I’m not a Xmas person anymore. Having no children and my only family living 400 miles away (Peter doesn’t bother with his family at all) Xmas is just a nuisance.

The TV schedule is messed up, the roads are busy and the queues in the supermarkets would make you think they would be shut for a fortnight.

So normally at this time of year I while away the festive period, and the following few weeks, with a spot of decorating. Apart from avoiding Xmas this also helps me keep my ageing joints from seizing up, so I’m in reasonable shape for the start of gardening in Spring.

This year I was going to decorate the office (small bedroom) the bathroom and the boiler house. The idea was to start inside and work out into the boiler house, a small room on the end of the kitchen, which cannot be accessed from indoors.

In truth, after the exploits of the patio I was having some difficulty in motivating myself to start. Then the washing machine broke.

What, you may ask, has that got to do with anything. Well, the washer is in the boiler house, along with the central heating boiler, a sink, more cans of paint than B&Q and 14+ years accumilated rubbish and gardening debris. We have never decorated in there.

In order to get the old washer out and the new washer in, everything had to come out, and I mean everything.

This took some considerable time and effort, so it seemed silly to put it all back just to get it all out again in February so I could decorate as per my original schedule.

So thanks to the washing machine I started my decorating in the boiler house. What a task. Fourteen years of not cleaning in there certainly made it interesting, but I’m getting there.

I’ve even put a couple of coats of emulsion on the bathroom walls. Onwards and upwards!!