Sunday July 16, 2006
I’m always a little hesitant to say that a day has gone precisely to plan. There are generations of peasant farmers standing behind me who would never say such a thing for fear of attracting the attention of some passing misfortune. Even so, I can’t think of anything that’s detracted from the plan. Or added to it.
I got to the house shortly before 10:00 this morning. At that time the back of the house is in full shade, and the front in full sun. The front garden, presently covered in shingle, is featureless and arid. The back is shaded to the left and from the house to about half-way along where the path would be if it were not that the patch is covered in rank grass.
But that’s the garden and, while I can’t wait to get to grips with it, my present task is indoors. After sipping half a mug of black coffee, I made my way to the top floor where I started cleaning the walls in the second bedroom, at the rear. This is painted with two walls in lilac and two in pink, in exactly the same sickly pastel shades we used to get in boxes of sugared almonds.
I knew that I had only a limited time available, so I determined to strip the paper border from and wash the window wall at the very least before I got too hot and time ran out on me. I learned yesterday that, far from being the quickest and easiest wall of a room to prepare for painting—you’d think so, wouldn’t you, since the windows take a significant part of the wall away—it is in fact the slowest and hardest, being all fiddly bits and pieces, including the recess around each of the two windows.
I had to take a break when I was about two thirds along the wall but then, when I returned, I managed to finish the rest of it, empty my bucket and clean up the worst of the mess before the perspiration started running and I knew I’d done all I could hope to do for the day. It’s forecast to be hotter again tomorrow, and the day after, so I’ll stick to this schedule until the end of the expected heatwave.
I closed the top and middle floors down, thinking as I went that the whole place smells right now, and repaired to the dining nook to cool down with another coffee. While I was doing so I checked the cable that goes into the back of the emergency phone set we plugged in on completion day to find that, as Graham had suspected, the plug is exactly the right type to fit into the phone socket on the laptop. I can plug the laptop into the phone any time I like. I intend to attempt to establish a dial-up connection tomorrow during one of my breaks. No reason it shouldn’t work perfectly.
So, back to the caravan, arriving at almost exactly the same time as Graham finished his morning stint. We exchanged our news, I cooked lunch—Ginster’s Cornish pasties and beans—and we siesta’d before he had to go back for the evening shift. He has a full staff on this evening so he’s planning to pop down to the caravan for a social, bringing chilled wine and cheerfulness.
There’s no escaping it. The day has gone according to plan. I ain’t complaining. And, in case any passing misfortune is within earshot, I ain’t boasting, either.