Mr John

“Do you want to come tour a rich couple’s house and look at their Mexican folk art collection?”

No. Not at all. Never ever.

That would be the usual response but for reasons that remain a mystery I was there at 10am, in the cluttered lobby of this 17th century wannabe spa hotel in central Valladolid (pronounced bayadoleed naturally). The house had more art than it knew what to do with. Some of the art had other art on it. Art was stuffed on to shelves like a colourful tribute to Macro. Then you’d realise the shelves were also art and behind that art was more art on the walls. The guide, a local chap in a specially made polo shirt was suddenly interrupted by the owner of this landfill of art, a large barely mobile man who was referred to by everyone as ‘Mr John.’ In his southern drawl he explained that his house had the largest private collection of folk art in Mexico. He then lugged his bulk into his courtyard where he sat by his fountain and played with his ipad while we walked around him and his wife (even less mobile) and gawped at the art. Occasionally a phone or a doorbell would ring and the unmovable couple would bellow into their walkie talkies for one of the people in polo shirts to attend to this “poor favooor.” They sat on their sun loungers (indoors) while we traipsed through their kitchen and living room, tangibly aware that MrJohn and his wife were very much exhibits in their own museum. They’d amassed so much art there wasn’t any room for them to live in this place, despite it’s palatial dimensions, to such a degree they were now marooned on their sun loungers, bereft of working limbs, left to gurn at bemused tourists as they floated by every morning for 60 minutes. The whole thing was like a Wes Anderson movie or a particularly odd Roald Dahl story. It was one of the most fascinating mornings of this whole trip.

Ok I will write more as a lot has been going on but my 9 year old laptop is proving as temperamental as Gina’s battery. I just wrote this on an iPad with predictive text forcibly on and a space bar that is as sensitive as a butterfly’s wing. I want to frisbee throw it into the sea.

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