I really need things to go back to normal while I still have a house to call my home. The problem is, with spending far more hours at home than I normally would do over the last few months, I not only have the time to notice more flaws and problems, I also have had the time to watch instructional videos on the internet and fool myself into thinking I can carry out all manner of decorations and repairs by myself.
I recognise the symptoms because I've been here before though in less unusual times and circumstances, back in the late 90s when I'd bought my first little flat, and boy do I mean little when, having watched a ridiculous amount of the TV series, Changing Rooms, I decided that I could change my pokey studio flat into a spacious apartment with nothing more than a few brightly coloured paints, some attractive trinkets from my local charity shop and more floating shelves than I had walls to put them on.
Inspired by the programmes designers, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Anna Ryder Richardson, both of whom repeated the mantra that white was boring and we should embrace colour, I painted each wall and indeed the ceiling in a different hue. The result was, as you can imagine, a rainbow coloured, migraine-inducing disaster and, having very little spare cash, I had to wait several months before being able to afford to bring in a professional painter to return my surfaces to a nice, bright white. Though, in certain light, I could still see that bright pink shining through, mocking me...
This week, while sitting in my youngest's bedroom, reading her a story before she fell asleep, I realised that her walls were in a fairly shocking state. She's recently inherited this room from her big sister and, in the midst of getting all their furniture and belongings swapped into different rooms, I hadn't realised the toll that having a teenager in the room had taken on the walls.
There were dozens of blue, oily marks, where Blu Tack had been holding up her favourite posters, scuffs and marks from who knows what, and even a few spots where she'd used Sellotape to stick lights and bunting to the ceiling, which, when removed, had taken the paint off with them. I thought, this could be my chance to regain the DIY decorating crown which had slid off my head so badly all those years before.
So, I set about repainting the walls and ceiling white, the only colour I now use for my walls and did a good job. If only I'd stopped there! But, encouraged by videos I'd watched online of people doing beautiful murals in their children's bedroom, projects which seemed so easy to do, I set about creating what should have been a massive tree across two walls, with lovely pink blossoms spreading out from the branches and topped off with a dozen or so small photo frames, complete with pictures of all the people in our family. A beautiful, 3D take on a family tree.
Except my attempt looked more like someone had tripped and spilled a tub of brown paint up the wall and the pink blossoms resembled some sort of fungal rot. I didn't even get the chance to contemplate putting the picture frames on because my dog, for reasons best known to herself, decided it would be a great idea to come into the room while I was taking a break for lunch, rub her body along the length of the mural and then against every other surface. When I went back into the room I actually thought about checking for hidden cameras, thinking to myself, this must be a set up. But no, I'm actually this accident-prone, like a female Frank Spencer.
I eventually wrestled the dog into the bath and managed to get her blonde coat back to its normal, paint-free colour. I scraped most of the paint off my daughter's wardrobe and bookcase and then purchased yet more white paint to return the room to it's pre-tree look.
After three coats I successfully covered up my sad attempt at creating a family tree. But even after those three coats, when the light hits the wall at a certain angle, I can still see those bloomin' pink blossoms, shining through the white paint...