Monday, 27 November 2017


So - what should I write about today?  How about a strip of wood?  Yeah, go on Gordie, let's see you make the topic of a strip of wood seem interesting.  Okay, I'll give it a go.

I first moved into my current house nearly 45 and a half years ago, and the room I'm typing in was once my brother's room.  He got his own flat around 31 years ago, when we were living in another house before moving back to this one.  (Regular readers will know the story by now.)  It's only in the last year or so that I finally got around to decorating this room, a feat which took me almost 29 years to start, and many, many months to almost - but not quite - complete.  (Still to paint the ceiling and doors.)

The strip of wood above the window, the one to which the curtain rail is attached (it'll have a name, but I don't know what it is), always looked a bit rough to me, though as it was mostly hidden by the curtains, didn't bother me too much.  I should perhaps mention at this point that the family who first lived in this house stayed here for around 17 years, having moved in around 1955, before swapping houses with us in 1972.  My brother never decorated his room until about a year before we moved away in 1983, although that wallpaper was removed during our 4 year absence.

However, the original wallpaper - the paper that our first predecessors had applied (presumably in the '50s) - yet remained.  When I finally got around to re-wallpapering, I merely papered over it, as my brother (or to be more precise, one of his friends) had done back in the early '80s.  There was a reason for such apparent laziness in my case, that being that areas of the walls had been re-plastered over parts of the paper when the house was refurbished during our absence.  Had I attempted to remove the original paper, chunks of plaster could've come away with it, so it was far less trouble to merely leave it in place as if it were lining paper.

I was determined to paint that piece of wood above the window though, so set about it with a sandpaper block - only to find that it was covered with wallpaper.  Yes, believe it or not, when the room had been decorated during the era of Elvis, the wallpaper hadn't been cut around that wooden strip, it had merely been pasted over it - but folded and tucked in around its contours.  It was therefore a simple matter for me to remove the wallpaper from the wooden strip, then sandpaper, undercoat, and gloss it.  I removed the curtain rail first of course, then replaced it when the task was done.

So, just think - that strip of wood had been covered with wallpaper since the '50s and had never been painted since council workmen had put the finishing touches to the house before it welcomed its first occupants 62 years ago.  I feel a real sense of accomplishment in being the first tenant to paint that piece of wood in the house's history.  I find that fascinating, so surely it must be at least vaguely interesting to the rest of you?

No?  Well, I did my best.  (Tough crowd.)


Dave S said...

I recently watched a documentary about the Scottish architect Alexander 'Greek' Thomson and it featured a guy who now lives in Greek Thomson's former home. He has redecorated in a way sympathetic to the original decor but has left a small patch near the top of the wall uncovered, showing the original decades-old paint that the architect himself applied to the wall.

Made me wish that I had done the same throughout my life - I'd like to have a row of squares along the top of my bedroom wall with each one showing a different paint colour or wallpaper that had once graced the wall (although since I no longer live in the house I grew up in, it would only go back about 20 years).

Kid said...

I suppose I can take some satisfaction from the fact that most of the original wallpaper that was applied in one room long before my family even lived in the house, is still in place under the paper I applied several months to a year back. Took me ages, as I could only apply 2 or 3 sheets at a time about once a week or so. (Problems with energy levels, alas, but I got there in the end.)

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