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15th Oct 2012

“Right Now There is a Man Who is Pushing My Buttons and Not in a Good Way”, Mairead Farrell on the Temptations of Being a Rebel

"I've always been what you'd call a good girl". So says Today FM presenter Mairead Farrell, but now she's thinking of breaking bad...

I’m not a rebel. I never have been. 

I’ve always been what you’d call a ‘good girl’; well behaved, don’t really like upsetting anyone. And as a kid when someone in charge said “no”, that really meant “no”… I didn’t go asking again.  

But right now there is a man who is pushing my buttons and not in a good way- he is making me think rebel thoughts, I REALLY want to do something he has told me not to. 

I’m talking about my landlord! 

I’m living in “his” house for over a year now. It ticks a lot of boxes for me; location, size, cost and, the one thing I love, a huge back garden. Since I’ve moved in I’ve changed a lot of things, all at my own expense, but the way I see it is I need to love where I live. It’s his house, but it’s my home. It’s my sanctuary; it’s where I lay my head to rest every night. 

Now, making some of the changes was painful because John*, (not his real name), couldn’t cope with anything new. He wanted everything to stay exactly the same. So because of that, the house looked like something from 1992!  

He wasn’t happy with me painting the entire interior white, but after a lot of arm-twisting he gave me the nod to do it. Then a few weeks later he called in and guess what? He LOVED it. He walked around the rooms saying: “it’s lovely and bright”. Yes John, it’s a north-facing Irish house. It doesn’t get a whole lot of light. With all his “oohs and aahs” about the white walls I seized my opportunity to change the kitchen presses. “Ah no Mairead, they’re lovely the way the way they are!” Yes they’re gorgeous if you like PINE! Ugh. Even typing the word pine gives me shivers! John took two months to think the about the kitchen presses and eventually caved. This was a side to myself I hadn’t seen before – pushing someone to change their mind isn’t something I normally do.

So I had a guy resurface the cabinets to a “Country Cream”. Once done, I found myself walking around the kitchen speaking like Dermot Bannon: “Look at how this once very dark kitchen is now so bright and airy!” Landlord John dropped by to see it finished. He was gently caressing the cabinets, ones he’d made with his own hands. I think it hurt him a little to say “Nice job, lovely finish”. Now maybe I should have left it there, but there is still one thing that is driving me mad about the house and it’s the kitchen ceiling.

It’s wood paneled. Some of you reading this might say: “What’s wrong with that?” Nothing really, but it just makes the kitchen so dark and it’s not my cup of tea. 

However if I was ALLOWED to paint it white, it would be life changing.

Yes, I said life changing. I would then actually sit in my kitchen and have a coffee and relax. Right now I sit there and start to feel the wood glaring down at me in all its darkness. It’s like having a black ceiling.

“To paint it would be life changing” – Mairead’s offending ceiling, and point of dispute with her landlord…

But I’m not allowed to do it. John wont let me.  Point-blank refusal. So although he loves everything I’ve done to improve his house, this is one step too far. Last week I asked him: “Are you ever going to live in this house again?” 

He said “No probably not”. AAAAAAAAGH! Well then why can’t I paint the f*&!ing ceiling to a colour that will actually mean I can turn the lights off during daylight hours! 

So what should I do? Will I just be a bad girl and lash a coat of white paint on it? Or do I continue to loathe it as it is… 

(Any not-so-busy painters, gimme me a shout! @cocomairead)  Wink


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