I’ve just had a new kitchen installed.
It should’ve been replaced years ago but … well, you know … I’m a bloke. I can live on toast and cereal. I’ve bought hundreds of boxes of the latter and at least three new toasters since I’ve lived in the flat, but only now: one new kitchen.
I’m really happy with the results, but I find myself faced with what I can only imagine will be hours with a microfibre cloth in my hand as I make my way round the flat, wiping down every surface. I’m talking every single nook and cranny: individual leaves on plants as well as the tops of every LP, CD and DVD I own … given that my living room has been likened to a record shop in a jungle it may take months.
I never realised how much dust could be produced by a building job. Plaster and tile glue must be among the most pervasive substances known to man. Even upstairs, with the door shut, there’s a fine layer of the stuff.
The next project will be the bathroom and I’m seriously thinking about taking a tip from TV serial killer, Dexter, by buying some of that plastic sheeting to protect the area around the “kill room”.
I read recently that this famously prolonged practice has finally been curtailed thanks to the wonders of technology. It seems science has now reached the stage where the protection levels offered by modern paint actually last longer than a year or so meaning that the teams of decorators previously positioned on the Bridge can now have a few weeks off in between jobs. Maybe take a holiday. Go somewhere like Hull, where the Humber Bridge doesn’t need painting. Or San Francisco, where the Golden Gate most definitely does.
Not only do I have the mother of all dusting jobs to look forward to, but I now have the tedious task of putting the rest of my place back in order. The living room has been a dumping ground of late, with an old table, my ironing board, various boxes full of crockery and pots and pans, as well as all the crap from the hall cupboards that I’ve accumulated over the years has all been stacked neatly (schyeah, right) waiting for the day when access to the trip switches under the stairs was no longer needed and the kitchen was finally usable again.
It got me thinking about those people who suffer from dust allergies. How do they cope when they get the builders in ? Do they just check in to a hotel for a month or what ?
I once had to “prepare” the bedroom for an old girlfriend who was allergic to house dust, or specifically the mites found in mattresses. When I say prepare, I don’t mean I spread rose petals on the duvet, lit some candles and opened a bottle of rosé … I’m talking hoovering every corner of the room – including the insides of the wardrobes, the curtains and the mattress itself – before spraying everything with an anti-mite formula that was so acrid I’m surprised we survived the night ourselves. Romantic it wasn’t, but she was grateful nonetheless … mainly because she had to leave the house for a few hours while I was doing all this and ended up buying lots of clothes to put in the newly freshened wardrobes in the process. While I wiped and sprayed, she swiped and paid …
So here I am again, armed to the teeth with a range of cloths and cleaning fluids, ready to go into battle … I keep telling myself it’s only gonna take a day. Think of those long-suffering painters, out in all conditions, hundreds of feet in the air … week after week after week, year after year after year … actually, they had a job for life, didn’t they ?
I wonder what they’re doing now ?
Perhaps they could touch up the white lines on the M1 ?
Or maybe they fancy a career change ? I hear The Great Wall Of China needs the pointing doing.
Or, they could do what I’m doing of an evening: sitting back and relaxing in my new kitchen as I eat a meal at my new breakfast bar.
For them, the equivalent would be admiring their work, preferably from the top of the bridge itself, something American student, Bradley Garrett, did in September 2013 when he scaled it as part of his “urban exploration” mission.
Everyone needs a hobby, after all …