Ludy's new flat will be lovely when it's finished, but at the moment it's hideous. The previous tenants were obviously very heavy smokers (and possibly stoners, if the sticker advertising one of Amsterdam's more notorious "coffeehouses" is anything to go on). Everything is so heavily stained with tar that we thought the walls in the bedroom were cream, until Paul ripped off the wallpaper border to reveal pure brilliant white underneath. Washing down the walls is taking a minimum of four passes: sugar soap, rinse with water, repeat; and as you do so the smell of the smoke rises out of the paintwork. Honestly, if there are any smokers who need a graphic representation of what's happening to their lungs, I recommend you visit Ludy and help with the washing down.
Moreover, not only are the walls dirty, but they were also decorated by someone who watched too many episodes of Changing Rooms whilst high. I cannot adequately explain the horror of the bathroom in words - you'll have to "enjoy" the blurry photos I took on my phone's camera. It looks like a psychotic smeared blood and faeces on the wall. Who would do that to a poor, innocent bathroom?!
The bathroom has had two coats of paint and is actually possible to live with now; but it still needs another two coats to completely cover the evil dark blue splodges. We haven't attempted any of the other rooms yet. The bedroom "should" be easy, but I don't like to say that and tempt fate. The front room will take a while, because it's a) the most stained and b) the worst colour to start with. Two walls are a dark, bottle green, not entirely unlike the colour of 1950s Southern buses, while the other two are faded Routemaster red. Yum.
Go to the GALLERY OF DOOM. Warning: Do not view the Top of the stairs while eating or drinking. You may choke.
I'll try to go down & do more painting this weekend, but other volunteers would be useful, especially people who are happy to wash walls down (it's a slow, boring job), and ideally people who are confident up a ladder. Also if anyone has any suggestions for helping a displaced cat settle down, I shall pass them on to Ludy.
 Several, in fact, all around the bathroom walls and ceiling . Ain't spackle grand?
 I considered further lowering the tone by explaining that I did the filling of the crack using my gloved hand, because it's more controllable than the implement intended for the purpose.