Welcome back. And so we slide into another month in this strangest of years. Yes, it’s back to school and university for some, but with a very different feel this time round. I suspect the excitement levels might be high from both parents and children as they attempt to find some sort of normality with a return to work and friends (or perhaps just the chance to visit the bathroom alone for the first time in six months) but it’s also tinged with a sense of unease about what the changing season may bring.
So, what have you learnt from lockdown? I have learned, and am thankful to realise, that I mostly love my house. And, perhaps more importantly, that I still love my husband, and that relations with two trapped teenage boys remain intact. We have all clearly drunk too much (the aperitivo hour became a vital marker in the transition from working day at home to evening at home) and we have had supper together at the table just about every night which feels like a huge achievement. That said the boys now regularly go to bed at 3am so they can find hours without parents in the house.
It will feel strange when the eldest returns to university (although I suspect he is counting the minutes) and I’m not sure how any of us are going to get up at 6.30am to get the 17yo off to school on time.
But, on the upside, I get to reclaim my office, which was initially seceded to the 17yo for zoom classes and then, over the summer, to the 19yo who wanted to four different walls as background to his computer scrolling. It also filled with bags of unwanted stuff from other rooms as the great clear out of lockdown began. I have now managed to get rid of most of these and the room is once again clear and the desk empty. It’s time I heave myself off the sofa to work and I imagine my back will like it too.
So the study stays the same. But there has been a small kitchen revamp. For those who were here last week, I mentioned The Mad Husband suggesting we paint all the walls of the kitchen pink.
Previously we had the back of the open shelves and the wall opposite in a muddy plaster pink called Temple by Paint & Paper Library. It’s a gorgeous colour but I had (truth be told) always felt it was a little too brown beside the chocolate brown of the cupboards.
However, one thing I have realised during lockdown is that I need all my walls to be painted the same colour. I can’t be doing with a mix and match of a wall here and a door there. Let’s not also forget that pink has been scientifically proved to be a calming colour which after six months of lockdown is probably a good idea for everyone.
So the following day I grabbed a brush and started painting everything in Temple. Much to the husband’s dismay. It was too dark, it was only an idea, he hadn’t actually meant me to actually start painting when he suggested I start painting.
That said, the Temple was too dark. So we reverted to Threadneedle by Mylands, the soft barely there pale pink of my office and our bedroom. It has become the new neutral in this house. The teenage boys approved. It’s much lighter they said. I felt instantly calmer – having all the walls and doors in the same colour immediately makes me breathe easier.
Only The Mad Husband remains unsure: “It’s pink,” he protested.
Turns out he has forgotten about the bedroom (also his idea after I initially vetoed pink in favour of grey) and never goes into my office. It seems he liked the dark pink because his brain told him it was brown. He is, for now, apparently, able to live with it. Which, if I have learnt anything after 20 years of marriage, means he can’t think of anything better to replace it with, which may also, as it turns out, be a metaphor for marriage.