When I bought my house, it looked a bit neglected. The wooden sash windows were jammed shut with paint, one of the gas fires was leaking and my dad, a retired gas fitter, advised I get the other one taken out as it was installed in the 1970s and not likely to be safe despite being regularly serviced. Outside, a large grubby looking shed lurked on a concrete plinth: later I found to my cost that it was roofed with asbestos. The owner had taken all the light bulbs except the one that wouldn’t shift, and left holes where she’d ripped out all the shelves and fittings. She’d been hard at work stripping paint off the bedroom doors, which hung off their hinges – in all their pine rawness! It was cold, uninviting and very cheap. I loved it because it seemed solid and well built and in the almost twenty years I’ve had it, I’ve spent a goodly amount of time painting it and paying money to tradesmen to love it for me. One of my first jobs, after getting those very solid, heavy doors rehung was to slap clean white gloss paint on them. And varnish on the downstairs stripped pine cupboards. It’s a good job she didn’t come back to visit!
Someone asked me why I have been so honest in this blog. It’s a good question. For years I think I have slapped paint on the surface of my life and hidden some of the underlying framework, afraid that the quality of the build isn’t good enough. But I am slowly learning to be a bit more open, and finding that actually that’s such a freeing thing to do. I’m sure there’s a bit of theology there too.
When I was trying to cope with losing a friend, reading a couple of blogs was helpful to me: it gave me hope that feeling dreadful wouldn’t last – the other hope inspiring thing was buying a new rucksack and planning to walk Hadrian’s Wall. I didn’t want to talk too much because I wasn’t that solid, and spending my day planning lorry courses seemed a useful thing to do. The men I worked with didn’t worry much anyway. So I hope that a little transparency is a good thing from an “I’m fine” sort of person.