A few days passed and I was still quite fired-up about starting my decorating project. I always find it’s a good idea to leave it a couple of days before leaping into action. I really don’t want to start anything and then find I lose interest quickly. After all, I don’t want a half-finished bedroom.

I mentioned my idea to my husband and initially got the reaction I was expecting. ‘Really? There’s a reason you don’t decorate unsupervised,’ he said before heading off to work. However, after mulling it over for the day, he changed his mind and whisked me off to a well-known DIY chain before I had time to change mine. This may be somewhat surprising to you (and to me) but the only reason he did this is so that he doesn’t have to do it himself. I guess he thinks my last attempt can’t have been anywhere near as bad as he remembers (it was). It seems that time really does heal wounds, and his memory of my previous disaster had diminished. I mean, whatever possible reason can there be for him letting me loose again on the house?

He had also become rather enthusiastic about the whole idea. He seemed to have it in his head that I was going to complete the whole thing in record time and, therefore, we needed to buy everything I needed in one shop. After pointing out that this was a long-term project and it was unlikely to be finished by Easter let alone Christmas, we left with a tin of one coat, cupboard paint. This stuff sounded marvellous. All I had to do was sand down our old wooden furniture, give it a wipe with White Spirit, and give it one coat of paint (two at the most). This sounded so simple that even my four year olds could do it. Despite the simplicity of the task, my husband suggested that I started with just a drawer. Apparently, I didn’t want to run before I could walk.

It did start off well. It really was as easy as it said on the tin, and I was feeling rather pleased with myself by the time I had finished. For safety reasons, I had used the conservatory just in case I made a total pig’s ear of it. However, it seemed that I was just being a Nervous Nelly as somehow I had managed to paint something without getting paint all over the floor. Result! All I had to do was clean the brush, a really simple task. That’s when it all went wrong.

I was pretty sure that to clean a brush all I had to do was run it under a hot water tap. However, when I tried to do this all that happened was that the paint spread everywhere; alll over the handle and all over my hands. I looked at the mess in disbelief and then remembered that my husband usually used washing-up liquid to clean brushes. I opened the cupboard to get out the Fairy and got paint all over the kitchen cupboard door. If that wasn’t bad enough, the washing-up liquid didn’t work. In fact it made no difference at all. And then, I’m ashamed to say, I panicked. I should have thought the thing through logically but, instead, I rang my husband (and got paint all over my phone in the process). Just to be clear, I didn’t call him because he’s a man but because he is the one that usually does the decorating as I’m so rubbish at it.

I expected him to say ‘Of course you don’t use hot water and washing-up liquid, you dozy mare!’ To my utter disbelief he said, ‘Well that usually works.’ ‘Ah,’ I thought, ‘I’m not such an idiot after all.’ Then he said, ‘What does it say on the tin?’ It seemed that I was such an idiot. I mean, why didn’t I read the tin. I’d read it to find out how to use the damn paint, so why didn’t I think to read it to find out how to clean the brush? I guess I thought cleaning brushes was so simple you didn’t need instructions on how to do it. There is a lesson to be learnt here.

The tin did indeed tell me how to clean the brush. With White Spirits in case you ever find yourself in the same predicament. This not only cleaned the brush and my hands, but also removed the paint from the cupboard door, phone and everywhere else I had smeared it. I had managed to successfully downgrade the DIY disaster to a mere incident. No bad going for someone as useless as me. And now I think that, perhaps, this is as bad as it’s going to get. Maybe, the rest of my decorating endeavours will run smoothly. I will finish my project without further incidents. Well, one can hope.


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