This weekend I’ve been enjoying the sight of our son…chipolata legs and squishy feet exposed to the mild May Mediterranean sun in Peanuts-style shorts and sandals….in pursuit (…and being pursued by….) his four adoring Spanish cousins. Meanwhile S was busy back at the Pebbledashed Pad applying Earthborn paint to the bathroom walls. Things were not going well….
“Poured paint into bucket for mixing the mist coat. Went to B&Q. Came back to find paint all over the floor. Hole in bucket. Back to B&Q”
So went the text.
A sympathetic but anxious reply confirmed that the floor had not been a ‘finished’ one meaning little damage was inflicted to anything other than S’s ambitious to-do list. Despite the setback, a FaceTime on Sunday showed off his progress….bathroom ceilings, walls and cutting in of the hallway all completed. Having heard about the varied reactions to our surprise visit….unforeseen in the case of my brother-in-law, nieces, nephews, father and his wife (my sister in cahoots all along) but rumbled by my astute and technology-savvy mum who smelt a rat when my Skype account betrayed me as being offline…. a determined but exhausted S made his excuses to go.
“I need to get another coat on the bathroom walls so I can pack away the plastic sheeting else there will be no shower for me tomorrow” he explained tiredly. Guiltily I said my goodbyes as I sat back down to enjoy another spoonful of homemade paella.
My escape from building work, however, turned out to be short lived. On Monday morning the house filled up with another set of coffee-drinking artisans as my uncle noisily transformed an old shop display case into a patio table by lopping off the legs in a flurry of sparks and my dad repaired a blockwork wall in the garden.
“I came to Spain to get away from DIY” I said as I watched him mix the cement and apply it carefully to the damaged section with a trowel.
“This” he said, reaching for a silicone mould with which to imitate the markings of natural stone “is not DIY. It’s Bob the Buildering” …the reference made all the more pointed due to it being his namesake.
“What you could do with in your house” he added, tongue (thankfully) firmly in cheek “is a little bit of this mould work…”
“Yeah. Maybe not” was my rolled-eyed reply.
Later, over lunch, he made a similarly preposterous suggestion.
“I’ve a hurricane lamp you might like…” he said.
“I’ve seen it” my sister cut in between mouthfuls, “and its disgusting”
“It’s pink glass” said my Dad. “An oil lamp”
“It’s disgusting” my Dads wife, A, agreed nodding.
“It’s in storage for a reason” my sister warned with a knowing look.
“Well don’t be passing your old tat off on me ” I set my rules down clearly. “Nice things we’ll gladly have. But not your horrors.”
Overnight however, my dissmissiveness turned to inquisity. Pink might look quite nice against …say….dove grey walls, I thought. Maybe the spare room?
This morning I sent an email.
“Dad….been thinking about that lamp. Send me a picture….?”
I’m inclined to agree with the ladies….
So whilst spare room palettes remain as yet undecided, jobs this week very much are……Last year my Dad turned his hand, for the first time, to allotmenteering. Knowing that the soil found in a hamlet named Bad Rock was likely to be true to its word, he developed a DIY (or should I say Bob the Buildered?) compost design which, accelerated by the hot sun, turns my sisters family-of-six waste, transported weekly up the coast in a trailer, into nutrient rich compost. His experimental foray into tomato growing culminated in the successful cultivation of more than 100 heavily producing specimens resulting, by the end of last summer, in the majority of the Costa turning green at the sight of the red fruit. This year, as an extension of the nightshade arm of his social enterprise, he has started up a Brassica Factory ….and an ever-patient A has called time.
“Every nook and cranny of my freezer is taken up with blanched broccoli” she lamented. “I find it squeezed between the bread and the ice cream, the lasagne and the fish. I’ve said that’s it. He can have the top two drawers…but that’s it.”
Other freezers are now being called into service, with a bin bag full of brassicas being deposited ceremoniously on my sisters kitchen floor. The haul, combined with a vat of nisperos (known, Wikipedia informs me, as loquats….a delicious fruit with the tang of a raspberry and texture of a peach but awkwardly protected by a thick, (peelable) orangey yellow skin and sporting two to three large stones within) has meant my sister and I have (pleasant) work cut out for us. Today the kitchen turned into a hive of activity whilst O, green eyed with envy, occupied himself in the attempted mimicry of scooter jumps and skidded stops deftly executed by his youngest cousin. Cauliflower cheese, a Broccoli and coconut milk soup (discovered whilst, in the possession of time, I eagerly caught up on some favourite blogs and in doing so discovered Green Kitchen Stories ) a nispero-heavy fruit salad and nispero and apple crumble were created as a thought slowly occurred…..
….The trait of doing nothing by halves is clearly hereditary……