I’m chomping down on what can only be described as a marmalade pizza. It’s a fat heel of “Nutty Crust” bread, lightly toasted, every inch of which is slathered in thick -cut “Fruitfield Old Tyme” Seville orange marmalade and full-fat “Golden Cow” butter.I can feel my arteries a-tremble. Toast is one of the pleasures in life . I’m drawing breath again after a week of painting and decorating .So much for the the Big Election sweeping across the lower part of the country ….I was otherwise engaged. They’ll be wrestling with the results for a few weeks by all accounts. On a vastly more important note, the living -room needed decorating again….twice over in this case!
It went something like this : The good wife began gradually putting the “fix” in several weeks ago in a “graduated assault” to soften me up for the task . Hints were being dropped like large noisy stones on a tin roof, as to the veracity of my memory and the length of the time-span since the last bout of decorating. You know how time flies ever faster , every year as you get older? How it compresses until you can barely imagine how you’ll have time to do anything other than sleep and eat in any given day? No more the listless ,timeless langour of youth… just the speedy flash of days zipping past…Well it makes you such an easy mark for the vixenish wiles of the female , with decorating on her mind .The years flash by so quickly that you can’t actually remember when you last held a large paint brush or roller .Surely we got the decorator in only a couple of years ago to do that room? The fact is you’ll find it hard to remember anyway. It’s hard enough grasping what year it is sometimes or what you did last month…..or last week.I’d no excuse to readily dredge up , of course .
Let’s face it, the wind is howling outside and it’s colder than a witch’s tit out there so the honeybees are still inside and there’s no point in pretending to do some gardening. It’s warmer in here .
“What else are you doing anyway except sit there writing , painting and drawing and strumming that guitar? It’ll do you good to get away from that computer for a while, too”. Of course , she had a point there.
The next thing I knew, the colour charts arrived home and then the paint.”Aged White mid” it was called . A beigey , buttermilky off-white concoction that was obviously the latest confection of the month in Decoratorland.
I got the overalls and the rollers, brushes and paint trays from the shed, noting as I did that the shed was due a good clearing-out too…. one of these days … and began to prepare the room. Those four big Alphonse Mucha framed prints of graceful 1890’s pinup -ladies depicting the four seasons ,from the long- since defunct ” Athena Prints ” ,that we’d had these past nearly forty years since those early days of wedded bliss. ,were screwed down first. ; followed by the huge heavy mirror which was also screwed to the wall. The curtains came down and the sofas were covered and pushed into the centre of the room . The bookcases, thankfully could be covered and moved without hawking and heaving all those piles of books out of the room .There are always more of them than meets the eye…..and where to put the buggers…?
I was ready .The ceiling was first and then I started into the walls. One day later and the skirtings and doors were egg-shelled to completion .the job was done…..muscles that hadn’t ached for months ached anew.
“It’s a bit …brighter than I thought it would look”, said the good wife with a tone that implied some slight , hesitant lacking of enthusiasm. “Well…you picked it ” says I feeling a glimmer of dread forming behind my eyes.”It’ll probably dry out okay and tone down a bit when we put all the stuff back into the room, anyway”, said I, with a slight fluttering flame of dismay kindling to life in the depths of my brain.
I stifled down the growing dread and proceeded to affix the big heavy prints back up.Electric screwdrivers are a boon , I was thinking , remembering how I used to juggle the weight of those framed prints as I fixed them with the old -fashioned turn -in -your -fist kind in the past …and at least the modern paints don’t send my sinuses into uproar as they used to do ..I recalled the paint running down to my wrists in the good old days.Things were much easier now I kept thinking. Technology has made it all a comparative doddle .Soon the room was back to normal.Everything crisp , brand new and Spring-cleaned.
“Do you know how much they wanted for getting those curtains dry-cleaned?” said the good wife .”Sixty five pounds” , she rejoined .I added ..”Hell…you could buy new curtains for the price” ., I answered. “That’s what I said when I took they away” , she continued . “A good vacuuming will sort them out…What ‘s the worst that can be on them except for flyshit” says I . thinking it would be the rare fly that got the chance to settle in our household. “Sure you wouldn’t let dust light on anything, anyway”, I continued, knowing how fastidious my dear wife was with her household cleaning regime.”Sometimes to the point of OCD , I was thinking , mentally noting how many items of my clothing that had been destroyed by the pink staining of bleach unintentionally picked up about the place . …all those navy blue jumpers with the tell-tale pink spots.My wife ran a tight, clean ship ,alright.Germs had no life at all in her regime.
So the curtains went back up on their little rings.”Christ”, I was thinking as I hoisted their full weight , “These things don’t get any lighter as the years peel by “.
One day later I could just see the tiny wheels turning behind her eyes. There was something not quite right with the room .It wasn’t what she’d hoped for .It was more yellowy than the beigey -ivory nebulous colour she envisioned. We’d been at this point a few times over the years .There had been what I’d refer to as the “psychedelic years ” of vibrant , vivid lime greens in the children’s bedrooms…the times when you needed sunglasses to stave off incoming headaches. Oh fashion is a fickle thing alright .Those days were long gone along with shellsuits, mad hairdos and other momentary abominations of style.We hadn’t arrived back in that zone by any means but there was something that was not quite gelling .
A day later it all but exploded into the room .
“I don’t like it …it’s awful …it’s too bright and cheap-looking” .Part of me was agreeing but the other part…..the bit that would have to go throught the entire performance one more time, was struggling and fighting back. .It was useless , of course. I knew it ,but I was fighting to accept the inevitable.She arrived home with another can of paint. This one was called “Moonflower” or somesuch but you could have slipped a hair between the shade of it and the one that was already covering the walls……There it was…. a fait acompll.
So I did it all again . Everything was moved out once more .Guitars were stashed in the sunroom , sofas were covered , the prints came down again , as did the big heavy mirror and the curtains.

So there it was ..another momentary respite back at the keypad, another job completed…and I see that they still haven’t gotten around to forming a government down beyond the Norneverland border.They’d need someone like my dear wife in the room to get that particular job done, methinks….