Stripping as therapy


In preparation for alterations and refurbishment we’ve been stripping wallpaper.

It reminds me of my teenage days when sun sense hadn’t been invented. We sunbathed at every opportunity, often got burnt and a few days later our skin would start peeling.

Sometimes we’d sit in a circle each one peeling the back of the person in front. The challenge was to get the longest piece of skin off in one piece.

There’s a similar feeling of triumph when you manage to get a ceiling to floor strip of wallpaper off in a single piece.

It feels good, even therapeutic, which is more than I can say about the next step – returning the walls to a respectable state again.

One of my student flats was a pigsty when we moved in. The landlord said if we cleaned it he’d pay for the materials for us to paint it.

Passing quickly over why we agreed to paint his flat for free, a very few minutes after I started painting a wall my flatmates looked at my work and said, “How about you be the gofer.”

Eyeore wisely pointed out that we can’t all and some of us don’t. I can’t and don’t do painting or papering.

Stripping walls may be a kind of therapy but I’ll be leaving the rest of the work to professionals.

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