Everyone’s painting at the mo. Bill opposite is painting his back gate, what colour he doesn’t know as he’s colour blind, ‘mint green’ I told him, for what it’s worth, while that also galvanised me to put the undercoat on our back gate, a repaint that I’d put off for a while knowing the bastard at No. 7 would very likely dawb it with shit or something (they did as well, the infamous Shitgate, which got me waving down a police car to have them stop me go over and smash his face in). He and his poisonous alchie wife have since moved out, even taking their door number off their backgate when they moved. Did they take the light bulbs and floorboards as well?
Anyway, back to neighbourhood gate painting, and most spectacularly, the Finnish woman over the road and her bloke have spent days creosoting their 50-yard-long fence. Well, creosote colour, real creosote is hard to come by. Hughie has a secret supplier but it comes at a cost of several pounds a gallon, he’s told me. Creosote must rank with petrol and Swarfega for top shed smells. Ben the mechanic told me everyone who comes to the garage, they get a niff of Swarfega and get all excited as it throws them back to childhood Saturdays, with dad doing something DIY-ey.
Painting the Finn’s fence near black (she’s called Rikka, does she talk like Raikonnen, who talks like Key-op off Battle of the Planets?) reminded me of the episode of Huckleberry Finn when Aunt Polly demanded Tom whitewash their back fence, which he finds a deadly bore of a chore, but somehow enough passers-by thought it fun enough to want to have a go, which he allowed on commission of nickels, apples, a comic and wotnot, and they get it done in double-time for which Aunt Polly rewarded him all the more. Still funny 40 years later. I told Bill about this, then lo, an hour later, I saw him standing there as Helen Stupid from two doors down helped paint that gate – not sure what he got her to bribe him with though. Swarfega, painting fences, such things that do it for people.
The people opposite the front of the house, also recently painted their front gate, and so carefully rebuilt the fence, painting that plank by plank before assembly to ensure there was paint even where no-one could see. For such fastidiousness, the shame is the fence they’ve built looks OK only cos the paint’s fresh, but will shortly look very cack indeed. It is very DIY. They also had an interesting dilemma as horizontal planks from the neighbour’s fence crossed onto their side, with an ever so slightly different shade of green (see pics below). Would they leave the planks, paint them half-way, or paint full across? Someone suggested they paint half the planks but horizontally, which would be great. In the end they painted the next door gate and all the fence the same colour. Which is kind of cool of them, but in another way they must have gone to their neighbours’ and made some case for how it’d look better, i.e. currently it looks shit and most options to remedy it would look shit, too, except the option of the neighbour allowing them to paint his/her gate and fence their colour, which is both rude and expansionist.
Don’t know if I’d want to live next to people like that.
Glad I live opposite. Much easier for them to see me twitch my curtains at them.
It is curious how one person painting a gate could provoke so many others to do so, as I said to Bill, I’d been meaning to finish the back gate but was only spurred on to do so by him doing it, too.
Curiously, too, observed Her Indoors, we all live in the line, the fence annexers, us, Bill, then Rikka Raikkonen. A lay line? Curiously enough, I remember from a few years ago the story of a motorway in Germany where there was one particular black spot, accident after accident, and it didn’t matter what they did, speed restrictions, warning signs, alterations to the road, they kept happening, until a druid approached the authorities and said the road cut straight through some confluence of lay lines and too much energy was confounded on either side, but he had a solution, place quartz pillars either side and allow the energy to cross. What the Hell, thought the Big Guns, we’ve smashed up the kitchen enough times, might as well throw the sink. And … it worked.
Was zum Teufel.
Ha! Found it, from the days when The Telegraph was a proper paper and didn’t illustrate commemorations of the Battle of Britain with Luftwaffe propaganda photos (see earlier blog).
*Austria, not Germany. Ach.