Tuesday, 24 February 2015

It's all in the preparation

We’re having our hall, stairs and landing decorated. The decorator is proceeding efficiently and with as little disruption as possible but this is the centre of our house. Every room is affected. How can anyone keep their head clear whilst inhaling the fumes of paint, the dust of sanding and the vague aroma of wet wallpaper, not to mention listening to the drone of the sanding machine and stepping around dust-sheets and ladders in order to get anywhere?

I know, for sure, that this would not be the job for me. It’s not only the heights (there’s a scary drop from the top of our stairwell to the ground floor) or the physical dexterity (how do you get floppy bits of wallpaper to embrace the wall with no creases or tears?) 


The main reason that I will never be a decorator is the preparation. Our decorator has spent at least a week preparing. I don’t know about you, but on the odd occasion that I’ve undertaken decorating (and they are pretty odd!) I’ve raced through the prep work in an eager desperation to get to the ‘real thing’. Consequently the finished product is not very professional (understatement!) It’s the same with such practical activities as knitting because I can never be bothered to knit the tension, or baking because I consider sifting flour to be a time-wasting indulgence.

Even my writing lacks the discipline of thorough and efficient preparation. I do edit, maniacally, but that’s only after the initial excitement of spontaneous writing is over. I’ve mentioned this type of writing before. It’s called free-flow, where you just pick up a pen or pencil and write. Ideas emerge that you didn’t even know were in your head. I’ve explained the process here so do have a go, or another go if you’ve tried it before. There’s a ‘writing prompt’ at the bottom of this post. You truly have to go through the process of writing.  Don’t just think about it. There’s no substitution for putting pen to paper.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and make the decorator another mug of tea and dash to the corner shop for more tea bags and milk. She's doing an amazing job and it'll look lovely when she's done, really it will! 


If you'd like a topic for a bit of free flow writing try writing for ten minutes, without stopping to think, about doors. Hey! I said, don’t sit there and think about it! Do it!

15 comments:

  1. Oh Ros, I feel for you- especially doing it in Winter when it's a bit chilly to keep the windows open for some fresh air. We'll have to redecorate the whole downstairs after a nasty leak which made a mess of the ceiling and part of the walls but although it looks awful I'm holding out until the weather's warmer - I get a sore throat from all the fumes.
    Good luck - hope it's over quickly

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    1. Thanks, Ann, yes I heard that it was pretty shivery in Jerusalem right now. Hope it warms up for you soon.

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  2. Oh Ros, I feel for you, with the decorators in. And, like you, I'm a 'wave-the-sandaper-about-then-get-on-with-the-real-thing' sort of woman. So - no more. I get a man or woman in now and leave the house as much as possible (often to read or write in cafes!)

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    1. Sounds like a good plan! *packs up briefcase*

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  3. I hate the preparation and sanding gets everywhere. When we find our new house we're having it decorated before we move in I'm not decorating again. Hope it's over soon. I'll try the writing.

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    1. Having the work done before you move in sounds like a good idea, Anne. Let me know how the writing goes.

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  4. The last time I had the decorator in was to paint most of the house.This was in the summer so the windows and
    doors could be open to keep the fumes down. When I asked him was he ready for another mug of tea he said "yes please and may I have a radio tuned to radio 1 please as I will do my work more quickly." Took me ages to find radio 1. When I took it to him he said "I was only joking Petra I listen to radio 4 all the time actually". Your blogs are always well prepared and right at the end you "slipped it in" that the decorator was a she!!! Petra.

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    1. This decorator fortunately likes the same music as I do, Petra. Radio 2. You cant beat it!!

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  5. I tend to get sloppy with the masking tape prep and then I wonder why my paint job is uneven. I'm happy to have reached the stage where I can contemplate "do it yourself" and then "pay it myself" and be the supervisor. Sounds like its progressing nicely. You'll have to share a pic of the finished project when done. Good luck

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    1. I did consider sharing a photo of work in progress, Joanne, but it was decidedly unphotogenic. I will post one up when it's done.

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  6. I'm with you on all of that except the flour sifting. I always sift flour because I know what awful results I get if I don't.
    Decorating? Prep? I go straight in with a brush and slap paint around as quickly as I can so I can get it over with.

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    1. Aha! Thank you, Anne! So that's why my baking is always such a disaster!

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  7. It is all in the preparation I agree. Whether it is cooking a meal or painting. When I used to do my own decorating I took great pride in the gloss work-especially on the front door. I would sand between each coat of primer, undercoat and 3 layers of top quality gloss-using a finer sandpaper each time. The last coat I would put on with a very fine brush. I would not be happy until it looked like the door of 10 Downing Street.

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    1. What a lot of layers. I tend to go for the one-coat variety but I can appreciate what an amazing finish you would achieve with this method.

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  8. Hi Ros - this sets out why I've never done it! Once I did some wall papering and I was very pleased with myself! Sounds like your lady - regardless of the money being out of pennies for tea and milk - is doing a great job ... and preparation is always helpful.

    Cheers enjoy the end result very soon ... Hilary

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