Half of a postcard from Londinium.

Hola  mi gente encantadora, mi beach umbrellas, mi leetle bicyclettes.

Now firstly, I should warn you that if you’re not feeling disposed for a bit of glump, you might want to leap over the next paragraph and  land safely on the second, where you’ll find a pink velvet sofa waiting to break your fall.   And if you are so disposed, I just need to break that cardinal rule of Blogland –  Stay Positive or Stay Silent – for a brief moment.


Because a couple of days ago I came to my machine to write a post to say goodbye and shut down the blog, since all things Regency Wreck are so mired in pessimism and so swathed about with gloom that frankly it’s hard to write about anything in a positive light.    The Battle continues on, roaring then whimpering then roaring again.

Alex Wein - Sirens

But anyway,  instead of writing that post, I overdosed on cashew nuts, clambered out of my black hole, had a little rummage in my mental pockets and found a tattered postcard from London lurking.  You know, from the trip in April.  How long ago that feels!  Lawdy.  We had only a few days there, but it was the usual emotional homecoming (for me, anyway), the usual slug to the gut walking around my old stamping ground.  I always feel tearful when I first arrive in London.  It’s the tearfulness of returning to a place where your heart is (or a large chunk of it), but not your life.  The city which you have not moved on from but which has moved on from you.  The happily married ex.  You know, all of  that.  And after I’d got over that, we spent our time cantering around the streets like the demented offspring of Mammon, ogling light fittings, sofas, paint colours, dog collars, bits of art. It’s a strange way of being at the moment – swanning around like Lady (Sch)Muck, ordering kitchens and sofas and the like, while on the other side of the mental curtain there are scenes from Dante’s Inferno going on.  And it’s perverse in the extreme, I know, to source from the other side of the world, but there you are.  You can take the Pimp out of London but you can’t take London out of  Pimp.  And anyway, it’s cheaper over there.

So sofas. We are in need of two.  One for the living room, the have-a-cup-of-tea-or-a-glass-(several)-of-wine room, and one for the library/telly room.  One  moderately upright and one supine.  Or maybe both supine, depending on the bevies and the hour.

And I’ve learned an important lesson (not exactly one of life’s big existential lessons, but important within the context), which is to not buy sofas you haven’t first sat on. I’d been having a little online fling with Mr Matthew Hilton for some time before we went.  His lines appealed to my contemporary-meets-traditional notion of the Regency Wreck.  I felt sure I’d be ordering a Lucas


or an Oscar


or a Sissinghurst, for a dash of mid century


But when we espied them in Liberty and lowered our eager frames into their depths, there was what I can only describe as a back-to-bum-interface-situation- situation, the back being hard and the seat soft.  Or was it the other way around?  Either way, the sofas weren’t as we imagined.  Though having said that,  had we left our bottoms there a little longer, we would have discovered, as we did at the house of friends with a Mr Hilton, that the seats mould themselves around the sitter rather oomphily, given a minute or two.  However, by that time Mr P had struck up a little something with this, also spotted at Liberty, and so we ordered one.


And yes, I’m sticking to my resolve and having it covered in pale pink velvet (though  my heart has roamed onto orange, and mutinous thoughts are twitching in my mind, but too late, too late!).  And incidentally, I’ve lived all these millennia without knowing what a tuxedo sofa is, or even that there was such a designation (which obviously explains that slight sense of there being something missing in life).  I’m perfectly sure that you knew a tuxedo sofa was one where the arms and back were the same height, but I did not.

Which leaves the library sofa still to go.  We were at the end of a particularly tiring morning when we staggered out of the lift in Heal’s to fall almost immediately into the arms of this little number by the Italian company Contempo


Like me, it doesn’t photograph well – you can’t see its beautiful copper coloured frame, for instance.  Nor can a photo deliver the feeling of falling into a perfect Victoria sponge – neither too springy nor too soft – and lying there, blissed out, amidst the strawberry jam. It was, I tell you, the one.  Sofa home.  Superlative supine.  The only plobs being that there are only two suppliers of Contempo in UhStraya, one of whom simply can’t be arsed, the other of whom is wonderful but in Perth. Which might as well be a couple of countries away. And even wonderful can’t get me samples in under a month, and then there’s the four month waiting period after that and the usual situation of Australian prices being over twice those of Europe.  Why don’t I just go down the road and get something lovely from Mr Somebody?  Well, because.  (I once had a dream about there being two paths across a mountain I needed to cross – one straight around the base and another meandering all over – precipitous, vertiginous, overgrown and given to avalanches.  You can guess the rest).

Anyway, that’s enough of sofas.  There’s another half to the tattered postcard but I must up, up and away to Potty Training, so I will have to find a stamp and mail that other bit later. Laters, potaters.

31 Responses to “Half of a postcard from Londinium.”

  1. Hi, there, because its easier to distract my self with your search for sofas I actually purchased a magazine which has a picture of a pink sofa that seemed to be what you might be looking for. Its very similar to the burnt orange sofa in your picture. The information about it is relatively obscure just as the price of it is also something you have to enquire about which also makes me feel extremely suspicious that is extraordinarily expensive. But, very tempting.

    A thought for the future.
    You will find on a misty morning (such as I looked at this morning) you will look out to the harbour from your bedroom window and find peace and tranquility. Its magic!

    • I shall look forward to seeing that picture. And thank you for the thought for the future – I certainly look forward to the magic, whenever it appears. I’m hoping it’s working its charms on you, and making things seem worthwhile and possible, because you’ve got your own waiting game happening.

  2. London is the Queen of many hearts. So stiff upper lip, and “Baby please don’t go”. Lesson25 in PMB: You got to sit on a sofa to know if it loves you. Anyway, if we all end up in Court I am sure we would love to hear those details. Meanwhile, make sure you get the smarter Barrister.

    • Oh the things I’d love to say Suzanne, even before court… But I’m hushing my big ole blabbermouth in the name of prudence. And yes, stiff upper lips and all that – but honestly, it’d need to be so stiff in this instance that you could use it as a crockery shelf.

  3. Don’t you dare to quit on us. You must blog-on and on and on…. please endure. Love your posts, hopes are up that Regency Wreck will become a dream home for you all.
    Till next time….

  4. I, too, have been having similar feelings about my house, though we’re on the other end of it – selling. This quick snippet of the horror movie “Poltergeist” pretty much sums up my current mental state:

    (If you’re not familiar with the film, a family discovers their house to be haunted because the builder positioned the neighborhood smack on top of a cemetery. Without bothering to move the previous residents.)

    • Hey Raina. You too? That’s not good (but it’s sure as hell reassuring for me – sorry!). I don’t know what the market is like where you are, but I hope your house sells. And soon. Those kitchen cupboard doors have to count for something and besides, you deserve your mountain dream house. Did someone say this isn’t a fair universe? Gag them.

      That clip pretty much says it for me too – I’m not much into that sort of thing but I’m seriously thinking the house will need some sort of cleansing ritual if it ever gets finished. People bearing smoke and chants or maybe just people bearing very big bottles of very strong alcohol.

    • That was a good one Raina!!

  5. I drove myself a little crazy over slate worktops and The Right Colour of Floor Varnish. Some years later, my circumstances are much reduced. So I’m glad I was able, in the first instance, to choose lovely finishes which lasted, and which I can still enjoy, even though I won’t be able to replace them when they finally bite the dust. Keep us posted.

    • Ruth! Nice to hear from you – I’ve been looking out for blog entries but I know what happens when momentum is lost. I’m with you on getting good finishes and good workmanship. It drives me nuts when a builder just plonks something inappropriate down, or simply doesn’t bother to do a job properly – I want to tell them that the house will be wearing their bad day for many years. And I think you’re right that good things last longer – I hope your varnish and your slate worktops keep bopping for many years.

  6. Rachel McElhinney Says:

    Oh please don’t give us the final toodle pip and disappear into the blogosphere boneyard. Yours is a unique voice. Please keep pecking out your missives.
    Take heart, dear one. If you can’t bear to write about the ruinous Regency wreck, take a break, and write about something else. There are probably larky bits and adventures past and present that you’d enjoy writing about.
    Just because you’d like to set a match to the Regency wreck, it doesn’t mean you have to commit purdah and go down in flames too. Carry on.

    • Thanks for the lovely message Rachel – much appreciated. I love the idea of pecking out missives – it makes me feel like a fine fat chicken! And I shall. Or shall try.

  7. Reading your post today has been one of my best blog moments. It’s funny, honest, timely and you’ve added photos of some truly beautiful sofas. I’m glad you’ve decided to stick around.

  8. Please don’t go – I love your blog so much.
    I survived a renovation of a 1860’s terrace in Darlinghurst and lived to tell the tale – though your reno is much more ambitious.

    I don’t think I have the mental strength to do it again, but when it was complete ( is it ever complete…?) I did gain an enormous sense of pride and satisfaction with a dash of smugness thrown in – (the ex husband said I would never be able to do it on my own.) I battled builders, the entire ground floor flooding, termites, wiring issues, structural issues , shonky painters but I got there in the end.
    here’s the link to the post on my terrace in Darlo.

    • Hello Victoria. I’m impressed – to go through that with someone is hard enough. To go through it on your own is pretty damned near heroic. I’m glad to find your blog (we both have a daughter with the same name) but if my initial squiz at it this evening before dashing out was right, you’ve sold? If so, I look forward to your next adventures. The house, btw, looks wonderful.

  9. Your life certainly isn’t dull! It will all settle down, and you will sit in wonderful sofas (I was quite taken with Oscar). Can you just ship them from London? That’s what I did with my stove.
    London as the happily married ex, i get that.

    • Hey Tricia. I’d love a bit of dull at the moment. I feel rather like a piano that need a quick tuning and then a sojourn under a nice, white dust sheet! Yes, I could ship them out from London. The tuxedo is coming on a boat. As is the kitchen, the laundry, and the pantry. And anything else I can think of before it leaves port.

  10. I am sometimes lost for words by all these other clever words going on on this here blog, but still I feel compelled to write something. Liking the sofas and the memories of trotting around London, of Tottenham court road and Heals and other nice furniture shops around and about. I do like the oscar, but it is of greater importance to have a comfy sofa, of course it is. I would love to be there when it all arrives from London. Like christmas on steroids.

    • Well I hope you keep feeling compelled Rosa. When it all arrives (if?), I’ll take photos and post them here. There’ll be a kitchen, a pantry, a laundry, a library, stair carpet, a sofa and sundry assorted detritus. Quite a bit of ribbon needed…

      • Hi thanks for your comments on blog. I think Anon is my brother in law who thinks he is very funny posting rude comments, so I have to humour him by posting them. bless him.

  11. Deb Genua Says:

    It looks like London was a great success of a trip, your choices are gorgeous and I can’t wait to see the rest. Pink velvet sounds sooo invitng and lighthearted, beautiful and classic with an edge all rolled into one Fab piece!

    I SO appreciate your authenticity about the real trials and tribulations of an extensive rehabilitation job. It annoys me beyound belief to watch the TV shows in which a complex remodel has one tense moment and then all goes perfectly well and the mission complete in two weeks (I don’t watch anymore, simply too absurd). The sad thing is it sets the wrong expectation for the innocent. Your voice is a beacon of truth about the reality of a big project and I appreciate you so much!

    Please blog on, I couldn’t stand missing you and the RW, I wonder about you all the time and how things are bobbing along.

    Sending thoughts of strength your way! Deb in Denver

    • Deb, thanks so much for your lovely comment. It’s very reassuring to hear that a bit of honesty can be allowed in blogland (and oh, what a truck more I’d like to deliver!). And I love what you say about the pink sofa – I’ll remember that when I (inevitably) have the wibbles about whether it was the right one.

  12. Where are you? Hope all is well with you.

    • Hey Rosa – thanks for the nudge and sorry I didn’t get around to replying sooner. We have had no internet for the last two or three weeks (other than by phone) and won’t have any for another two. I’ll probably bash up a post though, soon. Hope all is going well with house hunting.

  13. It’s that time again…roll up your sleeves and exercise your skilled and communicative fingers. We are coiled springs, waiting to read a beautifully crafted sentence or two from your magnificent keys. Exercise your digits, my dear… I, for one, am suffering withdrawal.

    Hoping you are hanging on to sanity (although it’s vastly overrated, in my opinion), and sending you positive thoughts.

    Ruth, loft, South London (helicopter search going on overhead)

  14. Oh my heavens you almost ruined my day!! Thank goodness you didn’t shut down the blog. My little French country wreck nestled in North Carolina, seems to throw a fit every summer–roofers here as we speak and as usual, not covered by insurance!! I get lots of queries from Australians for my online store. Furniture does seem wildly expensive there. It should be cheaper there as you are closer to the Asian and Indonesian factories!! I’ve been reading and running rather than stop and say hello, which I am rectifying today. You want solid wood frames–eight way hand tied springs and spring down cushions underneath all that style!!

    • Hey Liz, lovely as always to hear from you. I can commiserate about the roof – hope the roofers do their (good) thing and leave you in peace shortly. And yes, furniture is madly expensive here, as is everything else bar food, it seems. I’m not in the slightest surprised you get lots of enquiries from Australians. I’m glad I’m not the only one looking offshore!

  15. I am hoping that everyone who has responded to this blog will keep adding to it. It’s lovely to hear from everyone and may be its our turn to keep it going until pimpmybricks can.

    Ruth, Rosa, Liz, Tricia Rose, Jane, Deb, Raina, Suzanne, Rambling Poet, Dovecote Decor, Rachel (and others I haven’t mentioned) I know its not how its normally done but I am sure a pimpmybricks would love a little a story or picture from all of you. I know I would.

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