My friend moved into her new home a few days ago. Good friends rallied round and in no time furniture was placed, beds made up, boxes emptied, flattened and despatched to the amenity tip. So far so wonderful.
Husband and I arrived after all this activity had taken place as we had been detained over the border at book events. However, there were still minor, or seemingly minor jobs to be done. We did a meg-shop for all those little bits and bobs that mysteriously go missing in a move, or else you know very well will be packed at the very bottom of the largest, heaviest box, still lurking unloved in the dark and cold depths of the garage.
Hammers, nails, screws, picture hooks, washing lines, lavatory brushes, waste bins, the list goes on and on. We drove home so laden with booty that I could only just squeeze in the back of the car and then had bags and boxes piled on top of me. As we bumped and bounced our way along roads long strangers to a good layer of tarmac, I hung grimly on to the packages, regretting not taking the bus, as hubby enjoyed himself happily swinging the car around the tight bends.
Home to the little jobs then. Great strides were made in very little time and then we came to the hanging of the pictures. You will have to forgive me dear reader, I'm not ashamed to say I baulked at participating in this one. I took myself off to the kitchen to prepare a gastronomic delight for our supper, or what can loosly be described as a beef casserole.
Why the non-participatory role? (A) Because having been through this process with my husband in various homes before, I knew it could be a tricky process. We are seldom in accord as to the placing of pictures and this can give rise to heated arguments with regard to the arrangement of the room, the placing of the said artwork to its best advantage (a matter of opinion), leading on to the meaning of life/aims/ambitions - you get the idea. (B) My friend is as ditzy as they come. She can swither and dither over the smallest of decisions and as for hanging pictures - we only had a long weekend and she had a lot of pictures.
I listened from the safety of the kitchen and it was the best entertainment ever. Fortunately, my husband is a patient man. There were the familiar debates about the siting of each picture, its suitability to the room, the height it should be hung from etc. Happily, the discussions remained amicable, then hubby threw a spanner in the works by introducing the idea of grouping a family of like pictures together on a very large wall.
This idea had to be absorbed and agreed upon and the implications of this modus operandi contemplated. The complicated mathematics, the centreing of the picture on the wall, lengthy calculations of fractions of inches and equi-distances between this one and that one calculated. As I happily chopped vegetables and cried over onions, I could hear the clanking of the mathematical cogs being exercised and the socks coming off for the toes to be counted as matters got serious.
After much head scratching, muttering and labour, the pictures were precisely placed and looked at. A long silence followed as they contemplated their handiwork and they both agreed that this maths lark was all very well, but a much better job would have been done by ditching old Pythagoras and his chums and placing the pictures just where they liked - where they looked right, equi-distant or not.
Harmony reigned thereafter and pictures were hung with minimal debate. 'I think it looks nice here' says one. 'Tad to the left' says the other.' 'Up a bit,' 'down a bit, perfect. Whack the hook in the wall right there.' In a day a house became a home as they moved from room to room placing much-loved treasures to their mutual satisfaction. Below stairs, I tidied and cleaned and miraculously managed not to burn the dinner. Thankfully, it was only centuries of mathematics that were consigned to the dustbin that day.