We have a piece of stone by the front gate with the house name carved into it. The letters used to be coloured but weather and rain have had their way with them and I was out there this morning filling them again in with red paint. A ticklish sort of a job. The original carving is, I think, the work of Michael Harvey who used to realise the inspirations of the Scottish artist Ian Finlay.
"What colour have you painted them?" asks my mother.
"Red," I say.
"Ah, black," she says, nodding her head wisely.
I'm in awe of anyone who works with stone. One slip of the chisel and your masterwork is good for nothing but to be added to the rockery.
How do sculptors and stonemasons keep their nerve?