It’s a very bad time of year to be decorating, what with snow on the ground and ice in the wind, so call me eccentric but I’m deep into the bedroom. The reason for this unseasonable activity is that since the arrival of a sofa Actually Big Enough to Sleep On!!! I am now able to paint a room which has been annoying me with its tawdry muckiness for years. I’ve already tackled the mould and one wall is cupboards which I’m not going to touch so it’s basically three walls and a ceiling. I’ve actually made a start on the ceiling and made a right pig’s ear of it because I can’t see what the hell I’m doing. So I’ll just have to spend a few more hours flailing wildly around with the roller and hope for the best.
And here’s the lovely sofa that made it all possible.
You know that moment when you are just about to turn your computer off and it tells you it needs updating so you spend the next half hour watching a progress bar that isn’t really a progress bar because it doesn’t actually tell you how far you’re progressing but sits there not moving and then rushes to the end? Well this post is like that in no way at all except that it concerns progress. My progress.
First, the lurgy. I went to the doctor about the rash and was prescribed a cream which seems to be doing the trick, though it hasn’t entirely cleared up. In between bouts of fatigue I’ve been decorating. I gave up on the wrong shade of mustard and went to B and Q clutching a small piece of wall to see if they could match it. They could! It was quite exciting; first the computer did a lot of thinking, then it did some beeping and finally it spat out a label. Then the woman opened a tin of white paint and held it under a sort if rainbow tap which dribbled in the right amount of colour. Then came the really exciting part: the jiggling. The pot was sealed and placed inside the jiggler and off it went, jiggling at 650 jumps per minute until the paint was well and truly mixed. I took it home and bingo! itmatched.
This week I have been decorating Peter’s flat, a job which will continue for the next week or two.
Well, what have I been doing in the surprisingly cold and horribly wet month of August? Did I make it to the coast? Did I manage to walk the Grand Union canal from Loughborough to the Trent and then south to Leicester? What books did I read? What films and TV did I watch? Did I manage to decorate the study?
Read on: all will be revealed. With photos.
In some ways August was a bit of a hectic month, with one close relative being taken into hospital with serious problems and a friend coincidentally being in the same hospital at the same time, albeit with less serious problems. They both needed stuff but couldn’t be visited and at one time things looked perilous for one of them. Thankfully that person is now home and recovering but it was touch and go for a while.
On the plus side, my major achievement was decorating the study. This was in a horrible state with peeling wallpaper and a filthy ceiling; the washing and stripping took ages. I had all the furniture piled up in a teetering pile in the centre of the room and worked round it. There was a great deal of cursing and swearing and at one point when on the hottest day of the year (31 degrees) I kept knocking things over and having to work around the internet hub because the other hub kept going off and having stripped one wall to find underneath a surface like cold porridge which I despaired of painting and I DID NOT FEEL APPRECIATED BY ANYONE!!! I had a complete meltdown. But after that things got much better and I’m happy to say everyone appreciates the result, most of all me. The walls are a fresh lime green contrasting with the pristine white ceiling and woodwork. It’s very satisfying.
My other big achievement was in sewing. Having put the study to rights I wanted another project, it being too wet to walk much, so I got out my zippy Frister and Rossman, much more flash and whizzy than my old trusty trundler of a Singer, and finished a blouse I’d begun three years before. I then needed some trousers to go with it so zipped down to Sarah’s shop on Ashby Road and got some delicious plum poly-cotton which I swiftly made into a pair of flared trews. And there you are.
I did manage some walking earlier in the month before the rain set in. I walked North to Normanton on Soar, a total of six miles, and then from Normanton to Zouch, a short but picturesque stroll with the son. The chain ferry in Normanton is of course out of action but another day I parked up at Zouch and walked to Sutton Bonnington. The land is owned by Nottingham University as a forestry project so there are pleasant walks around, but I stuck with the canal until I got to a part where all the anglers seem to hang out. Anglers are not usually a problem but these guys seemed to have the most enormous rods (fnarr, fnarr) which practically spanned the whole canal and reached back covering the entire towpath. This must have been very inconvenient for them as every time a walker came past they had to move the rod out of the way. It wouldn’t have mattered so much if there’d been only one or two, but as I rounded the bend there were more and more of them and in the end by the time I’d run the gauntlet of about 25 anglers and their enormous rods, I decided to go back a different way. So I took a path to Sutton Bonnington, a pleasant village with a few 17th century houses where the top overhangs the bottom for the purposes of slinging out the slops into the street, and from there struck out across the fields. It was a hot day and I was glad to see the car again, though I’d only done five or six miles.
Another day I walked to Barrow from Loughborough, a total of 8 or 9 miles. So I’ve not been idle.
During the evenings I’ve been watching some good box sets, but I’ll tell you about those another day. Meanwhile here are some photos:
It’s been an entire week since I posted but I’ve got a note to excuse me in the shape of the photo above, because I’ve been decorating a part of our house which a friend eloquently christened the Futility Room. It’s a good name because the futility room houses the washing machine in which we wash clothes which then get dirty again faster than you can say Nicky Morgan (why Nicky Morgan? I’ll get to that…) Anyway, the futility room was horrid; covered in peeling and faded dusky pink paint with large blooms of black mould all over. It was not a pleasure to go in there. So over the previous weeks I’ve set about cleaning, unmoulding, stain blocking and painting. And then as you can see I’ve been creative – so the futility room is a delightful shade of sunset yellow with some strategically placed orange suns.
So much for the futility room. And then there’s Friday Room which on Friday was addressed by local MP Nicky Morgan on the subject of Brexit. It was interesting on various levels, not least to observe her skill in working the room. She charmed people with a mixture of genuine conviction and carefully placed suggestion and I was left with the thought that the two were woven together absolutely seamlessly. You can’t help admiring that in a politician even as you deplore it: Morgan will be a formidable enemy and a hard person to dislodge in an election. Otherwise it was an interesting, wide-ranging and, as is usual with Friday Room, respectful discussion, even if we didn’t learn much about Nicky Morgan’s views on the way forward. She is a passionate remainer who believes the referendum result should stand though we ought to have a parliamentary vote on the final deal. She thinks we should stay in EFTA (the European Free Trade Association) otherwise the discussion was mostly about the past; the mistake of not setting rules about referendums in general including a threshold for making major changes; the reasons which led to the vote being as it is and her desire to represent all her constituents (I have a certain amount of scepticism about her ability to represent me, as she keeps voting for public sector cuts and renewing Trident.)
Sorry folks, I’m busy painting this week so haven’t got around to blogging. And as I’m slapping on the thickish emulsion I’m thinking about how paint used to be: thin as water, dripping everywhere, no rollers and needing three coats of everything. Before thick paints came in it really was intolerable; no wonder people only decorated once every twenty years or so. But the cleaning really is the worst thing; washing ceilings and tweaking the grime from its lurking-place behind the pipes, not to mention sanding radiators, it really is a pain. You just wish you could gather the whole room up, bung it in the shower and then subject it to a brisk rub-down after which it could go for a nice jog to dry off and then you’d be ready.
But you can’t complain at the number of gadgets available to the modern decorator; from brushes that don’t splay out when drying (we used to wrap ours in rubber bands) to paint pads to rollers (imagine painting a ceiling without a roller!) to little gloss rollers (I love those) life is just so much easier nowadays.
In other news, we now have a new garden strimmer. Daniel asked if we were going to name it. Now I know I call the car Bertie but I thought this was going a bit far. ‘What would we call it?’ I said.
‘Arnold,’ he rejoined. Took me a moment to get it: