No, I haven’t reneged on my childhood vow never to be under the influence of alcohol you’ll be pleased to hear.  Actually we’ve had a great upheaval, or rather I have.  Stevie had to move out of her ‘space’ yesterday so that our front room could be plastered.  We decided to move away from wallpaper towards the more modern smooth, plastered and painted walls after visiting our son and daughter-in-law’s house and seeing what a good job ‘genial’ Gary the plasterer had done to their front room.  Above you can see where I should be sitting writing this blog, but instead I’ve been relegated to the dining room table, which sucks big time, because now we’ve got nowhere to eat as all my computer stuff has taken over.

Just after 07:45 yesterday we had genial Gary knocking on the door.  To be honest, ‘genial’ was the last word I’d use to describe him. Our son had previously winkled out the fact that Gary was going through a costly, messy divorce, and currently had to work 25 hours a day. Huge and taciturn, poor old Gary wheezed and puffed carrying in large sacks of plaster on his shoulders, and emptied the first sack into a bucket that looked as though it had been in use for the whole 35 years of his career.  As I sat at the computer in the dining room I could see the air being filled with a fine white dust.  My nose itched, the surfaces soon looked as if I hadn’t dusted them for years, and Gary wheezed and puffed some more as he mixed the plaster powder up with just the right amount of water.  Plastering is an art form, and when I finally got Gary to speak, he told me with a certain amount of pride that plastering had taken him many years to master.  This is true, and it’s the only household job that Sam can’t do (Sam says his efforts would look more like a silhouette of New York City).

Every now and then Gary would disappear into the depths of his van to have a fag (for our US friends this means smoking a cigarette, and  not a homosexual tryst!).  He would then return somewhat calmer and carry on.  By 4pm the room was finished, Gary was covered in plaster, and the walls looked as smooth as glass.  Sam was awestruck and shook his hand, but all I could think of was poor Gary’s lungs, which were obviously shot through years of smoking and inhaling plaster powder.  Sizing up what must have been a testosterone-fuelled Gary, I think he had obviously been rather too macho to use a mask over the years when mixing up the powder, and I was a trifle sad at the thought that we’d caught Gary towards the end of his career.  When I tentatively mentioned coming back later in the year to plaster another room, Gary stated ominously that he ‘had an operation coming up’, but to call him in August.  Oh dear, let’s hope it’s not a lung transplant.

Now it’s Sunday morning. The plaster is slowly drying, but the room is cold and damp. Condensation runs down the windows, and Stevie’s space is still empty.  If I knew how to add a sad faced emoticon here, then I would.

Update Monday 18th April:

While we’re waiting for fitted blinds I’ve wedged old curtains in the window frames as it’s a shame to drill the new plaster.  Our son came round yesterday to view the devastation.  He took one look at the drying plaster and the old curtains, and said the room resembles a crack den!