Making good

If you’re ever painted a house or flat, you probably know that before you even open the can of paint and take out your brush it’s important to make the walls good. This means filling cracks in the walls, rubbing down with sandpaper and taking off the dust.
I learned all this when I was in my 20’s. Taught by my good mate, drinking buddy and one of the hardest workers and best painters I’ve ever seen, Steve.
Steve needed help so he asked me. His business was growing and he had more houses to paint than he could manage on his own.
Steve was a bit of a perfectionist. His business model was 'charge more and do the best job possible, however long it took'.
Steve reminded me of an octopus. He was very tall, slim and he had long arms and large hands that moved effortlessly around the walls filling, sanding and painting.
Sometimes I’d miss filling a small hole in the wall and Steve would see it. He’d ask me, in his gentle manner, if I’d seen it. Of course, I hadn’t because my mind was wandering. I mean, how many hours can you concentrate on a blank wall without thinking of something else? This amazed Steve, who always focused on the job at hand. He was like a monk meditating, or a martial arts master wielding his paint brush like a blond Karate Kid.
We’d paint with the radio on, swaying to the music and chatting about books, life, politics, philosophy or anything, really.
Lunch was bread and tuna or sardines from a tin. Water from a huge polystyrene jug and maybe some fruit. We worked very long hours during the week and occasionally got drunk together on Friday nights. I miss those days painting with Steve.

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