Decorating. Before one has children, the term has connotations of a crisp, fresh beginning. Out with the old and in with the new.
However, after one has had children, ‘decorating’ is merely a continual cycle of covering up the damage they have been wreaking throughout your abode.
My husband and I decided to redecorate the hallway last month. This particular area of the house, probably due to its landing-strip shape, is a favourite for our girls to charge up and down during moments when they feel especially demented.
In the past, it was also the favourite place to push their plastic buggies, full of plastic babies. (Or kittens, when our defenseless cats were small.) Subsequently, it was akin to a measuring stick. You could gauge the approximate ages and sizes of the girls via the level of dirty handprint, Weetabix smears, and chipped paintwork. Action was needed.
We trotted off to Homebase and began our paint perusal. And at this point, I’d like to make things a little more interactive for you whilst you read, with a multiple-choice quiz.
Which of the following is not the real name of a shade of paint? Is it: Mole’s Breath, Dead Salmon, or Arsenic? Go on, have a guess.
And this is where I confess to having been a little sneaky by giving you a trick question, for indeed, they are ALL real names for shades of paint. That’s correct, you can paint your hallway, or any other room of your choice, in a shade that is allegedly reminiscent of a decomposing fish.
It goes to show how low down the scale of socialisation my husband and I have slipped, because I was doubled over weeping in Homebase, whilst he shouted out more names through his own guffaws of laughter. We had a fabulous morning out off the back of Farrow and Ball. I have become a very cheap date.
And so, having chosen our own paints, in shades of Snowman’s Fart* and Rigor Mortis** (that’s white and grey to you), we returned home to wield our trusty brushes and transform the hallway.
The problem of course is that, as the rule of decoration states, having one pristine room only serves to highlight the demise of the others. The assertion that shabby is chic was clearly invented by a couple of exhausted parents, blinded by white spirit and Elephant’s Breath.
(* ** Ok, I confess made these up.)
First published in The Portsmouth News, Tuesday 11th November 2014