The decorating is coming along a treat and we have managed to work our way around paint pots and rollers to continue with normal life during the process. It has been my aim to limit most of the required work to applying several coats of emulsion and to resist any conversations about wallpaper.
It is not that I mind a bit of paper hanging it is just that you don’t have to worry about plumblines and matching patterns with vinyl silk. You are also spared the embarrassment off confirming to the world that you never learn to cut a straight line with scissors.
I was happy that my plan was coming together when out of the blue, and in the middle of a conversation with our daughters, my wife mentioned that she would like to have a feature wall in the lounge. I asked what one of these might be and was told that it was good taste to paper one wall in order to show some creativity. Apparently it should stand out from the other walls in order that the other colours might find their own voice. In the name of all that is woodchip what has the world come to?
Not satisfied with this homage to makeover programmes the girls started to talk about accessorising the room. I listened further and understood this to mean, amongst other things, that the collection of photographs marking the Molineaux girls’ changes in hairstyles would no longer hang on our walls. The pictures themselves were not the problem; it was the fact that none of the frames matched that caused concern.
‘Feature walls, accessorising, colours having a voice’, I mumbled as I went off to apply masking tape to anything that could not be moved.
The girls spent their time looking through photograph albums trying to agree on which pics would sit well on our bright, clean walls. You can probably imagine that such agreement was not easy to find.
Females never like any of their photographs; or if they do find one that is just about acceptable a sister will object that it is not a good one of them and therefore couldn’t possible be used. My wife was pleased with most of them but, caught up in the spirit of decorating, held them towards the emulsion to see if they clashed which I am not sure is a wholly acceptable way of judging your children.
Meanwhile I carried on applying a mixture of paint and loose hairs from the brush to the walls. I daydreamed of simpler times when colours had names like Post Office Red or British Racing Green and when it was acceptable to cover old work surfaces with sticky backed plastic.
I was drawn back to the conversation by the girls’ hysterical laughter and my need to feel included. They had found a family holiday photo that had captured their whole attention.
Daughter number one must have been around thirteen and it was obvious that a family vacation was not what she wanted to be involved in, let alone a group photograph.
Imagine the scene; the whole gang on the beach, all wearing our cossies and factor six million sun screen (Mrs M being a nurse a lecture on sensible sunbathing was always an important part of our holiday enjoyment). I had my traditional holiday hat to protect my bald patch from harmful rays.
With the bright sun, the blue sky and the golden sand it was a beautiful and colourful portrayal of family life. Except that is for Mrs Molineaux’s eldest; she was wearing black trousers, black shirt, black coat, and dark sun glasses.
It was as if the teenager had been superimposed on to the photograph after the event. Her whole manner, even her facial expression, shouted her disapproval at being with the family on holiday.
As we viewed the photograph she admitted to not being totally committed to the collective family experience that year. I tried to encourage her by saying that perhaps she was our ‘Feature Daughter’ in that she stood out from the others and allowed them to find their own voices.