I’ve been getting to grips with Spanish painting gear. I tried not to, it has to be said. The internal paint, pure minimalist white, is in pretty good condition and really doesn’t need re-doing. Apart from which, we’ve owned Casa Libélule for a little over a year now and I thought it was high time we were able just to play and enjoy it rather than work on it. Francine disagreed and, naturally, I was outvoted 1:1 – again. The rationale behind painting over the existing white is to use a fungicidal paint to try and discourage the formation of mould when Casa is shut up over the colder months. We’d had a touch of mould last winter. So, I did understand the reasoning.In the interests of harmony, I bowed to female pressure.
I had originally intended to bring my own painting supplies from the UK. That was before I attempted unsuccessfully to rebel. Now I was tasked with finding local Spanish equivalents. We went to one of our favourite stores for such things, Aitana in Calpe. Brushes and rollers were plentiful. I selected a brush then, given the size of some of our walls, selected one of th eslightly larger rollers. On to a roller tray.
None of the roller trays on offer fitted my slightly larger roller. I looked questioningly at a passing Spanish assistant whilst waving the roller near the too-small roller tray. “Cubo”, he muttered. Fortunately I knew “cubo de basura” is a waste bin; I was being told to use a paint bin. There was one on the shelf complete with a washing-board affair, clearly intended to squeeze excess paint from the roller. It looked bloody ungainly but, hey, I had a job to do (courtesy of my slave-driver). I would also need a long pole to reach the higher, less accessible places but I left that thinking I’d try to walk before I ran.
My dear father left me about half a dozen 12’x12’ dust sheets, excellent for covering furniture, floors and the like when chucking paint hither and thither. How the heck do I ask for those in Spanish? I used my trusty smart phone translation app and was eventually understood by another assistant. He led me to a bunch of plastic sheets. The Spanish, it appears, have not invented dust sheets but use 4mx5m plastic sheeting. Hmm? I didn’t like it but I needed something so I bought a couple.
Finally, the paint. There is a reputedly decent paint supplier in Jalón itself so I returned there. Now we get really interesting. I had investigated fungicidal paint in the UK, keen to attempt to reduce our mould issue. Dulux, bless them, do actually make a fungicidal emulsion. For a 5ltr tin of this plain white emulsion paint, you are requested to part with the princely sum of £75. It’s an un-f***ing-believable price – £75 for 5 measly litres!!. I was gobsmacked. Back to Jalón, The white fungicidal emulsion here was in a huge 15ltr tin (well, plastic) and costs … 53€. That’s about half the price for 3-times as much paint. Deal! Of course, I cannot yet attest to the efficacy of either one of these products. Maybe this time next year I’ll have an idea.
Incidentally, have you ever tried to carry 15ltrs of emulsion in a single tub? It’s bloody heavy. I just about made it back to the car.
The weather was a bit grey – a bit British, really – so my fun was set for a couple of days as I set methodically about the house walls. Paint roller: fine. Cubo: OK but not the greatest. Plastic equivalent of a dust sheet [called a bloody drop-cloth, another blasted Americanism]: very far from OK. The advantage of cloth is that paint dropping on it soaks in a sticks. Replace that with plastic sheeting and paint sits on top, remaining liquid for longer, waiting for you to walk in and tread all over the house. Once it does dry, it cracks off said plastic sheeting to then sit on the floor making it appear as though you have chucked paint all over the tiles. Added to that, if you try to work in bare feet, the soles of your feet stick to the plastic and lift it, entangling your toes and tripping you over. Plastic SUCKS! Learn to use dust sheets, Spain. Or, it you absolutely insist on being American, use material drop-cloths.
I’ll get used to it, it’s just a learning curve. I’ve got a few days of grey.