Trawling for wood
It’s 11am on April Fools Day, I’ve just carried a jet stream water thingy up a massive hill, there’s a fire alarm guy in our dining room and a man fitting our sign into the terrace outside. Danny and I have had about 5 hours sleep after going to bed at 2am because we had to put the bunk beds together, I have been wearing the same, paint spattered clothes for 3 days, my hair is in pigtails and we still haven’t unpacked.
Yesterday we drove to Bookers Wholesalers for 6pm and on the way back (around 7.30pm) we started trawling the beaches for driftwood because we’ve had an idea about how to label the rooms. For a brief moment, driving through Hayle, we contemplated stealing a farmer’s fence (it was broken – we’re not that bad) because the wood was perfect for what we needed, but our conscience got the better of us: Also, 1 month into living here we didn’t want to get a reputation for vandalism and theft.
We have to laugh at ourselves, if we didn’t we might both collapse from exhaustion and just forget to wake up to make breakfast on Saturday 9th April. We have stopped arguing and now just go into stoney silence when we disagree. We keep saying that we’ll go out for a drink, or dinner, or some other social activity but we haven’t yet. Television and relaxation is something other people do and we’re glad they do it because that way, when we call on them to ask massive favours, they are in a good frame of mind to help us.
I mentioned to Danny that we were probably living through one of the most stressful times of our lives and that we were doing quite well. The benchmark for ‘well’ being that a) we haven’t killed ourselves b) haven’t killed each other and c) the guest house is still standing. In a funny kind of way it’s very good fun. All this energy, all this effort going into every single day, if nothing else it makes you feel alive.
I enjoyed being in an office – it was clean, there were nice lunches, I met great people and I worked hard. However, nothing – absolutely nothing – compares to how hard we are working now, meal times are just interruptions, even going to the toilet becomes inconvenient (especially when you’ve put it off for so long that you suddenly need to go while holding an armchair above your head). There’s always a bit of paint that needs touching up before you can go to bed, or something where you ‘just want to see what it looks like’ before waking up tomorrow.
So many people come and go throughout the day – sorting out our fire alarm, making deliveries of furniture and toiletries, fixing shelves, planing doors, putting up shelves – after 7pm is the only time we have a chance to bring it all together, to take stock, to do our shopping online and to sort out what needs to be done next. This unfortunately takes us into the wee hours of the morning and fantasies about reading my book while I drift gently off to sleep are just that – fantasies.
What is wonderful… what is truly wonderful at this stage is that everything we do is the ‘final touch’. If we paint it’s the final bit, not the undercoat that no one sees or cares about. If we buy furniture it’s the piece that finishes the room, not just starts it. Curtains are made and most of the curtain poles are up, so the pressing and the hanging is the final bit – the bit that brings it all together; it’s difficult and a pain but there’s immense satisfaction at the end of it and each room has something about it that we just love, that brings together our vision of Little Leaf Guest House.
So what if we’re kerb crawling down country lanes looking for wood at 7.30 at night because we have a crazy idea about driftwood on the doors (stopping only briefly to take a picture of a pub called ‘The Bucket of Blood’). So what if we’re being chucked out of Bookers because we’ve been standing in the crockery section for too long and they want to go home. So what if we have a row because we’re both tired and are giving this our all. So what indeed. It’s all coming together and this my lovelies, this is the final countdown…