SWB gets philosophical



I’ve been having some problems. Not ‘Stranded In Limbo God-Awful Refugee Crisis’ sort of problems, no, just some ‘First-World-Aren’t-I-Actually-A-Lucky-Bastard’ problems that have cropped up with the renovations.


I’ve been out of my comfort zone, hanging out on the Boucher Road, making interior decorating decisions. (I told you it was a First World Problem). In my defence though, you do need to think carefully. So many shades from which to choose, but if you’re not careful with the tone, your yellow could end up more mucous than mustard. Do you want to look at your shit walls and be reminded of your crappy taste everyday for the next ten years?


And then you have the General Public to deal with. I was standing next to a pair of auld dolls in Harvey Norman, and boy, were they were making a meal out of picking wallpaper. “Not keen on that,” sniffs one. “Very wishy-washy” agrees the other. “Yon’s like nothing. Open that other book til’I see”. They were from up the country. The next book didn’t please either. “Did you see the price of that one?” (theatrical tutting). “I did, I did. Shocking altogether.” “And our Harry isn’t up to hanging it and we’ll have to get somebody in and if he’s anything like yon feller our Patricia got he’ll be a right cowboy. We may just go on.” Except they didn’t ‘go on’, but wittered on at length and I got thoroughly distracted and had a great deal of trouble choosing paints myself, so busy eavesdropping was I.


That was a digression and a half, sorry about that.


So next stop, up to the house to let the painter in who had very kindly agreed to come of a weekend. And what’s that? Oh yes, the builders had left the flipping key in the lock and the pair of us were stuck out in the rain like a pair of eejits. In fairness to him he was most understanding and said no harm done. I begged to differ, thinking that when he’d rearranged his whole day and driven from Lisburn considerable harm was done. I was very irked though, having inadvertently wasted his time, yet through no fault of my own.


I’d spent all week sorting stuff out, such as when the tiler was coming so I could get the plumber booked; taking back lights to Homebase that my spark told me were shite and choosing new ones. These are just to name a few among a plethora of another annoyances. I was out of patience. Of course all these house related decisions had to be taken during half term which made it all the more fraught.


Anyway, I took a moment, exhaled and remembered a good motto of my dad’s. I don’t call him the Wise Old Elf for nothing. When feeling overwhelmed and about to go down the rabbit warren of doom, his advice is “Don’t feed it”. When I’ve left my handbag in the butcher’s, or booked the MOT and forgotten to go to it, I feel so terribly inadequate that I self-flagellate till all is no more. And to what end? So with this in mind, I apologised to the painter, and off he vroomed. I met LSB and the kids and we snacked on toasted rye bread in Kaffe-O, and there I parked the troubles of the day.


Of course the real reason I get so demented over the small stuff is the sense of total impotence in the face of the true horrors, over which I have no control. The news is just so relentlessly dire at the moment, isn’t it? But we can do something. I just donated to the charity Safe Passage, after hearing about them on the Today Show on Radio 4 this morning. It also makes the decorating easier. People have no kitchen to decorate, full stop. Why not get the cheaper option and donate the difference. If I can sit drinking coffee I can spare a few quid.


And that’s enough of my sanctimonious chatter. Wish me better luck this week guys and don’t forget, don’t sweat the small stuff.

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