An expression coined by my friend Andy who was reveling in my DIY depression while he was out riding. And while he and Kath think nothing of building a small hamlet before breakfast, my home improvement skills normally consist of nothing more than getting a man in*.
So while I was firing the random shotgun of boredom at unpainted walls, unsealed windows and unfinished buffing**, the concept of being “on the grout” provided a moments amusement. The standard form would be “No, sorry Alex can’t come out to play on his bike, he’s on the grout” with a regional variation of “Pish, the silly prick is fecking away with the grout“.
There is a difficult dichotomy in that our house now resembles a show home that no one could live in. And yet, if you have aspirations of selling it, then this is the default stasis in the otherworld of random people coming to look at it.
If one were tending to the dangerously honest, much of the tedious graft of the last few weeks is merely mining the deep vein of marketing. Sure, we probably should have painted the kids bedrooms ages ago, but at no point should quality drinking time be diverted to the dark art of restoring grout to bright white.***
Ironically wanting to sell the house is even more difficult now because it is so uncluttered and tidy. Except when the kids see a patch of clear carpet space, they fall upon it like a dying man at an oasis. Their idea of tidying up is to throw stuff at each other until one of them falls into a cupboard.
We’re selling up for a complex but interrelated set of reasons. But cutting through them all are “living in the South East“, “Working in London“, “Rubbish secondary schools” and (whisper it quietly) “poor to poorish mountain biking”
The plan is to go West before Aylesbury comes East. The final straw was a proposal to build 9,300 houses between where we live and the badlands of a market town sponsored by concrete. We have even found somewhere to live although – in line with our random insanity of house buying – it requires some work. And a shit load of cash. And then some more work. On the upside, it has an unparalleled view of cabbages.
And in an amazing coincidence, a slew of fantastic mountain biking lies nearby. How the hell could that have happened?
Tomorrow, we have our first viewing. And while I’m not interested in sullying myself with anything vaguely customer facing, the rough end of my pineapple awaits the first person to openly question the quality of the grouting.
* No. Not like that. And don’t try any witticisms around the tradesman’s entrance either.
** I had a fantastic joke lined up around the premise of “Buffing the Vampire Slayer”. Well it was fantastic, until I wrote it down.
*** Do not be under any illusions that such a colour exists. It can be found about 30 minutes downstream from the question “have you finished cleaning that already?”