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Wanstead House, London, 30 November 2016

6 December 2016
6:12pm
On my way, Patrick. See you soon, Steve.
6:43pm
Really sorry, running late. Central line shutdown. I’m at Stratford waiting for a 308 bus.
7:01pm
Where are you, Steve?
On a bus outside Wanstead Park station. I should be with you between twenty-past and half-past seven.
7:19pm
I burst breathlessly into the life room at Wanstead House

I’d felt bad in October when London transport delays made me three minutes late for a booking. It was the first time I’d ever been late. Then, as now, I left with time enough to be more than twenty minutes early, but it was not to be. Whilst I was still caught in traffic, Patrick himself posed clothed for portraits. Upon arrival I hastily undressed in a side room and emerged ready to take over.

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I offered to make up time by working during the tea break or staying late, but Patrick remained phlegmatic – “it happens” – and instead he asked for poses of 10-minutes, 10-minutes and 20-minutes to complete the first half. I made sure they were suitably strong. After a surprisingly long interval, I concluded with a 30-minute reclining pose, which included a shallow inversion and a numb left hand.

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None of the nine or ten artists voiced any complaints about my tardiness – not within my earshot, anyway – and a kindly few were enthusiastic with praise for the poses. I asked not to take a fee for the time I hadn’t worked but Patrick wouldn’t hear of it, so instead I donated it to The Samaritans – as the cause of my delay was a ‘customer incident’ at Holland Park, it seemed possibly a pertinent gesture. Honour satisfied.

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