To quote one of my favourite Aerosmith songs (selectively – don’t want to cause offence), ‘it’s my new obsession’.
Why? Because it’s the colour I’m painting my bedroom: walls, ceiling, the whole shebang. Not some trendy hot pink, you understand, more a wistful, nostalgic dusty pink – the colour of the columbines that nod all around the garden below at this time of year.
You’re wondering why I’m updating you on my cottage renovations, no doubt. Well, like I say, I’m slightly obsessed with it at the moment. It’s trying hard to take over my life. If I wanted to go all new agey, I could say it’s grounding me (‘Pink, it’s like red but not quite’ – more Aerosmith). Not sure about that. Certainly it’s anchoring me in the physical, if you can call wobbling about on a dust-sheet shrouded bed with a drippy paintbrush anchoring. This self-created cave becomes my universe. The aches in my shoulders and neck become my whole experience. Most of all, though, the pink obliterates the ugly, stained, yellowing white that was there before, so I’m transforming my little world.
The rest of the cottage was finished ages ago. This one room – the one that didn’t matter so much, because no one else saw it – was left. I lavished attention on the spare room, so friends and family would have a lovely space to stay in; the study, so that my students had a good place to work; the kitchen, bathrooms, living room and stairwell – all relatively public spaces. Then, each night, I’d repair to the depressing, grubby box of a bedroom, peer up at the water-stains left from when the roof used to leak and close my eyes quickly.
It’s taken me two years to give myself the gift of a new bedroom. How pathetic that sounds!
Decorating is hassle – especially when you’re getting on a bit, arthritic and doing it all alone; especially when you work from home and have to keep parts of the house tidy and acceptable for the students; especially when you know all that peeling ceiling paper has to come off, and that it hides a depressing topography of ravines and craters; especially when most of the furniture is too big to move out of the room and has to be eased and shunted around . Yes, I’d elevated procrastination to an art form.
Then I discovered something that will doubtless have been glaringly obvious to you; I was feeling cheated – cheated by myself. And that was a pretty stupid state of affairs.
I reminded myself that I deserved a beautiful space to rest in, sleep in and wake in. Suddenly, all those obstacles didn’t seem such a problem. I’m taking them on, one at a time.
Initially there’s fear: I pull back a piece of ceiling paper and find a gaping 5 cm hole behind it. Next I tell the fear to move on, and wait for it to subside. After that, I wait for the solution to come to me. If I stay in that mindset, it always does. Then I work through it.
The room, like so much of the cottage, is becoming a testament to positive thinking. If I can imagine that it will be solved, then it will be. Not finished yet, but getting there…