Briefly back in Beckenham

Trip Start Oct 02, 2011
Trip End Oct 27, 2011

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Landing at Gatwick last night, we snapped back to another reality. This time it was our life in London. The train-tram-train hand-off: Gatwick to East Croydon, EC to Beckenham Junction, and BJ to Kent House was seamless; we could have done it in our sleep.  How different this was than the logistically simpler but in all other ways more fraught travel in Ukraine! 

We had only one full day back at the flat before traveling onward to the US.  And as usual, we had lots to accomplish.  Most importantly, we had to set up the snazzy new mattress that had just been delivered—a confection of pocket springs topped with memory foam icing.  We would have only one night to sleep on it before entrusting it to our subsequent guests. 

As if there weren't enough other stuff to do, I goaded Annie into clearing out the hall closet so that guests would have a place to store the astounding assortment of things that I see people use in the process of bathing, cleansing, shaving and primping.  But alas, once the closet was cleared it became apparent how grotty the walls and shelves were--reminiscent of some of the unredeemed buildings we’d just seen in Slovakia.  That just wouldn’t do!  So I hopped on my bike and raced off to Homebase, our local version of Home Depot. 

Now I’m a pretty practiced painter back home, but reconnoitering the Homebase paint shelves threw me for a loop.  Latex paints were nowhere to be seen.  Neither, for that matter, were paints labeled as oil-based.  Instead there was satinwood, gloss, multi-surface, and emulsion.  I could read all the words fine, but had only a vague clue as to what they might mean.  Not exactly like being in Hungary, where I couldn’t pronounce what I read, or in Ukraine, where I could barely read what I could sometimes pronounce.  But dysphoric nonetheless.  There are so many flavors of incomprehension!

So I tucked my tail between my legs and approached a heavily-tattooed young man cleaning the shelves, who was wearing a Homebase shirt.  I guess I had to justify myself, so needlessly I said, "I actually do a lot of painting in the US, but here I just don’t know the terminology.  Can you help me?"  “That’s OK,” he graciously said, “if I tried to paint in America no way I’d know what to do.”

So with his kind guidance I chose Dulux Silk Emulsion.  He mixed up a litre of “Expresso Delight 6,” a color I’d chosen after carefully considering the hundreds of choices for about 14 seconds.  After all, it was just a closet.  And yes, Espresso was spelled Expresso.

By the time I got home it was late afternoon; I plunged into painting so that at least the first coat would be done by the time niece Ashlin came over for a final curry.  It was.  But by the time we finished dinner it was getting late and the second coat had to be done before bed (the new mattress was enticingly calling!).  Among many other last minute things, the closet needed to be reassembled in the morning before we headed off to Heathrow. 

So while Annie and Ashlin Skyped with Ashlin’s parents (Annie’s sister Cathie and bro-in-law Terry) I rudely excused myself, suited up, and applied the final coat of Expresso Delight 6.

We got to bed late.  The mattress was divine!

PS: Note the last photo, below:  Another world's superlative emerged on the Picadilly line, at the Northfields station.
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Carole on

SOOOO! Where's the expresso number 6 closet for our viewing enchoyment?

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