Firstly I would like to say a big thank you to Chris and Carrie for writing and hosting the Castle virtual pub quiz. Which I for one thoroughly enjoyed, and it was a welcome diversion from everything that’s going on. I don’t know if it’s just me but Chris put me in mind of a cross between Michael Miles and (probably due to the technology) Norman Collier. While Carrie I thought was reminiscent of a brunette Anne Aston. By the way Chris, don’t take this the wrong way, but you want to get some Immac on that chin.

Before I get in to the update, I did just want to say how pleased and relieved I and I’m sure everyone is that Boris is out of intensive care and hopefully he will soon be out of hospital and back to full health. I would also like to pay personal tribute to the Premier League footballers who, I understand, in a truly altruistic gesture have decided not to take a pay cut, in order that the treasury not be denied the income tax revenue. Well done lads, I’m sure all the staff at your clubs will join with me in giving you a massive round of applause, which means Kyle Walker will not be the only one getting a clap.

So this has been a funny week, with a mix of minor setbacks and small triumphs, with some irony or serendipity (I can’t decide which), thrown in for good measure.

You’ll be pleased to know I am talking to myself again, which is good, as you could cut the atmosphere in here with a knife. Of course you might have guessed, I was the one to apologise, well, someone had to be the bigger man, and I wasn’t going to be to me, so I bit the bullet.

So, I imagine you’ll all be wanting to know how the decorating is going, well I’ve made a start let’s say. I started off tidying the kitchen so I had space for all the equipment etc. I had to do the washing up anyway, as I’d run out of dinner plates, I had even resorted to using the ones which had previously been adorning the walls of the parlour, it’s a good job I’m decorating as there are now several circles above the freeze which appear to be a completely different colour to the rest of the wall. I have to say it felt rather decadent eating egg and chips off Wedgewood. I would point out at that they were oven chips, not really for reasons of healthy eating more for speed, I had considered putting the chip pan on but as you know it takes half an hour just for the fat to melt and to be honest the roots on the King Edwards were beginning to resemble triffids.

Anyway, back to the task in hand, being something of an old hand at this decorating malarkey I am aware that preparation is key and the walls need to be clean before painting so I gave the whole room the once over with the feather duster, I’m not saying there were a lot of cob webs but the feather duster looked more like a stick of candyfloss at the end.

Next I removed the loose flakes of distemper, which then showed the woodchip underneath, and upon closer inspection revealed at least one layer of anaglypta, I mean who puts woodchip on top of anaglypta, so the decision now is do I take the walls back to the plaster, so whilst I pondered this I reached for my ciggies, and nearly passed out when I saw the packet was empty, however serenity soon returned when I remembered the two Park Drive I had rescued last week (irony or serendipity? You decide). They must have got a bit damp because the resultant smoke cloud would have impressed Hiawatha, which set off the smoke alarm which had only been sounding for a couple of minutes when the battery died ( again Irony or what?). While I waited for the cough to subside I found myself wishing I had been a Senior Service man, or even one of the Woodbine fraternity.

Any how I tried to open the windows for some much needed fresh air, but the sash cords had gone, so I opened both the back and front doors which caused the kitchen door to bang shut with such a force that the windows rattled, which must have loosened them as the top one dropped of its own accord. (Lucky or what?). So, after all that I decided NOT to go back to the plaster, heaven alone knows what I might have uncovered and I could see this turning from, giving the place a lick of paint ,to something requiring a ‘ project manager’.

  • Note to self, don’t forget to pick up a box of Captain Webb matches and a battery from Fine Fare on next shopping expedition.

Having done all the prep and almost ready to start proper, it was lunchtime, keen to crack on I just had a polony sandwich with a bag of plain crisps, which annoyingly were missing the little blue twist of salt, meaning I had to fashion my own, which I did using some old blotting paper, I did several to cover future eventualities. I know I could have just salted the crisps straight from the cruet but it’s just not the same is it?

Beginning to wonder if this paint will ever make contact with the wall, I determined to make some progress and in that vein I put the pots in the sink and nipped upstairs to dig out the old Kaftan I keep for this type of job. Whilst searching at the back of the wardrobe, would you believe I found the left platform shoe to the right one I discovered last week, so that’s solved that mystery. Once back down stairs, sporting the rather fetching kaftan, I couldn’t believe my eyes, right there on the telly was Demis Roussos, I remarked out loud “crikey  he’s put some weight on”. I was just thinking this must be the irony to end all ironies when I noticed Demis was holding a paint roller and had a fag on, only then did I realise the telly wasn’t switched on. Never the less I still spent the next ten minutes flouncing round the living room singing “ever and ever and ever and ever you La La La  “ into the roller.

Well, at last I was ready to actually start painting, so I grabbed the chair on which to stand and covered it with newspaper, an old ‘News of The World’ you may remember I found last week, minus the Opal Fruit and armed with a roller full of paint, I mounted the chair and with arm outstretched, I couldn’t reach high enough. I must admit at this point I was more than a little frustrated I would even go so far as to say dis-chuffed. However I will not be beaten and necessity being the mother of invention, the thinking cap went on, socks were at full mast and I had had a word with myself. My first idea was to tie the roller to the clothes prop, with which I had limited success, I did at last get some paint on the walls, as well as the ceiling and curtains, I also managed to knock the dipping duck ornament off the mantle shelf, so I decided to go back to the drawing board. Whilst navigating my way back to the kitchen I tripped over that blessed shoe I found earlier, and the solution to my dilemma hit me right in the mush. I rushed outside and to my relief the bin hadn’t been emptied, so I retrieved the discarded shoe which along with its partner would give me the extra elevation needed. If that’s not serendipitous I don’t know what is. I said to myself thank goodness the corporation had moved to bi-weekly bin collections, lest the shoe would have been lost forever, and I agreed.

Now here’s a thing, whilst checking for errant eggshells and the like, I found a snail clinging to the underside of the tongue, (the shoe’s not mine) my question is, how do snails get in the bin in the first place? I mean they can’t be strong enough to lift the lid especially as I keep a house brick on mine to keep out the foxes, and it’s not like they can nip in while you’re not looking is it? Answers on a postcard please.

So now dressed in kaftan and platform shoes, looking like some freakish Greek/ 70 glam rock fusion I gingerly make my way back to the coal face, as it were. When out of nowhere I start singing “I’m the leader, I’m the leader, I’m the leader of the gang I am.” I hope I haven’t planted an ear worm there  –  I wonder what happened to him?

Well long story short, I finally got the first coat on, on one wall anyway. It did say on the tin it may take more than one coat, playing fast and loose with the word ‘may’ if you ask me. If any of you are considering following in my footsteps, here’s a little tip for you, don’t buy cheap paint, this stuff I bought must be old stock, it was only 5 bob a gallon, and to be honest it’s like painting with milk, and were not even talking gold top.

I think that’s all for now, except to say I hope you all have the best Easter you can, under the circumstances, the weather is set to be good. After a bit of a false start I’m having a BBQ. I say false start as I’ve run out of charcoal, but as luck would have it I found half a bag of nutty slack, I imagine coal will do just as well. Neither did I have any firelighters so I used a pint of Esso Blue which went like a bomb. Unfortunately  this being a last minute thing, I hadn’t defrosted any meat so I’m going to open a tin of hot dog sausages and as it’s Good Friday I thought I’d do some fish, luckily you can do fish fingers from frozen.

Bye for now, I’ll keep in touch.

Love you all

Stay safe.     Cliff