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 . . . and number two is that it will always cost you more than you budgeted for.
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 pot 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 backwards 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 . . .