|Early autumn, evening bike ride|
For a year that has done nothing but push boundaries and turn everything on its head, I shouldn’t be as surprised as I am by the weird changes that we’ve experienced lately.
I was hoping for summer to gently melt into autumn, with misty mornings that become bright, warm afternoons highlighting the golden colours that are appearing all around us. Instead, as the equinox arrived, so did the wind, the rain and the cold. Out came long sleeves, socks and slippers. Away went the shorts, and vest tops became tucked in vests once more. My Facebook was illuminated with glowing log fires and we even fired up the heating, just to ensure everything was in good working order.
Our moods were as grey as the skies and the motivation to do anything was lacking, until we were thrown a challenge. After six months of silence, the work emails started pinging into Adrian’s inbox; tentative requests at first, they soon became more frequent and urgent, but things in his field of work have changed. The training centre classrooms remain closed, but the online audio courses he occasionally ran, have become a thing of the past. Covid-19 has shown the world that teleconferencing is the future. Was he prepared, able and equipped to run online video courses from home? The answers had to be yes, although looking around our house for somewhere to put a desk big enough for a laptop and a second monitor, where there is a strong wifi connection and a professional looking backdrop, drew a blank.
|Au revoir my damsels|
The only option was to do some decorating, and as anyone who knows us will agree, we don’t have a good track record at decorating. When we moved in sixteen years ago, we were keen to make our mark and update a house that hadn’t been touched since the mid 1980’s, but every time we started what should have been a simple job, the house rebelled and the work required spiralled out of control. We lost heart and interest and living with the dated wallpaper became easier than we’d thought. 2020, a year of extraordinary challenges has also become the year we’ve finally stripped the damsels off the walls in what was once our bedroom, then Ed’s music room, and is now Adrian’s online office/classroom.
|The new office, before and during|
The last week was a whirl of stripping, sanding, cleaning, pasting, papering, painting and finally staging the room ready for Adrian’s work this week, but once again we found things have changed since we last ventured into a DIY store. The biggest difference was the instructions on the wallpaper saying to paste the walls, not the paper. I might have a poor memory, but I’ve papered enough walls in the past to remember that fighting a strip of soggy wallpaper almost twice my height, up a step ladder is one of the best things about decorating. Not anymore. We umm’d and ahh’d, googled and youtube’d, and in the end, we did exactly what it said on the instructions, and pasted the walls. The vivid purple the paste turned out to be was quite a shock, but not as much of a shock as the wallpaper actually sticking to the walls and it not being too tricky a job to line it up.
|Adrian's new office space|
Buoyed by our results, we are now seriously considering moving a little further along the upstairs landing with the wallpaper stripper (as the damsels were quite tame compared to what is still there), and my paintbrush is eager to get going on more doors and window frames. I don’t know what it is about 2020, but something has caused a seismic shift in our universe and for now I’m embracing the changes.