Today I found myself going off piste. Or, more accurately, off liste.
I started off rather well and completed, finally, the purchase of the majority of our bathroom sanitary and brassware (its not brass….or rather it will be inside but externally we’ve gone for a Victorianesque chrome and enamel look….but ‘brassware’ I have learned on this process is apparently the professional term). Best of all I did it from the refuge of a coffee shop.
Returning home I found a card on the doormat. According to the scribble, ten minutes after I’d left this morning Royal Mail had attempted to deliver a parcel. I sighed.
“I think this might be the handles I ordered” I told C, waving the card. “Do you need them today?”
In the spirit of Reduce, Reuse blah blah blah, that ol’ mantra we have done spectacularly well at not embracing, so as not to waste the sample oak handles we had bought and subsequently vetoed for the kitchen units I suggested we use them on the utility doors instead. All were in agreement, meaning another two sets to accompany the first were required. This parcel, I hoped, contained these in addition to the sample D bar handle we have our fingers crossed will be the one we actually use in the kitchen. A trip back out wasn’t in the plan for today however. Continuing my work on the plaster cornicing, banisters and posts and stripping the final bit of paint from the moulding on the larder door was.
“They would come in handy” said C from beneath the counter in the laundry cupboard, busily boxing in the pipe work.
I growled internally. I’ll make a few more phone calls first, I decided. One of which was to a tile shop to place an order for slate for our shower enclosure using C’s kindly leant trade card. No purchase using the card could be made over the phone, I was told curtly. Nor online….I would need to go to a store. I growled again. So bloody be it.
Sat outside the post office, eagerly ripping through tape and plastic to find only one half of the handle order I had placed, my phone rang. It was a bathroom shop we had discovered online which stocked a particular bath we once tried and tested on a blissful weekend away. Noting down its name S and I have spent a fair amount of time trying to track it down. To no avail. Out of stock and discontinued. I called S, a sterling advocate of the bath thus far, with the news.
“Sod it” was his wearied response. “Let’s knock this on the head. We’ll buy another bath.”
Both in agreement I started the car and continued on my bathroom quest. Tiles. The journey turned out to be time begrudgingly well spent. The shops display demonstrated that the one-tile sample we had received wasn’t really indicative of how a wall of slate might look – the bluish grey colour we had both plumped for blooming to a viscious golden yellow across the wall. Wandering the shop, an assistant irritatingly in tow, offering up our desired flooring and bath wall tile against a varying selection of options I was notably lacking in an epiphany. Instead I indecisively bought a sample and returned to the car, making a hastily new plan to visit a second shop. Similarly uninspired I finally returned home, a couple of unexciting samples under my arm, to finally recommence in a somewhat dour mood my relationship with the eco stripper.
As I worked away on the larder door, accompanied by Absolute Eighties and tales of ex girlfriends, ex wives, finances, body building and the intergenerational scrapes gotten into by C’s father, brother and grandfather I attempted to lighten the mood.
“Your mum chose well with the names she gave you and your brother” I said “they are lovely names.”
C’s chest visibly puffed as he nodded aided, it would seem, by his iron pumping.
He continued to fasten drawer fronts to the cupboards, mostly the right way round though there has been one error thus far with a replacement from the kitchen company now needed.
“Do you know” he said suddenly, “that there is only one place in the world where I can buy a mug with my name on?”
“Goodness” I replied, “where is that?”
“Have a guess” he encouraged.
“Scotland” he interjected.
“Yeah” he sighed wistfully. “I’ve had two Scottish neighbours and each time they promised to bring me one back ……but they always forgot so I never did get my mug with my name on.”
He picked up his coffee to take a cold sip, his company name and logo emblazoned on the front. I felt that epiphany coming on. Coffee the stronger the better, was exactly what was needed. Retreating upstairs I made myself a sneakily secret cup and drank it on the stairs, alternately contemplating my banister post and flicking through yet another bathroom brochure as I drank.
There, in front of me, was an almost identical bath to the one we had been so blindly coveting. A picture was sent to S. A reply in the relieved positive received. Tomorrow it will be ordered.
Leaving me now only with the issue of these tiles…..