Thank you Pat,
I did think it would take a long time to grout, so then having to paint over it was just a consequence I thought I'd have to bear!
I do have the patience of Job (so I've been told)
It did take me 11.5 hours to stick down the hawk alone (only 95 pieces) - when I can work out how to post pictures I will, but believe me I'm in for the long run - I'm on a mission! It will not defeat me!!!
Perhaps if I can (eventually) post a picture, it will give some idea of the size of the "issue"
I'd like to get it right first time, maybe white is the way to go?
Thanks for the advice anyway - I think you may be right!