Like all trades and skills, there is a lot of stuff to learn that lurks under the surface of being a painter decorator. And being such a skilled practitioner of the art of "slapping-a-load-on" I do quite like passing on my sage advice to those of lesser experience in the painting world.
At the weekend, for example, I found myself lurking amongst the shelves of a well known DIY store. Having navigated my way through the bathroom section, and entertaining myself in the lamp section, and then boldly venturing into the garden section (I remembered I needed to purchase some seed for my garden bird feeders), I found myself heading back home: to the comforts and familiarity of the paints and the brushes.
Losing myself in various Harris Brushes, I overheard a conversation between two young jack-the-lads and shortly found myself staging a non-UN approved intervention to avoid bloodshed.
Person A: "I've never seen brushes with an angle on 'em! What's that for, hey? Are any of our walls bent? Should we get one?"
Person B: "Nah. Just get the roller and splash it all on. Stacy won't mind."
Person A: "I dunno. I want to do a good job for her though. I'll get one."
Person B: "You don't need it! What's it good for anyway?"
I gave a discreet cough and deliberately picked up one of the nearby brushes. "I, urm, believe they are good for getting into tight spots. Corners and the like." I made a sweeping gesture with the brush, giving it a little flourish at the end (and which in real life would probably have me flicking paint everywhere but where I wanted it!). "Just put a dab on and there you go."
The two youngsters had fallen silent. The taller nodded and looked at me hopefully.
Person A: "Stacy's house has got corners."
Me (nodding): "Yes, that's more than likely. Most places do. Architecture wouldn't be the same without them I fear. But the angled brushes are good for the confined spaces."
Person B: "You a decorator then?"
Me: "Yes. I've been a decorator for years. I run a small team in Worcester."
Person A: "Oh. In that case, can I ask you advice? Should I strip the wood off the banister first before painting? Is it worth having a light or dark painted ceiling? How many coats should I put on? What paint should I use in the bathroom? What's the speed of light?"
Me: "Yes. I'd go for light myself but it's all down to personal choice. Two should suffice. Make sure it's mould resistant. 186,000 miles a second."
Person A: "Mould resistant eh?" He reaches into his basket for a small can of white bathroom paint. "Like this?"
Me: "Yes. It should be hydrophobic too–"
Person B: (Shocked): "Here, you can't go around saying things like that! You'll get arrested. Come on Steve, let's go paint Stacy's house."
Hmm. Sometimes, I suppose, people just need to choke on an egg before they can be taught to suck them. Still, as long as Stacy is happy with Steve and his mate painting up the dwelling then I suppose that is all that is important - and perhaps my advice will give them that extra degree of happiness in a job done well. Who knows?
It did make me wonder if I shouldn't refocus my advertising efforts: perhaps I should loiter around DIY stores in the paint section more often and dole out free advice followed by the swift addition of a business card. I've had worse ideas!