AT LAST I’m taking a break from work. Two weeks without going to the office, just pottering around enjoying the house, the garden and the wonderful spring weather. Bliss. I’ve made a list so long - gardening, painting walls, reading, writing, cooking, swimming at the gym, watching telly, chatting to friends, catching up with village gossip in the local shops, tax declaration, err, renegotiating the mortgage – that I’ve become stressed just thinking about it. I think I’m trying to get a life’s retirement plan into two weeks.
Day One dawns in glorious sunshine – so garden wins and once I’ve donned my grubby gear (ancient sequined top - but then you just never know who might pop in) I go off in the direction of the garage to get my tools. Getting in through the garage door, past all the things that have been dumped there for the last six months, takes two hours. Well, ok, five minutes. But the scale of the problem is evident. So garden abandoned and garage becomes the day’s project. The freedom of being able to change my mind at a minute's notice from my given plan is not lost on me.
For 18 years I’ve been meaning to paint the garage interior. And so I do – more than anything because to achieve any other chores this week I need to get inside and by painting it I get to move the junk for free. Two jobs done for the price of one you might say.
I’m wary of entering into the depths of the leaking structure I grandly call garage (it started life as the builders’ shed when the house was built 30 years ago and I’m not even sure it has foundations) because it’s deepest, darkest bugsville.
But I’m lucky. No snakes, mice or preying mantis materialise. Just whole families of geckos and hundreds of snails leaving wobbly shiny trails over every surface. I’m sure if I stand still long enough they’ll cover me too. I rescue the ones I see, airlifting them to safety outside in the garden and apologise profusely to the ones I tread on with a sickening crunch.
I take an executive decision and decide that quality control is not coming to inspect the job so I paint around the piles of old tiles and bricks, saved forever for that one just-in-case day. No one will know except me.
By eight o’clock that night I can't move past my congratulatory beer. It takes all my will power to get into the shower I'm so stiff and sore. I weigh myself in anticipation of having lost at least three kilos in one day - but scales say I weigh just the same. Not calorie-burning stuff is DIY but definitely satisfying. Garage interior now gleaming white with strong chemical smell which I hope will keep bugs at bay. Tomorrow I must hit the DIY store for hooks, pegs and all manner of gizmos to hang things on wall.