The In-Betweeners

By Alison November 30, 2010 11 Comments 2 Min Read

It is five o’clock on a November Tuesday evening and I am all alone in the house, savouring the quiet before Richard arrives in his painting overalls, blowing his nose and preparing to get back to work on decorating my once yellow living room.
When I was growing up I had a friend whose Mother liked to decorate every eighteen months. Her little husband would start decorating upstairs, then work his way down to the kitchen, by which time MRS. DIY had decided she had had quite enough of   the bedroom wallpaper and would send him back upstairs to start all over again. But coming from a house where the anaglypta was  lucky to see a lick of paint more than once in five years I could barely fathom the relentless urge to decorate… and truth be told I still can’t.
Decorating make’s me nervous. Once upon a time, my own Mum in a fit of what I can only call madness, decided to shift the armchair I used to spy on the spotty teenage boy across the road, away from the window and I swear I cried for a week: I’m not big on change. I don’t like upheaval and mess and the resulting chaos. It takes all the brain I’ve got to settle on a space I am comfortable with and woe betide those who dare to suggest that chippy wall paint isn’t a good look!
And yet here we are. Decorating. Or rather Richard is decorating and I am attempting to supervise and direct and design and pour cups of tea, before he get’s sick of my rather pathetic attempts to inform him that he has missed a bit, and sends me packing to Kath’s house for the duration because he is a such a perfectionist he will not let me wield a paintbrush, never mind the fact that  I earned a living as an interior decorator for a good ten years in my hey day…
Yes. Here we are. Painting the walls in antique white and papering the alcoves in Cath Kidstons Antique Rose. And here I am having absolute HORRORS. Never let it be said I am not dramatic…
Because this signals change doesn’t it? A new start. This means it won’t be long before Richard arrives on my doorstep clutching his enormous ugly old hi-fi and fuzzy wuzzy cats and demanding a key, and Readers I am SCARED.
All of a sudden this safe little world I fought hard to create almost five years ago looks to be threatened by LOVE and a man who likes decorating all over again. All of a sudden I am having to make room for someone else, not just in my head and heart, but in the bathroom cabinet, the wardrobe and (oh woe is me) on the bookcase so he can shelve his vintage collection of Sherlock Holmes. And though he won’t be actually  moving in until next March, while we get his Dad settled and Rich’s house rented, still it means huge changes here as he makes his mark in the nicest possible way, creating a house that is about us, a house that isn’t a mausoleum to my former life,  a house we can build a future of our own in…
It’s ok to be scared isn’t it? To fear the wield of paint on his brush, and his incessant urge to decorate?  Please, please, please, somebody tell me it is normal to feel something I can only describe as the prickles when I stand over him, watching him sandpaper all my yesterdays away…
I couldn’t want him here, with us, more.


  1. Heather says:

    At least he will be moving in to your place and not moving Finn and you into his house. That stability should help you and Finn get through the transition easier. Cheers to your love!

  2. lazy h says:

    I completely understand!
    I find change a bit horrific too. I have clothes which are 20 years old, many of my childhood toys and a complete inability to get rid of the mankiest piece of junk once I've had it long enough for memories to accrete on it. And for me, if I could be both single, with all the freedom and control that entails, AND live with my man (whom I adore) at the same time, that would be perfect. An impossibility of course.
    I have to remind my self that non-change is definitely worse than change.
    Good luck with the decorating (which sounds very pretty), the Sherlock Holmses and your lovely new inmate. Being unsettled by change is surely not the same as wishing it away. Is it? x

  3. Helena says:

    I think being scared is normal. Change is scary, even if it's change you want and welcome. I was terrified when I moved in with my fiance (now husband). Just remember that the first few months are the hardest, as everyone adjusts, and don't despair if things seem a bit strange at first.

  4. Sandi says:

    My friends still laugh at the wallpaper I had for 25 years and loved for every minute of it. It was still the thing I missed the most when we finally moved to another house. Thanks so much for your visit and kind words. Yours has always been a favorite place to visit.

  5. Gena says:

    I understand your fear honey,but this is some kind of wonderful! be glad be happy and enjoy every moment! even the decorating,Next year is going to be FANTASTIC!!! I just know

  6. Dori says:

    It's a rather delicious kind of scary, don't you think? Today, together, you are sanding and softening the yesterdays, smoothing and preparing a canvas for painting wonderful tomorrows. {hug}

  7. Karen says:

    It was fun to see that magazine cover. I was born in February 1960!

  8. Janet says:

    It sounds like a wonderful kind of scared! But as long as you go with your heart, everything will be amazing for you 🙂

  9. Oh my dear and darling Alison. I'm so glad that I scrolled down to this post. It's been too long since I've visited. I've been wondering how it's going… praying for you and Finn and Richard (and even Mark sometimes – Do you hear much from him these days?). Yes, it's all normal. I love how you said "sandpaper all my yesterdays away". You know, some of my favorite pieces of furniture, favorite places in the house are places that have had their yesterdays sandpapered away. I guess that's part of what's built into us as vintage-lovers: we adore the history of things. But we also know that most vintage pieces, although beautiful on their own, will be better with just a bit of clean-up. I think that Richard's touch on your vintage life will make it all the better. And you'll love your house and who you are as you live in it – maybe that joyous, rare type of love that is doused with contentment. Even as I write the words, I too feel apprehension for you – knowing the hurt you've been through. But big risks are usually the ones that we remember with tears of joy later in life. I say, jump in head first!
    ((hugs)) Blessings… Polly (p.s. Are you getting married by the way? I read that he's moving in come Spring but I haven't traveled far enough back in your posts to see if there's a wedding coming. Oooo – I hope there's a wedding. It would be so fun to shop for wedding gifts for you! *smiles*)

  10. Lynn Dirk says:

    Dear Alison, I have been reading your blog since the beginning. I couldn't be happier if you were my own sister! If he ever hurst you…he'll get a boot from this old gal and it won't be pretty.
    Aint Love Grand When It's grand!?!

  11. Lynn Dirk says:

    Ummmm…and the you can teach me how to spell check :-{

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