Wednesday, 14 August 2013

A story about wallpaper and aging

Last night I shared this story on Twitter and a few people asked me to blog it. So here it is, verbatim.

I would like to tell you a little story Twitter. It's about wallpaper. And aging.

My grandparents still live in the house my Mum grew up in. They're old now and my gran has full blown alzheimers so my Mum helps out.

She looks after my grandma while granda goes bowling (bowls not ten-pin) and runs errands and helps out around the house.

Grandma used to have free reign of the house until one night she escaped and the police brought her home at 4am in her nightie.

As the alzheimers has progressed, my grandma has been confined to four rooms so she doesn't hurt herself. One of these rooms is the hallway.

Now in this hallway, for as long as I can remember, there has been this quite naff foamy print wallpaper. It must have a name. I don't know.

When I was wee I used to like standing in the hallway running my fingers over the paper, trying to make a dent but not leaving a mark.

20 something years later, my grandma has taken to doing the same thing but on a more extreme level. She picks at the paper! (Naughty)

At first it was just a few bits but then Mum arrived one day to find she'd torn a huge strip of paper off the wall.

Luckily they had spare wallpaper but it was decided that she'd do it again and so Mum stripped the lovely foamy paper and painted the walls.

However, the porch entrance now has a different wall finish (shock horror!) and so it was decided that would be stripped and painted too.

So today my Mum spent hours stripping the wall only to discover five layers of paper, all the layers from throughout her childhood.

And I just find that to be such a lovely experience. And a sad one too. Mum remembers the layers but my grandma doesn't.

They still have amazing wallpaper in the kitchen. Here's me and my sister standing in front of it.

Holly and her sister in front of the vintage wallpaper in the kitchen

Praise for my amazing jumper please.

And here is me standing in front of the same wallpaper 20 years later.

Holly in front of the vintage kitchen wallpaper

Apparently foamy wallpaper is called anaglypta. It's well nice. [Google images]

And that is my story about wallpaper and aging. Thank you for listening.


  1. That's gorgeous. Seeing relatives age is so, so hard, especially when they get so ill. But how lovely that you have an experience like this that links the generations of your family so firmly in something so tangible and practical. xx