When a listener to my old BBC radio programme sent me a ‘Bob the Builder’ doll as a farewell gift, I realised I might have inadvertently given the impression that I’d personally be restoring an old finca, stone-by-stone, when we moved to Mallorca. In fact, all we planned to do was convert what had been someone’s quaintly-appointed holiday property into a comfortable permanent home. Hardly a major project – or so we thought.
Lesson number one in doing up an old house on Mallorca is that the work never actually ends. Number two is that it will always cost you more than you budgeted.
I’m a creative, rather than practical type. This is a girl who – when hanging a picture – always used the heel of her shoe to bang in the nail, so realistically, I wasn’t going to be plumbing in a new kitchen or assembling the odd door frame.
Wielding a paintbrush though is something I’ll modestly admit to doing quite well. I also find it relaxing, so The Boss was more than happy for me to tackle the varnishing job on the new wooden bedroom door that we – or more accurately, a carpenter – had installed.
Perched on a stepladder, brush and a tin of varnish in hand, I was beginning to feel I was finally earning that ‘Bob the Builder’ doll. Until the moment I discovered that flip-flops weren’t really appropriate footwear for the job. Climbing down the ladder, a flip – or was it a flop? – caught on the edge of a step, and I crashed back onto the floor, splattering streaks of Honeyed Pine all around the room and over me.
Undeterred, I did eventually finish the job. Some day soon, I’ll get out the Brillo and tackle those varnish stains on the floor tiles.