It was brought on by a weekend morning moment of artistic inspiration. The postman had weaved a Dulux colour chart leaflet in between my post before popping it through the door, my housemate Eric was watching the re-runs of Grand Designs on the TV, and I sat at the kitchen table eating my morning bowl of cornflakes staring through the door at the drab looking living room wall. The cornflakes swirled around my cereal bowl, floating in the milk, creating a hypnotic state of bright yellow circling corn mush. And as if a psychedelic 60s inspired switch had flicked on in my brain, my painting fest began.
There was no time for shuffling furniture into another room or to place dust sheets over important items. The moment of creativity was now! And as I warned my stubborn and verging on foolish housemate Eric, who refused to move from his spot in front of the TV, any stray splashes of paint would be down to my artistic creativity and as such, any freestyle paint patches that might end up on the sofa or on his face even, I would not be fully accountable for.
On one wall I painted a tranquil countryside scene, with a tent pitched in the middle of an oak tree lined field and with little fluffy clouds drifting in the sky. On another wall, I opted for a plain colourwash of red. The opposite wall I painted plain white and the far side I splashed with blue, filling the room with the colours of Team GB. Add in the accidental red, white and blue trio splattered across the TV and we had a painted memento of the Olympic year ahead right in our own living room.
After a long day of painting I sat relaxing in the lounge in the early evening, admiring my brush work. It wasn’t quite what you’d call real camping but it represented the dream and with snow on the ground outside, a painted indoor tent seemed like a good place to start.
Then there was a surprise knock on the door. I wondered who it would be. And when I opened the door I deeply regretted it, for standing on the doorstep was every painter and decorators worst nightmare!
There were only two situations that would spell disaster of this kind. One would be for the landlady to turn up at the house uninvited, and the other would be for the landlady to turn up at the house uninvited! And that’s precisely what happened.
The landlady was doing the rounds for one of her spot check visits. Unlucky day to paint it turned out. She promptly invited herself into the house. Eak!! I thought, as I tried to block off the entrance to the living room and redirect her into the garden. But it was a cold, snowy evening and dark outside, so understandably, she wasn’t keen to see all the great work that had gone on in the garden vegetable patch over the summer months and she made her way tenaciously into the living room.
I waited in the kitchen by the back door for a quick getaway, just in case of any earth shattering bad mood when she was to see my painted tent on the wall…
My earthquake prediction was right on the mark and my now beetroot faced landlady, marched with all the power of point 7 on the Richter scale, back into the kitchen and completely flipped out like a pancake, and an angry pancake at that!
I concluded that red might not be one of her favourite colours. Or worse still, that red, white and blue might not be any of her favourite colours. She snapped something unmentionable and ordered an immediate redecoration.
As an artist, I felt it slightly disappointing that my talents had been so unappreciated, but I wasn’t going to cut my own ear off over it. 63 Monkton Avenue was a great place to live, second only to my dream of taking up a permanent residence in a touring tent somewhere special. So I rushed to paint over it and made a speedy ninja run back over to the paint shop to pick up some cover up paint.
Back at the house, moving the paint brush from side to side with the Olympic enthusiasm and athletic skill of Fatima Whitbread snorting a cockroach out from her nose, the repaint began. A few hours later the living room walls returned to their original state, thanks to a can of uniform, one for all, magnolia. Safe!