I’ve lost count of the amount of TV paint commercials and makeover shows I’ve seen in which some alarmingly dressed young ‘would be’ interior designer ruins someone’s home in a day slapping paint on walls in colours I didn’t know existed. So I decided to have a go at one wall in my dining room. Its half stone anyway so not a big area and I fancied a deep red picking up on the tones in an old tapestry sofa. Well after all how hard could it be? They all make it look so easy using one of those big furry rollers and paint that covers with one coat. I’d have it done by my first gin of the day. Certainly wouldn’t be attempting it after. I should have known after my experience some years ago choosing cream paint, which encompassed everything from Clotted to Chiffon and Parchment, that it wouldn’t be straightforward. I was faced with a worrying range of colours from Garnet, Cherry, Punch, Sangria and Persian to Puce and Amaranth! Being in lockdown I wasn’t keen to trawl the paint shops so a girlfriend picked up a few matchpots from a local emporium, which, to my shame I dismissed as being ‘too raspberry’.
Eventually in desperation I masked up and ventured out bringing back three more extortionately priced tiny pots and slapped them on the wall. Hopeless. By now I had spent £15 and had a wall resembling a patchwork quilt. In desperation, I tried the original ‘raspberry’, actually Crushed Berry, and Hallelujah it was the right colour. So off I went to buy a big pot. Nope didn’t have it. But I was in luck as the manufacturers of the paint have a centre in Exeter on the Marsh Barton Industrial Estate ..which may as well be Middle Earth to me. I rang just before I set off, knowing I would get lost, just to check they had it in stock and they did. Miraculously got there and handed the pot over to a lovely gent who took the top off ….and covered himself in paint adding,
“Well of course it might be different because we do trade paint …but we could mix you a matchpot for £2.70?”
What’s another £2.70 I thought by now desperate to get home? So the paint went on the old spin cycle for what seemed an eternity. He took it out loosened the top to show me ….and it exploded all over him. What followed could only have been written by Richard Curtis. Do you remember the scene in Love Actually when Alan Rickman is trying to buy, very quickly, some jewellery for his secretary without his wife seeing? Rowan Atkinson, serving him, proceeds to gift-wrap the package using scoops of fresh lavender, tiny rose buds and elaborately tied ribbons etc. until Alan Rickman is at bursting point. By now so was I. It looked like a crime scene from CSI. Poor man then proceeded, with the help of industrial-sized wet wipes to wipe himself, and the surrounding machinery caught in the blood splatter, down. His coup de grâce was running his key, wrapped in paper, around the rim of the tin before disappearing into the stock room to find a box for it! And I wouldn’t care but it was the wrong colour anyway. “It’ll dry darker,” George, from behind the counter shouted, for some reason keen to be involved in this farce, ignoring the fact that the paint in the matchpot I took in was wet and the colour I wanted and this was much lighter.
And people wonder why I usually stick to Magnolia.