August begins with another painting project. Undercover this time, so it didn’t matter if it rained, but the wind was cold with the back gate open and I had to keep my coat on.

This area is alway full of stuff. It’s were we keep the recycling bins and bags, and the hosepipe, the yard brushes and mop; and there are usually a couple of bags of non-compostable (pernicious weeds) garden waste waiting to go the the Recycling Centre. And hidden behind that lot, lots of eight-legged ‘friends’.

This is also the place where fallen leaves gather. Bear in mind WE don’t have any trees of our own, but everyone else’s shed their leaves and the prevaling wind blows them throught the gap under the gate and behind the bins etc. We can’t cover the gap because the path is on a slope and the gate wouldn’t open. And if we did, they’d just gather outside the gate and blow in when we open it.

Day 1 (Monday) – Garage wall

First job was to move everything to the patio. I’d already hosed down the garage wall (on the right) and the arch at the end, along with both doors, so next was to brush cobwebs and muck from the left-hand wall then hose that down. Then I could start painting the garage wall.

I originally painted this area, together with the back of the house, because the ground-floor extensions built by our predecessors were in a completely new (and cheap looking) brick to the original house, and because our (then) only bathroom was downstairs with the window (second window along in images) looked out onto the garage wall. It was a dim and dismal aspect (made marginally better when we replaced the felt roof over the passage with a clear plastic one). Painting the walls a light colour brightened everything up. And now, twenty-odd years later, I get to do it all again!

If you’d asked me when I first (and last) painted this area, I would have said a couple of years prior to 2005 (when we had two first-floor extensions built). But I found a couple of photegraphs dated 25 May 2001 which shows the paint, so it was probably pre-millenium! (my brother has much less hair now, and what he has is grey). The original was magnolia masonry paint. We don’t have enough of that to re-paint all the areas that need it. What we do have available is the Dulux Weathershield ‘Portland’ masonry paint I used to paint the front wall. I had less that a quarter of a 5 litre tin left when I started (and an unopened tin in the shed).

And now I’ve completed the right-hand wall, I still have an inch or so of pain left in the bottom of the can! I used much less on this wall because it was smooth and already painted, than I used on the bare breezeblocks next to the drive.

I would love to have this area lined with plant troughs filled with bright pelargoniums, and hanging baskets with trailing petunias; BUT where do I then keep all the recycling paraphenalia that the local council requires us to use? With everything undercover, we don’t get wet taking the rubbish out! We actually have TWO wheely bins; a brown one for garden waste but we have to pay to have it collected (which we don’t because I compost most things). I use it to store bits of wood in.

You’ll also notice that on the 2021 images there is a large blue/grey door at the back of the garage. This was a shed built specially to house my husband’s motor-scooter (which he sold in March 2020 to the first man to swim between the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland and Ireland’s Antrim Coast).

Day 2 (Tuesday) Arch and house wall

I thought everything would go faster today. I’d got my ‘eye’ in, and my painting muscles had warmed up nicely. BUT, today was very fiddly. First I painted the arch (without removing the gate), then worked my way along the wall. There were windows and the pipes from the bathroom and washing machine to contend with, and the original bricks took a lot of paint – I was forced to open the second tin – and I had to stop for lunch too! This side was higher, though I only painted to the roof on half of it; but it meant the larger stepladder (missing a foot and on a slope) and I needed to stand on the topmost step to reach, while hubby held it up.

I started just after 8 am and finished at 2.30, with 20 minutes each for morning coffee and a quick lunch. If every I wished that I hadn’t started something, today was the day.

Day 3 (Wednesday) – Filling the space again

Putting everything back! Every both windows washed and polished; every bin and box wiped down!

A Handy Tip

To avoid (mostly) getting paint on plastic waste pipes, take the cardboard centre from a kitchen towel roll, cut it lengthways and slot it over the pipe before you paint. For larger waste pipes/downpipes from gutters etc. take the side of a largish cardboard box and wrap it round the pipe securing it with a bulldog clip (if you’re posh) or a couple of strong clothes pegs.

Day 4 (Sunday morning) – Hosing off the dust and cobwebs (it didn’t work!)

Prepartion is everything! Despite driving rain first thing, I still had to prepare another wall for painting. This meant brushing off any cobwebs hanging underneath the roof and brushing the deck, prior to hosing dust and dirt off the wall. Unfortunately I soaked the windows, back door, and myself in the processes.

Once the wall is painted (by me), my husband can treat the decking. It’s not going to last more than a couple of years as, although the boards are OK, the supports are rotting due to rainwater run-off. Also he cut the decking so he could move it to get his scooter into its shed. With the scooter gone, he’s fixed it in place but there’s a slight difference in height – enough to be a trip hazard.

As this section is a continuarion of the previous area, it is still undercover; provided the wall is dry to the touch tomorrow, I can continue painting even it it is raining. It’s a small area but I do have to contend with a down-pipe and another horizontal pipe that joins it (hidden under the roof), which wasn’t there when I last painted. Also the pulley clothes airer may get in the way.

Day 5 (Monday) Back of the house – Wall A

Though only small area, this took hours to pain as I had to avoid getting paint onto the conservator wall, the pipes, the airer, and the deck. I’ll admit I was beginning to flag. We had to move the bench off the deck, then I placed two canes (upright) through the seat, lowered the clothes airer and hooked it over the bench to keep it out of the way.

Day 6 (Tuesday) Back of the house – Wall B

This morning, I was undecided whether to take a day off or crack on with it. The weather was dull and grey clouds were scudding across the sky west to east, which meant my final wall (not undercover) would be relatively sheltered if there were showers. Then the sun came out, and I was outside by 7.30 ready to work.

While I painted, my husband got on with fixing the deck – shunting a couple of pieces around and making some new support beams to fix the decking boards to. Then he painted it with “some leftover stuff to get rid of it”, ran out of paint for the last couple of boards/feet – and managed to get woodstain on the bottom of the wall THAT I HAD PAINTED YESTERDAY!

Yet more pipes: gutter and bathroom pipes, kitchen waste pipe, oil feed pipe, waterbutt overflow pipe, conservatory gutter and downspout, electric conduit (for the conservatory) and a electrical earth wire!

The smallest wall, and the most awkward. There doesn’t look much difference in the colour between the original magnolia and the new Portland Grey, but whereas previously the paint ended across half a row of brickes (where the previous single story roof began), I’ve painted full bricks. The only place I didn’t paint was the tiny gap between the conservatory window and the white downspout, but I did paint the larger gap below the sill (Oh, and I missed that tiny triangle bottom left of the wall where the waterbutt overflow crosses the oil pipe to the left of the black pipe. But I can live with that. I’ll stick a plant in front of it).

Now I’m definitely having a rest for the remainder of this week and possibly next!