The guided tour part 1 – in all its inglorious glory.
I ‘fess up. The photos I posted yesterday were not the product of my camera (too in-focus, insufficient blur). They were borrowed from the estate agent’s particulars and, not surprisingly, show the poor old house in the best possible light. But I decided they don’t do justice to its rising damp, falling damp, subsidence and extensive termite damage (there have been some good quality termites through there). Neither, therefore, do they do justice to the full extent of our forthcoming heroism (yet to be tested, but we have faith). Or our lunacy, which is, anyway, a synonym for heroism.
So here are a few shots taken at a canter on one of the open inspection days.
This will eventually become my study, when the termites have been re-housed and the subsidence made to go away. Conjecturally it was once the smoking room, before the Maritime Board casually chopped off the back of the house to make room for a lane and the room became the 3x3m box it is now. I love the fact that you get the fanfare of those two huge arches into a deflated parp of the room itself. It amuses me. The scale seems on a par with whatever I might get up to in there.
This is in the basement. That indeterminate pale pink wall to the right is painted sandstone. My vision, of course, is that it will be stripped to reveal a gently glowing golden marvel, like some inner-city Camelot. The architect, who is more sanguine than I, (and who works next door, incidentally) warns me that the stone will almost certainly not live up to my expectations, but will be ‘fretting’ and doing all manner of anti-social stonelike things, such as crumbling, housing insects and sweating. I find the image of fretting stone endearing. I can empathise. But I fear I might not like the reality – maybe the stone and I don’t talk the same language. Maybe I can’t calm it down. Oh! But anyway, until that paint comes off, there are the dreams. The floor, btw, is sandstone flags. They appear to be less neurotic.
But those arches (there are three of them) – couldn’t you fall in love with them? I did. On the basis of less are entire fates sealed. On one of them there are still the slender coils that once held the servants bells and which presumably jingled and jangled until some poor hapless person had staggered two floors up to the piano nobile to do someone’s bidding. Stoke the fire. Tamp the fire. Adjust my teacup handle. Twitch that curtain. I have secret plans to get Supergirl initiated in the arcane ways of the bells. It’s just that I anticipate some battling to determine who is at which end.
One more piccy.
This is the fireplace in what might become the dining room, if we’re allowed to make a hole in the wall and throw the doors open to the half-postage stamp courtyard. The same half-postage stamp yard in which there is no room for my fishpond fish (are there adoption agencies for fish?). Be quiet. Focus on the fireplace. See that piece of metal above the lintel? That’s the old gas fitting. It will be staying, whether or not we want it, so it’s rather good that we do. Of course the brick excrescence at the bottom is for the chop. And you can’t really tell, but the fireplace is huge. Sadly there was no obligiing person around at the time to give the picture perspective. Not to mention charm and colour value.
I lied. One more.
Ta-da. The one unsullied stone wall, on which many a dream has been founded. Too bad it’s in the room that’s going to be the laundry and dogs’ bedroom. I shall have to teach them to appreciate hand-cut and finished stonework. A sort of advanced, somewhat specialised form of dog training. The architect pointed out (bad sign, when puns creep in so early) that the blocks would have been cut and finished by convicts. I did contemplate whether my conscience could allow me to live in the house, but then I decided to be feckless.