a few minutes I want to watch the sunset.
The sun began sinking behind the horizon and the orb was half hidden. The colours were constantly changing each change more spectacular.
‘Oh! Dad. I’m bored. Can’t we go.?’
‘Be patient for a little while longer. And I’ll get you some Fish and Chips on the way home’.
The setting sun sank lower and lower until it finally disappeared. It was replaced by a bright silver moon and twinkling stars in a velvet sky. The perfect end of a perfect day…
I engaged the gears and we drove away
‘Hurrah! At last’.
I didn’t mind. Against overwhelming opposition I had seen my sunset and I would never forget the experience.