Cold Comfort

As the days get colder it is becoming increasingly obvious that our central heating is not up to the job. The boiler is very old. It is highly efficient at warming the cupboard in which it sits, but precious little else. So, being the sort who feels the cold acutely, I have built a cocoon. I sit in my compact study with my laptop and a fan heater, typing in fingerless gloves. It can even get cosy.

Yesterday the study door was cruelly thrust open. It was Mike, bringing with him a draught of cold air. What followed sent a chill down the spine more effectively than any Arctic blast. “I’ve been thinking..”


“About the bookshelves. With it getting this cold, it’s going to be difficult to get the paint to dry.”

Our original plan had been to create a painting booth in the garage at the top of the hill. Then take all the bookcase sections up to it for spraying. It was never going to be easy. Even partially dismantled, the bookcase would be too cumbersome to carry up the 84 steps. No, the pieces were going to go across the garden to the drive, be loaded into the back of the car and then driven up the hill. Mike had measured the inside of the estate car and they would just about fit. Paint job complete, each bookcase section would then return the same way. In theory.

But, whatever the chances of success, it seemed that Plan A had now been dismissed. And there was more.. “How would you feel about doing the spray painting in the sitting room? It may not be toasty, but it’s a lot warmer than the garage.”

The cold had got to his brain. That would be it, wouldn’t it? “Are you crazy?” Or words to that effect.

Mike paints using a spray can attached to an air compressor. The paint emerges as a thick mist. Under pressure. How then to avoid everything in the room, and probably the dining room too, disappearing under a fine coat of Parma Gray? He would not be deflected. “I’ll construct a spray booth in the middle of the room with really thick plastic sheeting. Sealed with duct tape. It’ll be fine..”

I tried another tack. “But the air inside the tent will be thick with paint. How will you breathe?”

“I’ve ordered a proper paint spraying mask. It’ll be here in 1 to 3 days.”


I’ll keep you informed.