What a difference hanging a few pictures makes to a house. A touch of colour, some interest, maybe an odd memory sparked here and there.
I hadn’t put up any after 15 months in my new house. It’s ridiculous the way I put things down, meaning to do something with them shortly and, ages later, they’re still in the same place. Empty cardboard boxes become part of the furniture.
My eye doesn’t take them in any more. Thus, there have been framed pictures, still in their removals packaging, stacked in the hall and other rooms all this time. A couple of reasons explain my reluctance.
The first was that I’d put up a heavy cabinet in the bathroom and, apart from involving the usual Rab DIY slapstick moments, the experience made me realise the walls were paper-thin. I forget the terms now but it’s a builder’s shortcut that’s a feature of nearly all homes built in the last 30-40 years.
Accordingly, I didn’t want to go making big holes in walls, particularly if I ever had to sell up. Which brings me to my second reason. I never really settle anywhere, never feel I belong. Always think I’ll be moving on again. A restless soul am I!
Mind you, I felt this every day in my last house, and ended up staying 12 years. I think it was seven years before I put any pictures up. Pictures: maybe I shouldn’t get so hung about them.
In the meantime, I was glad I’d put up a few in my current abode, even if seemed daft that most were scenes from another island group, and look the same as my surrounding environment. I should really put up pictures of blocks of flats, factories or shopping malls, something different.
Of course, you might think I’d still have Christmas decorations up at this time of the year and anyway, every night, I have my electric tea candles that change colour. It’s Christmas every night at Rab’s!
But these are just in one room and I have other rooms, you know. I should probably get some brainy-looking ones for my putative study: scenes from ancient Rome, some stills from an Ingmar Bergman film, a portrait of Arthur Einstein, if that is the name.
I think I’ve three original artworks somewhere: a sea-scene gifted me by a friend, a boat painted by the cartoonist on my old local paper, and a flower sketch by the same paper’s nature writer. Oh, and hang on, I also have two framed caricatures of me by other cartoonists. They made my little hooter look gigantic!
I should say that, at risk of making myself scream with fright, I’ve also put up some small mirrors. Generally, I prefer total darkness when looking in a mirror and, the rest of the time, I try to ignore them. I have to use the bathroom one when shaving my cheeks, and just attribute the inaccurate reflection – with ridiculous big nose – to my poor DIY.
I also have a little lighthouse picture in the bathroom, to go with my plastic fish, peerie wooden boats and seahorse statuette. The walls are blue. I know it seems daft having a maritime theme just because there’s a bath and some taps, but there you are. It’s a W. Sea.