Sign of the times – now it’s cartoons on bedroom walls

A young Rick Jackson decorating an Isle of Wight bus
A young Rick Jackson decorating an Isle of Wight bus
Jo and Rhys Williams competing in a nighttime navigational competition in East Hampshire

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The other question every man dreads has only been asked once

We live in a three-bedroomed house at Alverstoke and we had plenty of room when we moved in two years ago. Since then, babies have arrived or are on the way.

Freddie has been in the small box third bedroom which has been perfect as his little nursery. We also had a spare double bedroom for guests. Not any more.

Lucky old Freddie-Chops will be moving into that second bedroom shortly and his little sister, who arrives in December, will take his old room.

Sarah has started talking about painting cartoon characters on the walls – Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Andy Capp.

I’m happy to splash some blue over the walls but the idea of tracing and then painting these characters has filled me with dread, but I have no excuse.

During my apprenticeship many moons ago, I learned sign-writing because I worked for the bus company in the Isle of Wight.

During my time I helped paint Osborne House and Queen Victoria, a space shuttle, shire horses, a smuggler, a dinosaur plus a pint of ale on the sides of buses to advertise different attractions and products.

We’d get the design and photocopy it on to a sheet of acetate then, using an overhead projector, enlarge the image over the side of the bus. Then we’d basically colour it in.

Sounds easy, but the skill involved to replicate the original image took years. Today, sadly, the art is almost lost thanks to the incredible advances in vinyl technology. Today, you’d just wrap a bus.

We’ve agreed the shade of blue and the Pompey badge will go up, now it’s between Mickey and Donald.

I suppose it could have been worse. She could have asked for shelves or another stair gate.

Thankfully, the other question every man dreads has only been asked once and so far I’ve said no.

Sarah is determined this will be our last child. I bet you can guess what that other dreaded question was.