Monday, 17 January 2011

I Am The Invisible Man.

I remember when I was a young lad how I looked to my father as a super hero. I remember the Saturday evenings when he took to the cinema. On the way home he would race me, from the cinema all the way home. Seemed like a mighty long way at the time, I now know it was about a mile and a half. I was probably about 7 or 8 which would make my father about 47 or 48. I cannot ever remember beating him home. Every time I would think this time I will make it, then just at the last minute he would sweep past me. He was a very fit and very proud man and I thought he was a wonder. He was in fact a fairly ordinary man, who painted navel boats in the dockyard.

Some years later when we were out walking together, I challenged him to lift a log. I managed it, he struggled, age was beginning to take its toll. The years of hard work were showing on him. A few days later I saw him in the back garden of our home lifting weights, determined not to give in. He worked till he was 70 years old then had a stroke and could no longer talk or walk without difficulty. It was sad to see.

So why am I telling you this? Well I am more aware of what was happening to him as I become the invisible man. It started some time ago, my becoming invisible. I would go into shops and the young assistant would notice the young people and serve them before me as I was not there. My having a damaged voice also means that in company it is very easy to become the invisible guest. Yesterday I was at a ruby wedding celebration, music playing loads of people chatting and I felt like the invisible man. When you cannot speak above the noise it is easy to be ignored and invisible.

I think had I not taken up painting and began to get noticed around the place as the artist, I might have gone the way of so many, slipped into oblivion. The invisible man.

Now before I become too emotional or depressive let me tell you what made me think about this. I was looking at the bride of 40years and then I saw her daughter and then her sons. In them I could see that she had been quietly building a beautiful future and contribution to tomorrow. I thought of the year I has spent working on the building of the beautiful Abbey of Iona. Like many others I played my part and years from now it will still be there. I will, like many others, not be listed among the builders but I my little part will be in there playing its part in the wonder.

I also hope that just some of the things I hold important will live on in my family, that I have been quietly building and nourishing. Maybe also, just maybe, one of my paintings will last and make me less invisible.

We are surrounded by invisible people and today I am off to unmask a few. I bet I will learn from their wisdom.

This blog is linked to my other    The sands Of Time Move Ever Onward


  1. Good Morning Ralph, you are plenty visable, I hunt for you every day. There are times in our lives when we turn the focus to others and we have to admit the world does not revolve around us! A shame really, but it is true.

  2. I too seem to be invisible so much of the time. So much so that I am talked right over if I am speaking. Tends to make me not bother. Maybe that is why I am so ... never mind. Sigh...Your dad sounds like quite a man, Ralph. As are you. Never doubt that you are leaving one fabulous imprint on this world. Your words have touched many hearts through your blogging.

  3. Ralph, you're definitely not invisible. I like your idea of going out to unmask some invisible people.

  4. I thought this invisible thing happened much more to women than to men. The entire world seems consumed by "youth" and it seems silly to me...because intellectually we must all know that 20 & 30 year olds are not the only "worthy" inhabitants of the I have the added distinction of having handed over my entire youth to a career in advertising..the very bain of my existence NOW. You are correct, however, that an oil painting will outlast us. Isn't that a remarkable thought? I loved reading in your post how your Dad raced you home after the cinema. Made me smile. Your Dad influenced you in positive ways and you in turn have been a role model for others. You may not be flashy...but slow and steady wins the race.