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To do or... decorate

The Sailing Fanatic has been looking a bit fed up over the last few weeks, and with good reason – he’s been spending his time sanding, washing and painting.

With the boat out of the water you might think that this is perfectly normal; after all, this is the time of year when all those little maintenance jobs get done. But no. We’re not talking boat here. We are not talking peaceful, pottering afternoons aboard the beloved yacht. We’re talking house. We’re talking industrial, kids-included, decorating.

It’s all down to our recent exciting purchase – a lovely new house. But we are not due to sell our old house for another three weeks and so, in a fit of enthusiasm, we decided that it would be a good idea to decorate the new one before we moved in.

Reality has hit hard. Think artex ceilings, plasterers and décor dated to around 1990. Dust, wallpaper paste, and tiny strips of sticky paper are littered everywhere – and we haven’t even started on the painting! We have chosen the colours though, during a joyous trip to B&Q in which we wandered aimlessly for a good half hour, trying to guess which of the numerous shades, colours and schemes would go best with our numerous shades, colours and categories of brown carpet.

‘What do you think?’ I asked, eventually.

‘Does it matter?’ grumped the Sailing Fanatic. ‘We’ll only buy the colour you like anyway.’

True enough, I thought. But, in an attempt to cheer him up, I said ‘Just think! When this is over you’ll be able to spend the next two months stripping, sanding and painting the boat! More of the same – but out in the cold!’

He perked up instantly. ‘I know! And there’ll be none of this faffing about over eggshell, tapioca or clotted cream paint either. I’ll be straight into the chandlery to get my tin of blue anti-fouling and that’ll be that!'

‘What? You don’t get a choice at all?’

‘Well, I’ll maybe have to decide between light blue and dark blue. That’s choice enough for me!’

‘Great’ I said, holding up two cans of paint. ‘So what d’you think? The light chardonnay? Or the dark one?’

‘When it comes to chardonnay,’ retorted the Sailing Fanatic, ‘I prefer it in a bottle!’

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