This week O and I have been housebound save for multiple trips to the doctors… a paranoid mother seeking reassurance that the prescribed cocktail of ibuprofen, paracetamol and sweet, yellow antibiotics (delivering with each medicinal spoonful a dose of childhood nostalgia) was indeed working to ease my baby’s swollen tonsils and red ear. So it was pyjama-ed and cross legged at the window that an unannounced visitor found us, faces pressed to the glass, watching intently as a snail made its long and arduous journey across the patio.
“Door” said O as he heard the familiar jangle of the deadbolt…an inherited irritation we have yet found the time to rectify. “Daddy” he went on to predict.
“Its not Daddy, baby. He’s gone to work” and thinking it was more than likely just the rain I turned to see the sillouhette of a man attempting to gain entry with what looked ominously like his own key. With my flash of panic subsiding….his modest height gave him away….he was in before I could make it to the door.
“Snail.” Said O in greeting.
“Hello K” I said more conventionally. “We weren’t expecting you.”
“Hello. Snail? Show me” and taking O’s outstretched hand he allowed himself to be led to the glass doors from where he crouchingly resumed our inquisitive observation of the snails surprisingly fast progress (its an urban myth, this slow thing…you should see how quickly they ate through my basil).
“Ah. There he is.” K pointed.
“Snail.” O said again, matter of a factly.
“Coffee?” I asked, thinking I may as well adopt this less-is-more conversational style.
“Only if you are making one” K replied, unfolding himself back to full (ahem) height.
“We are home sick this week.” I said in red-faced explanation of our relaxed attire. “So I’ve been making coffee all day for three days…. I’m happy to make more.”
“I was passing and knew you needed the hallway radiator back on and the bedroom one off” he said by way of his own explanation. “So I thought Id swing by.”
“I’ll just go up and get us dressed.”
“Oh. Before you do….just need to get to the radiators in those rooms…” And with that he bounded up the stairs ahead of me. I sighed inwardly as I realised our relaxed two’s company morning was about to become a crowd and called up after him.
“Ok. We’ll wait. We were going to write some cards to the grandparents…we’ve been busying ourselves with painting this week and made some” I said. “So we’ll stay down here out of your way.”
We had indeed been painting….O with his finger paints and me with my tester pots as I eagerly began putting my friend’s advice into action.
Earthborn ‘Milk Jug‘ had been swatched…..admittedly gorgeous but a touch too blue. Then ‘The Lido‘ was tried…..too bold though I’m tempted to paint out the utility cupboard in it for a delightful thwack of cheering colour on opening. Fired Earth Ultramarine Ashes was next….also beautiful but the darkness of the room deepening it to the vetoed grey…. but it was their lighter Marram….like the grass, a fine light tint between blue and grey …or so says their marketing department….which is going to be The One. Cheerful yet intense in colour it feels like the perfect choice to brighten yet cosy up the room. Whats more, S is in agreement……if indeed you can call it that..
“There’s some samples on the wall.” I announced as we carried steaming bowls of pasta through to the lounge for our lazy TV dinner.
“Oh. I didn’t notice” he replied
“I think I’ve found the right colour” I said, settling next to him as he reached for the remote.
“Get on with it then” came my green flag.
With some posters on the wall….three each, I suggested, as we swiped our way like kids in a candy store around a poster-art website (my eye is on a scooting squirrel as a humorous nod to O’s park antics where over-friendly ‘wirrals’ will often abbreviate his fun. S’s is….and I’ve yet to quite work this one out though I like it ….an ornately patterned teacup….) and with a sofa bed in one corner and in all probability the relocation of the blue sofa which currently sits looking awkwardly out of place in our kitchen and we’ll have the closest thing to a snug as the room will allow. The jury is still out on the library wall….a recycling wood workshop in Brighton is apparently able to make something out of sanded scaffold boards for a fair but still costly price ….so current options are doctored Ikea shelving or the stacked and painted wine box idea…..hunt now on for a vineyard or wine merchant willing to sell us a robust job-lot…..
Speaking of selling, the fated black dressing table was moved shortly after receipt of wise advice (and with no consultation with any other Pebbledashed Pad residents) to the temporary ‘hold’ of the spare room and its portrait uploaded to eBay….(current bid £35 with 45 watchers …..though if some of those voyeurs don’t soon put their money where their mouthes (eyes?) are a replacement may not be forthcoming). Its absence from the room was not missed. Instead the space it left behind felt both inspiring and liberating. With what should it now be filled? A rug? A dresser? Cabinet? Small desk? Some hooks on the wall? The distressed painted frames I have spent the last few weeks painting and sanding which I had then planned to arc around the now ousted desk? The honest answer is that I’m clueless so for now the charity shop-bought ‘linen cupboard’ is serving as temporary make-up storage while I continue to ruminate thoughtfully….. a process which has yet to hit upon any bright ideas for the bedroom but has inspired a teal-hued one for the cupboard in question…..to be shortly coated in Fired Earth’s South Bank.
Having written our cards, O and I then piled them into a drawstring bag which he donned importantly before making our way the few short paces to the postbox for air and a stretch of the legs. Upon our return I offered K restorative chicken soup (he declined) before asking for his electricians number. Our kitchen extractor hood has at last arrived and as soon as it’s installed the house can be signed off by building control. He made a few phone calls.
“He’ll come with the plasterer tomorrow” he said ‘and we can get this all finished off for you.”
“Finished” I said eyeing the hallway and snug “is exactly where we want to be. Chinese water torture is what it feels like as we try and get there.”
He looked at me warily. I like to believe he knew better than to ask anything more.
That evening I warned S.
“Plasterer is coming tomorrow as is the electrician…so we need to get the bedroom cleared and the extractor fan ready. I won’t be in….if O’s feeling better Ill take him out to get away from the plaster dust.”
With a sigh S headed upstairs.
“Do we have any idea what this might cost?” The Finance Director asked.
“Nope” came the unsatisfactory reply.
The dressing table was manhandled back into the bedroom to fill the once cleared space alongside not just the linen cupboard but also the old school desk (to become the guest room dressing table once a complimentary stool is found), picture frames, mirrors and bedding. The net result of my de-cluttering has therefore ended up in:
a) The room once again looking a mess
b) No access to my wardrobe.
Never mind, I rallied myself. It’s for one day. I’ll wear today’s summer dress and by tomorrow we can revert to normal.
Tomorrow rained. Tomorrow the plasterer didn’t come.
But that’s tomorrow’s story….