He sat on a large, paint-stained cloth on the ground, his brush in one hand, the pot of paint in the other. A spattering of white paint tainted his hair which was already flecked with grey. There was even a white spot of paint on his upper lip. None of it seemed to bother him. “I wasn’t always a house painter,” he said thoughtfully. “I used to specialise in painting murals.” He placed the half-empty can of paint at his feet and lay the brush across the top of it. “Murals! That was good work,” he added, emphasising the word good as he examined the wall he’d just finished. “Nowadays they project coloured plastic on the walls using computers. No mess … and the results are guaranteed … all in a  fraction of the time.” He rubbed his hands on the cloth and stood, not without some difficulty. “Run along boy,” he said to me. “And when you grow up don’t forget that progress is not always for the good.”

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