The archaeology of paint

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Autumn, and though the days are shrinking there is lots of colour in the scattered leaves. On a trip to Brixton Windmill recently, I saw the leaf above; it had been spattered with paint and returned to the wild, perhaps by a very young artist.

The snail chalked in a nearby playground was just as ephemeral. The mural in the playground, and the jolly lettering on the Windmill Cafe (complete with rooftop Alsatian) will last a little longer.

In the archaeological sense, most of the painted surfaces that brighten our days will not survive; nor will woodsmoke, laughter or the Portuguese pastel that we ate in the Vera Cruz coffee bar. But they made a lively backdrop for my 49th birthday with friends.

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