Chloë’s column • Motherhood, matrimony and me
We have been making some home improvements recently. Having to be at home all year has drawn our attention to some of the annoying things about our house that we’ve ignored or simply put up with since we moved in six years ago.
I love our house and feel very fortunate to live in it, but it was built in the ’60s when life as a human being was very different to our 2021 incarnation. For a start, the people of bygone eras seemed to like their ceilings to be all bobbly and lumpy. Apparently, it’s called Artex but I think it looks like someone has smothered the ceiling with cottage cheese. Or they’ve attempted to plaster it after five gins and a Smirnoff Ice, whilst sustaining a dead arm halfway through, so slapped the plaster up nilly-willy in a state of besozzlement. Anyway, I despaired at it, so we had a lovely chap come and plaster over it to make it all smooth and clean looking which made me so irrationally happy that I laid in a chair, head tilted back for well over an hour - just gazing up at this completely unwrinkled ceiling until I succumbed to neck spasms. I spent my twenties partying until the early hours and now I get my kicks literally staring at walls. We’ve also had a proper utility room put in, complete with cupboards, in-built fridges and a sink.
Before this we had an enormous fridge and an equally gigantic freezer which took up most of the room and blocked a lot of light from getting into the kitchen. We inherited them from the previous owners and they were great at accommodating the Christmas turkey, but my gosh they were so unnecessarily big that I could easily have refrigerated the entire street’s weekly shop and still had room for two corpses. We seem to be on a home improvement roll and are currently working on the lounge in which we have boarded up a doorway between that room and the playroom, where there used to be some glass panelled doors.
I liked these doors when my children were tiny because I could monitor their behaviour whilst lounging on the sofa watching anything other than Peppa-bloody-Pig, but now that they are older I don’t care how many Wotsits they’re shoving up each other’s nostrils, I just want peace and quiet.
I gazed admiringly at this new wall for an inappropriate length of time too. New sofas are next on the list. My husband did buy a new one when we first moved in but, rather dubiously, he bought it from some Ebay store for maybe a couple of hundred quid less than you’d expect to pay in an actual shop. It arrived and once the delivery men had left, we excitedly threw ourselves down on it only to be completely winded by the granite like cushion beneath our bottoms. This sofa literally has ZERO give in it. It’s the most uncomfortable thing I’ve ever sat on and so I christened it ‘The Bench’. My husband stubbornly insisted that he thought it was ‘just right’ and so he’s spent the last six years lying on this plank of doom watching box sets.
But finally, he and his tortured spine have realised that it needs to go, so when the shops reopen, I’m going to derriere-test every settee in the vicinity - like that well known children’s story, ‘Goldilocks goes to Barker and Stonehouse’- I shall posterior test every seat until I deem it just right.
Meanwhile I’m going to try and sell ‘The Bench’. Perhaps I should post it on a website for fans of self-flagellation.