After picking up the keys to 93, it was time to strip. Don’t worry, I didn’t go all bare naked lady – instead, high heels were traded in for steel-toe caps, hairbands for gas masks and sunnies for safety goggles.
The next two weeks were an eye-opener. At least until some flying grit blinded us. Turns out there’s an awful lot of toxic dust floating around old houses. Still, we felt positive: How long could it take to strip out a house? Three days? Five? Um, try 14. We plugged our new steamer into the only socket without wires hanging out of it and armed ourselves with nifty metal strippers. Hours of steaming and scraping followed, with little reward. Luckily for us, one week in a local plasterer came by to do a quote and gave us the first of many time-saving tips.
And the first of many withering looks. At us, and then at the steamer.
“Just pick up a paintbrush,” he said, dunking it in a bucketful of water violently, “and slap it on the wall.” Cue much slathering and a very wet floor (it did damp down some of the dust, it must be said). “Wait a couple of minutes, stick your stripper under the corner and it just lifts away.” Which it did. At least when Jack did it. And eventually, even when we did it.