Lately I have been busy painting. I’m staining the exterior of the so-called chicken house, the little palace especially constructed to house my passion for raising canaries – which, incidentally, is in full swing. Neat little nests are being built, tiny eggs are being laid, incubated for two whole weeks, and hungry little mouths are hatching. Both mummy and daddy feed the young.

I thought at first this paint job was going to be a challenge, as the exterior is rough-sawn board and batten. But, in fact, both first and second coat went on quite easily, with the first, of course, soaking up gallons of paint and the second very little more. I have now moved on to the double coats of white stain that is slated for the 100 newly peeled and planted cedar posts that encircle the new paddock being built for the winter-weary animals.

The fact is, I love to paint. The reason for that is a longtime, well-known secret. I was fortunately shown how to paint properly by not one of the best, but by the best painter in the city of Guelph at the time. Perhaps I should explain that feature of luck.

I was a licenced broker in real estate at the time, and one of my shelf companies was property management. That involved rentals. Guelph being a university town, there was always a great turnover of carefree tenants. That led to the need of a further shelf company in the maintenance field.

It was here that Lady Luck favoured me with the takeover of a mismanaged, up-shot, young cleaning company. Lock, stock, and barrel included, two vehicles, all the equipment, two male employees, and a capable secretary. How lucky could I get? The secretary knew how to type and bookkeep and was polite on the phone. The two male employees looked out of place if they didn’t have a paintbrush in their hand. The older of the two had spent, if my memory is correct, a couple of decades in a paint store. There was very little that he didn’t know about paint and its application, and he had obviously learned much of it from others’ mistakes.

In property management, we quite often found a tenant waiting to move in on the same weekend that the previous one moved out. It was there that I was fortunately indirectly taught how to paint and enjoy doing it.

Quite often, with economics in mind, an apartment was cleaned up and newly painted overnight. Not wishing to ask anyone to do things that I myself would not do often found me on the end of a paintbrush working through the greater portion of a night. It was here that I was casually shown how to properly fill a brush or roller and how to apply it.

Hey. I got to go. I am almost finished painting the paddock posts – I have 26 done with only 74 more to go.

Take care, ‘cause we care.



Barrie Hopkins