If there is one thing I have learned when using eco paint….or rather haven’t….it’s to read the instructions.
By 9.30 am this morning I was decked in painting gear with roller in hand ready to finish priming the MDF doors with sticky, oily gunk claiming to be ‘VOC 2010 compliant’. If my headache was anything to go by, perhaps made more noticeable having used the odourless Earthborn, the guidelines in 2010 probably didn’t count for much. I ploughed on regardless believing that, to achieve the best finish, that’s precisely what I should do. Returning to the doors painted yesterday to apply Earthborn’s water based eggshell I discovered in horror that the paint was repelling against the oil based undercoat below, pulling itself into a honeycombed layer and sitting obstinately atop the primer.
I read the tin.
‘Apply to untreated wood’ it read ‘or if applying to previously painted surfaces, particularly those painted in oil based products, sand well’.
I cursed loudly. Persistence, eventually, won over and indicated that the battle could be won by working and reworking the paint into the doors firmly with the roller….but it was a somewhat irritated and paint splattered specimen C found as he arrived an hour or so later bearing plywood for the lounge and snug doors. He joined me in my sentiment as I flicked the kettle on.
“B and Queues was horrendous.” he said, rolling both eyes and cigarette at the island. “I got to South London for nine thirty but it took me more than an hour in there”
“You don’t need to apologise to me” I said “you were kept here late last night. By rights you should still be in bed”
“Huh” he acknowledged with a laugh, “yeah, we did have a bit of a big one last night.”
“Oh, did you go out?” I asked
“Oh….no…..” he looked up, “Wii Monopoly. We were up until 1.30.”
Stood in the doorway, cigarette in one hand, mug in the other, he recounted the deals he had made, the property he had bought and the money he had accumulated.
“It sounds like it was a good game” I said.
“Yeah, we’ve got five of them.” he said proudly, “A travel version, standard version, New York version, Wii version and now a ‘streets’ version. You drive around.”
“Speaking of which…” I thought to myself as I steered conversation gently back to our own little green house and tasks for the day, his to complete the snug and lounge doors and plough through a few other little jobs and mine to paint….pausing only to meet my friend for a discussion about the bathroom.
Whilst out I couldn’t resist a fleeting visit to Fired Earth in the hope that I could take advantage of their 3 for 2 offer on paints and match something up to the tiles in the hallway. With their paints boasting fairly high eco credentials my conscience was clear on that front ….as if our choices in paint are going to do anything to dent the carbon footprint we have created here….but my decision making was less so. Fleeting visit made, coffee drunk and bathroom problem solved…my friend having worked her expert magic….I detoured from the carpark back to Fired Earth for a longer, more deliberating second visit. Tile on counter and various painted sheets splayed fanlike around it, the assistant and I reduced the multiple-hued menu to a more manageable three options…… ‘Modernist White’ a bluish grey misleadingly described, ‘Peace and Quiet’ a paler blue tinted white and ‘Sissinghurst White’…a, well, white.
On the drive home to ponder, again, various shades of pale I realised with previous absent clarity that I’ve been here before….