Bedfordshire. The A5. - Miss Bland of Hemel Hempstead got more than she bargained for, Sunday just gone.
Little did she know that when she pulled on yesterdays skiddies, thinking 'It's only Sunday, I'm not going anywhere' that she would be on a whirlwind trip that would lead to her downstairs toilet area being given a spruce up of "Home Invasion" proportions.
Not half an hour later, while cleaning her teeth on a tepid cup of mellow birds and a superkings light, her common law husband informed her of the magical mystery tour he intended to take his intended on, in celebration of their five months together.
'I cou'ent believe it' stammered Miss Bland around mouthfuls of Wetherspoons Sunday roast, later the same day. 'I was just sitting there one minute and the next fing I knows, Wayne's dragging me out the door to a boot sale and saying that he would buy me anyfing I want, up to a tenner, for me house'
Wayne Swedge, Miss Blands philanthropic fellow, continued the delightful tale by saying 'the kids were still asleep so I thought lets make a day of it and pop up the booty, usually when I say that on a Sunday morning it means summat different' he added, with his adorable chuckle.
'innit' Miss Bland concurred demurely and then went on to add, 'I was walking round the boot sale not really looking at anyfing cos of being a bit tired from being in a new relationship and WKD blue innit. And all of a sudden I sees it on this stall. It was like this basket of shells and candles and stuff and it still had the wrapper on an all and it smelled gorgeous it did.'
It was at this stage that Miss Bland realised that she may have something special in her hands, not unlike her usual Sundays, when the children are still in the care of Morpheus.
'Yeah, innit though, and I was all like, Wayne I gotta have it and he was all like what is it? and I was all like, blokes don't know nuffink and stuff though, innit'
Upon returning to the family home and unwrapping her new possession, Miss Bland was greeted by the welcome surprise of a tube of paint and a small handful stencils thanks to Wayne's negotiating skills, 'Well they was the same colour as what she bought innit, the shells and that, so I saw these on another blokes stall and had em away di'unt I? cos the twunt was arksing a fiver for bunch of paints and crap. And look, the stencils are all like under water shapes innit'
Quicker than one can utter the magic phrase "can you tell what it is yet?" the happy couple had applied the coloured stencils to the walls, placed the basket of sea shells on the cistern and lit a candle with the aroma of an "ocean sirocco" according to the label on its base.
'Oh it was like magic, the change was amazing, it was like walking on a sandy beach' whispered Miss Bland in a hushed, awed tone.
Mr Swedge agreed enthusiastically 'I walked in after she lit that candle and I felt chilled straight away, it made me feel like a better person'
Your humble reporter agreed to witness this transformation for himself and accompany these sub-urban Michaelangelos to their palace of magical enchantment under the sea.
I have to say, as I made my way through their very ordinary hallway to the little room at the end, on the left, I was not quite prepared for what awaited me.
Upon opening the door I had to do a double take and step outside again so as to ensure some form of practical joke had not been played upon me. I verified that the "little room" door did not lead to another house or prefabricated studio location, the transformation was that complete.
The shells, the smell, the décor, all conspiring to transport me to a wonderland of surf and relaxation that I had not experienced since my honeymoon in The Seychelles, all these single, humble items coming together in a symphony of Mozart-esque proportions, so much greater than the sum of their individual components .
I left the Bland-Swedge household a humbler man, smaller, faced with a world of startling beauty in my face, but with a promise etched upon my very soul. A vow, to all the gods, that I would do everything in my power to revisit this hallowed ground again, before my time on this earth is finished and if at all possible, spend my Sundays wandering car boot sales the length and breadth of Christendom, in the vain hope of securing for myself, some similar talismans of magic, so they may work their mystical ways upon my own little room and give me the same chance of true happiness that now fills the lives of Miss Bland and Mr Swedge.