© 2011 Becca. All rights reserved. Plaster trowel

Filthy, Smutty Dust

The jackpot in this renovation wasn’t discovering any original relics buried beneath 100 years of life. There was no great archeological discovery, nor was there a lot of money in an old box beneath the floorboards (yes, I looked, you never know).  The win was discovering a whole host of new skills and joy in simple, weird, wonderful tasks!

It transpires, despite my religious persuit of a germ-free existence involving over-zealous hand washing and an aversion to anyone sneezing or coughing within a few feet of my person (quickly followed by the sticking of my head out a car window/ breath holding on the bus to the point of expiration in a bid to ensure all germs had passed (!)), that I like to get dirty.

It is amazing what your brain fails to notice when you are focused, SAS mission like, on an end point. The OCD habits passed and only became apparent when Friend, round for an evening of gloss painting, took her wine glass from me and recoiled in horror at the inch of muck nestled in the bowl. Tipping the dusty detritus on the floor I filled her glass and clambered back out of the window. It wasn’t until I was sipping from my own filthy glass that she started to laugh at the marked difference in my acceptance of dirt!

And so we sat, laughing, bemused on the roof of my neighbour’s bay window engulfed by the dark – whilst the electrician finished the ceiling spots in another room by torchlight – enamoured by my OCD success! And the utter ridiculousness of the bygone sneeze scenario.

However, I digress. The point of this blog was to announce my new love; plastering. The epitome of building site muck, plastering is bloody awesome, most probably because it is a licence to make mess.

From the purchase of bags of gyproc one-coat it is filthy and coats every bodily surface. Then in much the same way you create a sponge cake, the mixing begins. Mix some parts water to some parts plaster and mix until your hands are blistered or a nice, strapping [insert chosen tradesman here] takes over. This is why professionals attach whisks to the end of their drill.

Eventually, duration circa 10 to 20 minutes, the plaster takes on the glutenous form of over-thick cake mix. It shouldn’t drop off the end of your spade/ trowel/ stick. It must take firm chucking off the end of your chosen implement.  Stage two is the glorious daubing of walls, and much hilarity as four burly workmen delight in sexism declaring I an expert! Owing to my great wrist action.

Finally all that training had paid off! Onto stage three… applying firm pressure to the plaster daub and spreading it across the wall. The trick is to throw the plaster onto the wall and spread it with strong, confident strokes (mind out of the gutter, please). Plaster needs it rough.  The finish doesn’t have to be smooth and perfect, leave the wall to dry out until it is touch-try but not so hard you couldn’t press your fingers into it, and then dampen and smooth with a clean trowel or float. Dampening is more crazed, act-like-a-5-yr-old fun, flicking water from the soaked bristles onto the wall and everything surrounding.

I have now plastered the kitchen wall, tucked it between new sockets, filled the gaping holes in the living room wall (including the one I knocked out in the first place) and the walk in wardrobe.




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