THERE'S a lot of yellow in my house.
I don't mind it. The previous owners were Norwegian. It reminds me of them.
It's a nice kind of yellow - summery and joyful - and when the sun hits the windows in the morning, and again in the afternoon as it sets, the golden light can be almost tactile. So I let it be, even though the yellow runs from the sunroom down the stairs and into an area where my office is.
There is no relief from the yellow either. No white ceilings to break up the colour. I've been to Norway a couple of times and they like painting each room with a single colour - walls and ceilings - as in my house.
Maybe the yellow was on special - say, $500 for 500 litres. I have no idea and I didn't think to ask them before they returned to the northern hemisphere. But I keep it, this expansive yellow backdrop to my life, in part because I'm lazy, but more because de-yellowing my house just doesn't rate in the scheme of things.
Mind you, every so often I think about painting it, or getting it painted. I go to a paint place and even spend a few minutes working my way through the colour cards and fancy brochures to settle on a new colour - Timid Flamingo, Overripe Banana, Car Rust, Rat's Lust or some other bizarre name for a shade of blue or beige.
I go to a paint place and even spend a few minutes working my way through the colour cards and fancy brochures to settle on a new colour to paint the walls - Timid Flamingo, Overripe Banana, Car Rust, Rat's Lust or some other bizarre name for a shade of blue or beige.
Once or twice I've even bought a little paint sample or seven, to add to an expansive collection of little pots of Teenage Elbow, Fearful Brick, Ugly Sundown or Embarrassed White that I'll never paint my house with, but possibly will use in future to liven up the garage with multi-coloured stripes. If I could be bothered.
So I haven't painted out the yellow yet and I'm unlikely to do so over the next four weeks when I'm on holidays, despite complaints from nearest and dearest.
Yes, there are complaints. A friend whose house is grey and white wears sunglasses when she enters my house. For the glare of a colour she doesn't like. She wants me to get rid of the yellow.
"No-one has yellow walls these days," she said.
"You may as well paint it apricot, and that went out of fashion back in the 80s. You should paint it grey and white. It's on trend."
I tell her I'm not on trend. Facelifts and kombucha are also on trend. Case closed.
Two of my sons have white throughout their houses. One is not backward in coming forward about my yellow.
"When are you going to get rid of it?" he said the other day, in one of his regular attempts to get me to do things around my house that he finds.... what's the word he tends to use on these occasions?
Oh yes. Old.
He doesn't like the kitchen colour, which is a pleasant green; the upstairs bathroom, a different kind of green; my bedroom - an odd mix of a kind of yellow and a kind of red that you see in Japan - and a downstairs bedroom that's a deep olive green. I like all those colours. My son likes white. There is no middle ground. But fortunately, as I tell him, it's my house.
I was talking with my neighbour the other day about paint and painting our houses, and by the time we finished the tiny flame that flickered within him in favour of painting his downstairs bedrooms was extinguished.
"Thanks for that," he said, after I asked about the state of his brushes (ratty or rock hard), his drop sheets (non-existent), the kind of rollers he has (cheap and nasty) and where the kids are going to sleep while he does the job (not sure, but how many spare rooms did I have?)
Which is when I wandered off.
It's been a busy time around here since spring has sprung and bindi eyes have made thongs an essential item when I put washing on the line. Every year I swear to spray them. Every year I miss the sweet spot of time when they're vulnerable, and so I swear I won't miss it again next year.
We know it's spring in my neighbourhood when the sweet scents of jasmine, freesia, port wine magnolia and wisteria are crowded out by an eye-watering mix of compost, manure and a dead fish booster favoured by one lovely couple up the street who, it must be said, have a gorgeous garden.
Once the lovely couple, and let's call them Beryl and Barry, get the stinking fish/dry cow pats combo out all bets are off. And we love the smell of Dynamic Lifter in the morning in the street where I live.
This is the time of year when the sound of a lawnmower triggers an almost primal response in some people. Last Sunday I kicked off proceedings and before I'd finished two neighbours across the street were making satisfying progress through the grass, the bloke to my left was setting up for a mowing session, and the new people across the road and two doors to the left were in their front yard looking anxious.
What kind of weird keeping-up-with-the-Joneses'-lawns kind of place had they settled in? I imagined them saying. They looked a bit less anxious later on when I settled onto the front deck with a paper and tea and the neighbours across the road wandered over to get some rosemary. We're pretty harmless, in other words, apart from the competitive mowing.
This is the time of year when it can seem like someone's turned on a pause button. In shopping centres some shops have already brought out tinsel and Christmas puddings, bringing December into focus. Daylight saving has kicked in and warm breezes are enough to dry clothes quickly, but they also sound a warning about the scorchers ahead.
On the home front we're waiting for another grandchild, due next week. My son is excited/anxious/not sure what he's feeling. My daughter-in-law is serene. So I won't be painting these holidays. If I wait long enough yellow will be "on trend" again.
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