What happens when you won’t throw stuff away…

Can you remember those days long gone before that person who owned a plastics factory sat down one night and thought “What else can we make from plastic, I know, window frames” and turned what was initially a stupid idea into a billion pound one, like the man in the string factory did when he sat down one night and thought “What else can we make from string, I know, vests and underpants…”

In those days long gone before we had plastic windows the menfolk used to have to get a tin of paint out every once in a while and slap another coat of paint onto their wooden window frames in order to give them another year or so of weather exposure before they fell out of the gap in the wall into which they’d been nailed, and sometimes they accidentally painted the glass too.

So what do you think was the most favourite colour to paint all of the window frames, drainpipes, soilpipes, gates and garage doors in, lets say a bungalow in a smart modern suburb of North Leeds in the 1970s, for instance ?

White, yes obviously, sometimes black, lots of black too, some brown, some people still preferred brown, sort of trying to pretend that their window frames were some sort of tropical hardwood whereas everyone knew that they were really just pine painted dark brown.

Pink, how about pink ?

Not just any sort of pink but a pink so pink that even Katie Price would shy away from using it as lipstick, a pink so pink that it couldn’t be given a superlative to describe it, a pink like Barbie pink, but pinker, a pink that never existed in any paint manufacturers colour charts anywhere in the world for the one good reason that my father invented it himself.

As almost everything did in my young life, this experience started with my fathers overwhelming instinct to never waste anything, even if you had no use at all for a thing, it always had to be used for something, nothing could go to waste.

And so it came to pass that one weekend he found himself in the garage clearing out some stuff, deciding what to do with stuff that had been in the garage for twenty years or more and had never been found a use for, when he found a five litre can of white gloss paint and a smaller part empty can of red paint.

And with that modest beginning he invented a pink so pink that Barbara Cartland thought it ostentatious, a pink so vivid of a pink that we never again saw darkness at our house, even when it was dark.

Having invented the pink that was so pink that anything that had been pink up until that point would henceforth be renamed “dull”, he set about using it all up, so he started in the kitchen.

Back in the 1960s, or those halcyon years as we who were there prefer to know them as, you didn’t have fitted kitchens as we know them now, there was nowhere to go and buy yourself a swanky new kitchen, oh no, you got what the builder built when he built the house and usually he’d get a chippy in to build some cupboards out of wood, put some chipboard doors on then paint the whole lot white, well within an hour or so we didn’t have a white kitchen any more, we had a completely pink kitchen.

I hope you’re getting the idea now but when you walked into our kitchen it hurt your eyes to look at the cupboard doors, the Pearl Assurance man who never waited for an invitation to enter the house every Monday evening when he was collecting the insurance money walked into our kitchen unannounced the following Monday evening, cried out an involuntary “Oh my bloody good god…” and actually fell backwards down the stairs onto the pavement again, so shocked was he by our new pink kitchen, so pink that we all wore sunglasses from that day on when going for a glass of milk.

And yet, pink as our kitchen was, it only used up half of the pink paint that my father had invented.

And so he set about the outside of the house.

And in no time at all we had pink window frames, a pink door, pink drainpipes and pink trim around the eaves of the bungalow, with a few dashes of his pink paintbrush we became “That lunatic family who live in the pink bungalow, you can’t miss it, follow the glow in the sky”


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