Plonk and sugar soap

Monday July 17, 2006

“The more I see of these kitchen walls the more I find them acceptable,” Graham said as we were taking a coffee before starting work this morning.

“I agree. Acceptable. Not desirable, though.”

“Well, no, but I don’t think we need paint them before we move in. You’ve scrubbed ’em and all the grubbiness has gone. Let’s leave them until we come to decorate properly over the winter.”

“I’m not going to argue that one. Especially on a hot day like this I’m not going to argue that one.”

“Right. Let’s do that, then.”

“Fine by me. That means I have only four rooms and the outer hall to paint.”

And off we went about our designated tasks. Graham set to the job of cleaning the ovens, which were thick with grease and unpleasantness, and then to filling and sanding the minor imperfections on the walls in the study and living room. I repaired to the pink and lilac bedroom to resume scrubbing.

We’d had things to do on our way to the house, making our start a lot later than we’d have liked, so I knew I’d not be able to get much done before it got too hot for me. I managed to thoroughly clean one complete wall before having to give up in a pool of perspiration and a modicum of huffing and puffing.

“Let’s have lunch,” I said. “Then I’ll get cracking to get the dial-up connection going.”

“Why don’t you try just one more time to get the broadband account? Seems silly to go to all the trouble for dial-up if broadband is only a few days away.”


“Yeah. I know. Even so.”

“Well, alright, but I’ve very little hope that it’ll be anywhere near ready yet.”

It was with a heavy heart that I settled myself on a chair in the outer hall and dialled the British Telecom number. I’ll not go into the detail. It was a long, dreadfully long call, being passed from pillar to post and waiting in interminable queues, and there was no definite resolution. I put the phone down with commendable gentleness, and groaned once more.

“Told you so,” I said.

“It’s unbelievable.”

“No. It’s beyond unbelievable.”

“Wish I hadn’t suggested it now.”

“Don’t worry about it. You were right. Shame British Telecom doesn’t do a bit more in the way of right, that’s all.”

And that was about it for the house for another day. It is, as forecast, getting hotter and hotter day by day, and is expected to get as far as the mid-30°s by the middle of the week before easing off again. I’d be loving it if I didn’t have a job of physical work to do. Lolling with a book in the shade on a hot day is a wonderful way to enjoy summer.

We had a good dinner, and rather too much wine, and I collapsed into bed considerably before mid-night, to sleep like a log until about five, when I had to get up to rehydrate before resuming a heavy sleep until about seven-thirty.

I’ll be going over to the house again tomorrow, on my own, and shall get at least one more wall done before I have to stop. Then, I’ll cool down over my lunch and have a go at making a dial-up connection.

It’s difficult to pull much of note out of the days just now, filled with doggedly applied routine as they are. I shall welcome the return of interesting times when all this is done. Not too interesting, you understand, but it’ll be good to have a few days of wine and roses rather than plonk and sugar soap.



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