Christmas Ends…DIY Starts!
Posted on December 30, 2013
Well we are now over a week into our new home and after celebrating a successful Christmas with all four kids, we are now alone for a few days and the DIY has started with gusto if not relish.
We have decided that the first room to attack is the first one you enter through the front door, thus leading guests in to a false sense of restoration whilst the rest of the house remains the set for A 1970’s sitcom.
Featuring a heavy dose of artex, anaglypta wallpaper, lighting from the Woolworth’s 1977 collection and a heavily boxed in fire place, it is a room that my late mother would describe as “Bastardised.”
So, on Saturday, I set about stripping the anaglypta, a tortuous affair that resulted in the discovery underneath, of yet more wallpaper, tastefully coated in tangerine gloss paint straight from the same era that offered us George and Mildred, Instant Whip and high voltage nylon pants and sheets.
Tackling this task with a four inch decorator’s knife and a bowl of water was a bit like taking on the SAS in a wet duffle coat armed with a pitch fork. The result being a day ended with niggling exhaustion but little progress.
However, not to be deterred, yesterday’ Justine and I headed for the DIY stores in a bid to push things along by equipping ourselves with material more suitable to the task in hand; B&Q in Salisbury being the destination.
Believe it or not, I can be quite creative with decoration and DIY; it is just my general clumsiness that hampers my progress. With this is mind, with every product I buy I have learnt to do a personal risk assessment.
A fine example of this was the bottle of wallpaper stripper I picked up that featured more warnings than a chemical weapons factory. Almost as soon as I perused the various dangers my brain was immediately assessing my potential to mistake it for a beer bottle and inadvertantly take a swig.
A swig that would result in no immediate symptoms but a check-up at Bournemouth A&E that would reveal that over the over next 48 hours, my intestines would disintegrate and my place in the Darwin book of bizarre deaths would be complete.
Still, in the basket it went and Justine proceeded to the blow torch area to contemplate the purchase of equipment to strip the skirting and window frames. After a short debate, she decided that a heat gun would be worth the money as if it didn’t strip the paint; it would at least be useful for making crème brûlées.
As we left the shop, fate took hold in the form of walking past a wallpaper steamer priced at just over £20.00. I accept that to a trained decorator this was undoubtedly a Micky Mouse product but I surmised that if it worked for just one day it would constitute a bargain in my complex value for money book.
So, the chemical solution was returned and at a stroke and my risk assessment was downgraded from hideous death to severe scolding. Once at the till, the lady asked me if, for a further five pounds, I would like to insure the steamer for three years.
It was an offer that was rejected on the basis that it was not only a waste of five quid but also, if I am using this product next week, let alone in three years, I will march back in the store and take a hearty gulp of the wallpaper stripping solution.
Anyway to summarise, the steamer was brilliant. In comparison to the day before, it was like sliding a knife through butter; it was bordering on erotic and it wasn’t long before I was ankle deep in the 1970’s, staring at walls that were almost sighing with relief.
Remarkably, the burner worked too and Justine patiently stripped back decades of white gloss to reveal stunning oak window sills in perfect condition, meaning, for now at least, she won’t have to make crème brûlées to justify her purchase.
No injuries so far then, however, today, I am intending to remove some stubborn mastic with a Stanley knife, a vicious tool that only comes a close second to a chainsaw in my personal DIY nightmares.
Here we go….