This month I have accidentally found myself face-to-face with a physics conundrum, the second law of thermodynamics which is – in layman’s terms that I can explain no further – a universal law of gradual deterioration and disintegration where order inevitably declines into insidious entropy and chaos. And my house and its décor appears to be the perfect illustration of this.
I have lived in my current home for just over four years. When I moved in it was in beautiful condition and we have tried our hardest to keep it shipshape. But nonetheless, we have been overtaken by a gradual deterioration into threadbare chaos with handprints up the stairs.
We were warned in Genesis, ‘ashes to ashes, dust to dust’, but had hoped that regular trips to Homebase and greeting the children with the loving welcome, “Take your shoes off at the door,” would keep us on top of things – alas, no. And so it’s that time of year (and I don’t mean Valentine’s Day, although, if The Significant Other is reading this, roses would be lovely and B&Q does not constitute a romantic trip out) when weekends roll by without a single BBQ invitation. I couldn’t find any more excuses to avoid painting the house.
Inspired by those New Year DIY commercials in which, within the space of an advert break, happy couples transform a tired living room into something that could grace the pages of OXhomes magazine (whilst singing a song appropriate for a Disney movie) I armed myself with a roller and tray set to give the walls a quick lick of colour. Or that was the plan.
I must have been watching a fantasy channel or I didn’t buy expensive enough equipment – either way, the brush didn’t act as intended (Fairy Godmother’s wand) as the sun streamed through the dust motes, Snow White’s woodland friends conspicuous only by their absence. Perhaps they had been invited to a BBQ.
Our stairs really aren’t the Sistine Chapel or even the Forth Bridge but by the third coat it certainly felt like it. Mind you, the old sheets I used to protect the carpets were, by this point, splattered like a Jackson Pollock so perhaps it was a fairy-tale ending: at least the carpet was saved, although I’m still waiting for Tate Modern to ring.
And as for the garden where I headed next, the ironwork of the patio table and chairs now sparkle in a shiny enamel black and so do I: I am also guaranteed to be rust-free for the next ten years, if thermodynamics don’t get to me first.