“Catastrophe” – the Comedy and Salvador Dali


Dali's Christ of St. John on the Cross

Dali’s Christ of St. John on the Cross

Don’t know about you, but I’ve been laughing my way through the series “Catastrophe” on Channel 4 and 4oD about an American guy and an Irish women living in London who meet at an airport by chance, have an amazing week of sex and then separate never to meet again.

But Fate intervenes. Girl gets pregnant. Boy stands by girl and moves to London and as they adjust to their new situation the series twists, turns and has me laughing out loud every few minutes. To be recommended.

Tonight’s episode along with the laughter, handled an issue that is still very close to my heart after nearly thirty years. Should I or should I not have an amniocentesis. I was 40 when I had the surprise of my life when I found out I was pregnant after a 10 year gap since the last baby. A geriatric mother.

The risks of Down’s syndrome and other complications were higher than if I’d been 10 or 20 years younger. One way of finding out is to have an amniocentesis test well into the pregnancy. We thought long and hard about whether to go ahead because there is a  risk of miscarriage from the actual test, which involves a needle going through the abdomen to take a sample of the amniotic  fluid looking for chromosome abnormalities. I knew it wouldn’t hurt, but the thought was daunting.  What to do.

In the end, I decided to take the test, because I had two other thriving children and if there was going to be an issue, I wanted to be prepared. I knew from previous experience that I could never personally decide to have an abortion. In the end, all was OK and I had a healthy baby boy.

The hospital in Glasgow was at Yorkhill, near the Kelvingrove Art Museum. I remember the test was scheduled for the afternoon and we had some time to wait, so we went to the museum and there was Dali’s painting “Christ of St. John on the Cross”, one of my all time favourite works of art.  I stood in front of it and knew that I would be OK whatever decision I made, and that gave me the courage to go ahead with the test.

I had first seen that painting in a gallery in New York as part of a Dali retrospective. I went to the loo and passed a gentleman with a silver tipped cane and moustache gesticulating wildly and discussing the work with a colleague. I thought to myself “There really are some weird people in New York” and didn’t realise until I rejoined my friends that I’d seen the artist himself, touring his exhibition.

So I’ve always had a fondness for that painting and it was most appropriate that it should offer me comfort and protection in one of the most difficult decisions of my life.


About lynngrayross

A mother and grandmother with over 40 years of experience in textile arts. Author of "Handweaving: the Basics" published by Bloomsbury UK. Available to purchase from www.bloomsbury.com

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