We have the finishing line in sight!

The day started with Eveny and Conrad at 7 o’clock bird watching at Britano. It was pure joy to have experts showing us some of the 450 species of birds which inhabit these shores.

At 10 we had our usual theory and explained the types of varnishes and the practical side of making a varnish be it natural or synthetic. This was followed by all the students final retouching of their Archbishop and brushing their inner frame which had been gilded under the ever watchful eyes of Elizabeth. Incredible but true but by 5 o’clock all the Archbishops were reunited to their frames (thanks to Caetano’s  drill as the wood was so dense that nails could not be hammered into the frame)

Georgina our last English student has arrived at the weekend tired and slightly anxious.  Despite her best instructions the taxi had dropped her at the Archbishop’s House instead of the nuns’ Convent at seven in the morning when no-one was around, but Ruthie finally found her and took her under her wing. The first day she was overwhelmed by jetlag, by what was going on in the studio (the scale of projects to be completed) and by the hustle and bustle of India. By day two, having organized herself and once she realised that the motorised rickshaw taxis  were safe despite not having safety belts, she is now a natural. She  goes from treatment to treatment with a great smile and enthusiasm,  executing each task to perfection.Thanks to her bringing some of the ingredients in her suitcase we made Italian relining paste (I am sure a first in India) to reline Milena’s painting.
Every student who has joined from London ( Joanna, Anna, Jenny, Ruthie, Zuraida and Georgina) has been brilliant and all their interventions have been successful and greatly appreciated by the Archbishops and local Goan students. When each one leaves they are sorely missed – they might not appreciate how much they have achieved in such short a time, but each one has  had a significant impact. What is fascinating is they all came at the right time: Anna shrunk, strip lined, cleaned,consolidated, Joanna cleaned, consolidated, filled and retouched, Jenny,  Zuraida and Georgina jumped in where needed moving with great ease from one project to another, Ruthie was a real star in so many ways and Elizabeth has brought it all together with her wonderful smile and no-nonsense attitude and is always encouraging. Many thanks to my resident wallah blogger Sebastian for yesterday’s wonderful blog!

Unfortunately today Elizabeth returns to London after having spent 10 days gilding everything on site and more if we had let Milena, Rhea, Eveny, Wynzel, Manu and Sandesh loose! She has managed to remove the old overpaint on the last Archbishop’s cassock with Wynzel (which I had not been able to shift), and together with the ever enterprising Joseph who dyed the relining canvas,  restretched Milena’s  early 18th century Madonna and Child and so much more besides. I have no words to express my gratitude to all of them, but suffice it to say that everybody’s efforts have paid off, the portraits are going up next week and they look fantastic.