I’ve been ripping wall paper from a wall in the spare bedroom in our new home. I’ve never done this before and only began because it had started peeling away already and looked rather unsightly. The wallpaper has come off fairly easily but the backing paper sticks so I spray it with water and then scrape it off. This is easy but time-consuming. The strange thing is that beneath the wall paper is something that looks like cement or render. It’s not gib or plaster or anything like that. It’s also the exterior wall of the house which, on the outside surface, is granite. Anyone know what this might be? The house was built in 1904. Here’s a photo of the surface with some of the backing paper still stuck to it on the right side of the picture.


When we were in Edinburgh we walked past this school:


I took a photo of it because, well, look at it! It looks like a castle! It’s a private or independent school called George Heriot’s School. I looked up their fees and they go from £7000 – £11,000/year. What a waste of money! The state-funded schools here are terrific and completely free. They’re better than terrific. I can’t fault the school my kids go to in any way. They’re also diverse and diversity is something which I think is probably lacking at schools such as this one. So yes, if you want your kids to make friends with lots of little spoilt brats then you might need to spend £11,000.

I took this photo on the train from Edinburgh to Aberdeen as we crossed the River Tay. The train journey between Edinburgh and Aberdeen is lovely.


12 responses to “Wallpaper”

  1. A post from a friend of mine on facebook. Not sure it will help. Seems as though you know what you’re doing. 🙂

    you have to SOAK heaps of water in by squeezing a big car wash sponge into the area or soak a bath towel and try to get it to stay on the wall. You can get a very wet towel to stick to the wall regardless of gravity. It sounds to me like the difficulty is not waiting 10 mins or so for the water to soak into the glue – the water has to get through the paper and work on the glue for a while – it is 30 years since I did it so I can’t remember the wait-time: up to 20 mins but you will work it out, depends on the weather and paper. The paper should slide off like snail slime and if it doesn’t you need more water and wait-time. The surface of your wall looks like the first layer of plaster renderers do. In a house I had they did this layer as an under layer and then the top layer was finely plastered later.

    • Thanks! I don’t need a steamer because the paper just peels off with a bit of water. It’s really very easy. I was just wondering whether the wall underneath could be lime render since this was commonly used in old buildings. In any case, I’m not going to remove it or anything as it’s in good condition. I was just planning to put fresh wallpaper over the top again.

  2. I was thinking about schools the other day. Our local secondary school is not great, but the kids have managed to get by. The main problem is that a sizeable proportion of teachers seem to be miserable (and therefore take it out on the kids)/unable to cope :-/
    Heriots is a bargain at 11K, as it is closer to 18K at our local schools! There is only £3,500 allocated to each child in a state secondary, so the disparity in privilege is immense when you think of the experience that each child gets in terms of money spent on their education. I do feel uncomfortable with the general aura of privilege that children who come out of private schools can hold about them and the lack of awareness of what it’s like to come from different walks of life. It took me a long time to learn how to be normal after going to a private school!

    • Hey Denise, I realise my post is a bit unkind to all those lovely people who did attend private schooling and did very well out of it. I know they’re not all spoilt brats and you are certainly not! In my family though we all think it’s a waste of money because two of my sisters went to expensive private schools while I went to the free state-funded school and I did better academically than both of them.

      It’s sad that there should be so many miserable teachers. My experience so far with the little primary school my kids attend has been really great and the teachers are wonderful. I think the head teacher probably has a lot to do with the happiness of other teachers and the head teacher at this school is terrific.

      • It’s really true that the head teacher has a big influence on how happy the pupils and teachers are. I do think my experiences at school have made me think that it’s best to send your children to state school if it works out for them – unlike many people I only have one friend from school, not sure if that’s to do with me or the school…

      • It probably depends a lot on what options are available and also your kids. I guess some people might not have a good state-funded school in their area and so they feel forced to send their kids to private school. Did you feel the school you went to was very diverse in terms of the kids who went there? I also read a pretty terrible article from an anonymous teacher at a private school who was basically told to hide from some parents that their child was autistic. How the parents failed to notice is another story but the school was only concerned about bums on seats – money – and not at all interested in helping kids with special needs. It may be that this is an exception of course. I also have a friend who sent her son to a private school and she said all the other kids were sons of rich Russian oligarchs! Sounds dreadful.

      • The school wasn’t very diverse! There were a lot of children of North London lawyers, and a lot of children of over-competitive mums. I never felt like I fitted in to any of the social niches (mind you, I didn’t fit in when I went to a state primary either…), and my family didn’t have as much money as most others there – there wasn’t much understanding from teachers or pupils of how that might look. The oligarchs thing I suppose is a consequence of fees rising so fast in comparison with salaries -I imagine that far fewer people on normal salaries (my parents were a teacher and an engineer) could afford to send their kids private these days – it would take practically a whole adult’s salary to send 2 kids.

  3. I liked the photos of school and river. Clicked with iPhone 4s right?

    I have no clue about materials used to build walls. Hopefully some of your other readers know.

    • Yes, I’ve still got my iPhone 4s which seems to be getting slower and slower with each update. I’m not sure how long It’ll last before I decide to upgrade.

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