Storms battered the UK this week though our tiny part of London got away fairly lightly, all things considered. Our garden looks a little more unkempt than it did before the winds arrived but most people (i.e our neighbour as he peers down from his back bedroom window) are unlikely to attribute its windswept appearance to the weather as, with a few pots having taken a tumble and O’s plastic car upturned, its really not looking very different from its state pre-storm. In the absence of any threat of humans bearing mower, hoe or garden shears the garden has been steadfastly growing in an unruly manner at the rate of knots resulting in an untamed wilderness punctuated by the odd sighting from amidst the grass of a deflated and crustacean-attracting paddling pool. So whilst the damage the hurricane effected outside our house was admittedly minimal, the improvements made by another hurricane (of different make-up but equal velocity) have been monumental. The arrival of my sister.
On Day One all kitchen shelves had been dusted and pots polished, floors swept and surfaces wiped…and that was in between escorting my Nan across London to a reunion and playing trains with O…the setting up of the extensive new track around the island – gifted by the younger of O’s set of four older Spanish cousins – taking almost half an hour if all tunnels, bridges, twists and turns were to be utilised. Day Two saw me being frog marched to the hardware shop for a hard-bristled broom with which to sweep our newly cleared front hard standing, a job my sister promptly set about doing within minutes of us arriving home. Day Three saw the laundry cupboard reorganised and hallway floor mopped. So with the house blissfully clean and fuelled by the energy (….if it could be bottled she would be a millionaire….) of an ally at my side enjoying, apparently as much as I do, the musing of frame arrangements and the contemplation of curtains….more progress has been made this week than in quite a number of recent ones put together.
The sanded and oiled Ebay dressing table was heaved upstairs and the (what will be) linen cupboard wrestled down to await its own makeover…to the amusement of my Nan listening below. An ill-timed joke….alas I remember it not else I’d share….tickling my sister to the point that she had to stand mid-flight, with cupboard weighing down uncomfortably against her shoulder, twisting her legs tightly against the unfortunate result of laughter on a body which has undergone the natural birth of four children.
O’s room was rearranged to better accommodate his much loved Big Boys Bed against a wall in a bid to prevent nocturnal tumbles and in doing so the little box drawers originating from the Shoe Rack Formerly Known As Chest went under the surgeons screwdriver to have their handles removed. They are now transformed into a (steady) functional bedside table within which the as yet unread collection of (sexist…..ever noticed?) Mr Men books can be housed.
O’s oak bookcase, bought months ago in a charity shop but not serving its purpose particularly well with its sliding glass doors preventing easy access by a two year old to his literary collection, was hefted downstairs, humped onto next doors skip and the glass doors smashed before being hoovered out and returned to the furniture restoration workshop (snug) to take its ticket and wait in line for its makeover. All done, I might add, in as much of a sneakily hushed manner that it is possible to adopt when smashing glass with a hammer, so as not to arouse the suspicion of my husband who would have gallantly insisted that we wait for him to do it instead. My sibling waits for no man and I, sniggering like a naughty child behind her, was only too happy to take her lead.
Frames were selected from my motley collection, sanded, oiled and painted. Fixings were bought …unnecessarily it would turn out as S has wisely anticipated the amount of picture hanging he has awaiting – judged, I’d imagine, by a sagging loft full of charity finds – and had already prepared for the worst. Templates were made, stuck and re-stuck until a satisfactory arrangement had been reached and content was considered if not actually found.
A visit to Lewisham’s Aladdin’s Cave took place, resulting in no purchases …only disbelief that such a place existed with its ceiling hanging chocablock with chairs…..”What would happen if you actually wanted to buy something?” my sister asked disdainfully. A more purse-puncturing visit to Ikea (why is it that your yellow bag of items all costing a few quid always…and I mean always….adds up to £139.98?) followed where lampshades, curtain wire and curtain panels were bought and bedside tables for S’s side of the bed, (I’m on the hunt for one of those vintage floor lamps with table encorporated to serve as mine), were considered and then ousted from the yellow depths at the last minute. I wasn’t sure my sisters recommendation, although rather nice, was him. My hunch was right.
“I’m perfectly ok with the cardboard box I have, pet.”
Curtain elastic (it’s not called that is it? But you know what I mean….) was cut to fit within an hour of returning home from our shopping trip, installed beneath the pole from which will eventually hang the heavy, puddling expensive curtains as specced by the man from Eighty Four. Meantime Ikea’s soft, billowing voiles were hung offering my Nan, who had begged to be allowed to sleep on the sofa ( (I promise…do not report me for Nan Neglect…..she vouches for it as a comfy alternative to a bed as its deep enough ‘to get your back into’) some belated privacy.
So with the meteorological hurricane having caused significant damage to my place of work (abseilers had apparently been called upon to check the safety of the roof) and me relishing the productivity and company of the human version, a call telling me to stay at home an extra day was excitedly received. Within minutes of returning home from depositing O safely at nursery Nan had settled down to a crossword and I had begun fannying about with paint and frames. Meanwhile my younger sister had fired up the sander. Bish bash bosh. O’s bookshelves were sanded and prepped for me to oil and paint out their interior. Bish bash bosh. Every scrap of varnish had been abraded from the linen cupboard. Cheerily emerging from the dusty depths of the snug covered head to toe in sawdust on the hunt for tea and the last gratifyingly sugared dome of jam doughnut, I joined my Nan in shaking my head in awe. If that’s the secret to abounding energy I suggest we all eat more doughnuts.
I’m off to the bakers now…..
Curtain pole and voiles up….more stuff, lightshade, mirror and pictures….awaiting their turn
Aladdin’s Cave – picture sourced from My Friends House (http://www.myfriendshouse.co.uk/shopping-for-chairs/)