Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Sticking plaster

There's a lot of it about. Plaster, that is. It's

in every room.
on the floors.
on the stairs.
in the cupboards.
on the furniture.
wafting out of the windows.
on me.
on the grass.
in the car.
in the bed.
on my laptop.
in my wardrobe.
in my dinner.
and (fortunately) on the walls.

And there's nothing to be done about it. Zilch. You clean it up; it comes back. You clean it up again; it comes back again. (Where does it go in between times?). So there's only one thing to do. You shrug your shoulders, and let it be. Eventually (and you may have to take my word for this) you just laugh.

The Perfectionist was as good as his word and did teach me to plaster. On Day One, my brief was to plaster three walls of a former loo, now cupboard, clearly so that my hap-handed efforts would only ever be seen by me. No, I know you didn't say that, dear Perfectionist. You wouldn't. Dare. It was a true bastard of a job: not enough room to swing an edible dormouse, let alone manipulate a hawk and trowel in a meaningful fashion. But, in spite of my best efforts, the plaster went onto the walls, and actually it's not half bad. As in smooth and strokeable, with not too many dings or rough bits. On Day Two, I graduated to the hallway of La Petite Maison, and, well, let me just say that in England I once paid good money for worse work than that ...

It's all in the teaching, of course :-). But I also found that once the initial omigodimgoingtof*^!thisup terror was past, it was something I really enjoyed doing. While tiling is more of an intellectual exercise - a bit like a builders' sudoko - plastering is actually a very tactile, sensual experience. You can't plaster with your head. You need to feel the movement of the trowel across the wall; it's your body that knows when you've got it just right, and as with all such bodily experiences, when it flows it's a great sensation. And I discovered that, in the same way as cutting in when painting, trowelling the plaster on the out breath rather than the in breath is a Good Thing and much more likely to succeed.

And the best thing? Having to put all the plates down for two days. Now where did I put them?

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