Archive for the Georgian houses Category

The fool’s waltz – one step forward, two steps…

Posted in Georgian houses, Renovation, sandstone walls, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 20, 2013 by pimpmybricks

Well hello there campers.  Long time, no thingummies.

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(Please take as read the by-now standard apology for time elapsing, general slack tartishness and various assorted etceteras).

Actually, in fact, I had intended to write a post during our five week extravaganza to the UK, but we went at such a fast clop here, there and everywhere, ordering sofas, gathering paint samples and (most importantly) organising retirement homes, that I had hardly a second to sit at my machine.

despair

 

In order to cope with the stress and the sheer wall of anger generated by house issues, our response has been, as far as possible, to pretend that the Regency Wreck doesn’t actually exist.  Instead, we have tiptoed, hand in hand, into the realm of fantasy.

william blake's 'jacob's ladder'

Not  that nice, safe, unattainable variety of fantasy, mind you,  but the sort that has a margin of realism, something that might actually be pulled off by those with stunning reserves of masochism, goodly sets of blinkers and at least one very impulsive adventure seeker (that would be me, the sort of adventure seeker who always forgets that adventures are hard.  Incidentally, on hearing my (abbreviated) litany of woes, someone at potty training last week reminded me that I was even so lucky to be in my position.  And, of course, she was absolutely right.  I think the mistake is in expecting luck to always feel pleasurable).

In any case, the bummer of it all is that our bolt into fantasy still involves houses!  Do you see what I mean by masochism? Is there no escape? Were we terrible destroyers of houses in other lives who have been set the task of making amends in this life?  It’s bonkers, I tell you, and I watch aghast as we keep on doing the same thing, but keep on we do.

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So this little jaunt into fantasy – it started as a throwaway line.  The best and the worst things always seem to start with throwaway lines, don’t they?  Some friends told us that a house in the Somerset countryside which we know well, which we used to walk past yearningly, had finally come onto the market.  This was the house we dreamed about buying when we were properly grown up. It was the house we asked our friends about every year when we visited – had they heard anything about it, had it come on the market yet?

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And now it was footloose and fancy free and seeking a dalliance with new people.  Excuse me, all potential buyers – but that would be us.  Begone, you scurvy knaves, get thee hence!

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There are complications though. Always with the complications! One, a mere bagatelle, being the mountain of money it would take to secure this house.  We would have to sell almost everything (including that house which will never be finished).  We would have to go cantering over there quam celerrime.  It would take upheaval of the most blithering variety.  The Regency Wreck in comparison?  Would be a doddle.  A waltz in the proverbial park.  But why let that stand in the way?

And while we were at it, drooling over our old love, we had a little look at other houses in the same area.  They got bigger and madder the further we looked.  We rediscovered our old fantasy of doing up a vast old wreck and running it as a hotel.  If I tell you we got down to what we’d serve for breakfast and the fact that I’d need a studio to make the crockery, you’ll see how far gone we are.  If you’re going to be sick, I tell you, be properly so.

There was this one, which utterly smote my heart:

tintin

But it’s near a busy road and the whole village can peer into your windows.  But even so, look:

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and

GetRes-2.ashx

And then there was this little tootsie, which is already a hotel.  In need of, of course, dosh and love.  And, oh em gee, new bathrooms:

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and

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The problem with that one is that there’s a car breakers yard just over the hedge.  So then we found another, this one already a hotel and one which Mr P has the  decided hots for (me less so – it’s a tad masculine):

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A grade 1 medieval number in need of a bit of colour and oomph

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But alas alackikins, this one sits in the grounds of an agriculture college and has no land.

And there are more.

But I am off for supper.  I’ll be back in short order with pictures of the sofas ordered, rugs ogled and that sort of thing.  Tooraloo.

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Of visitations and kitchen islands.

Posted in Georgian houses, kitchen, Renovation, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 31, 2013 by pimpmybricks

In just over 6 hours Mr P and I will be toddling off to the UK, for the visitation of parents (and the buying of sofas).  Lawdy.  All the manifold house balls hovering precariously in the air  will somehow have to be brought in to land before then. The current crises (colour for the stairs, treatment for the floors) will have to be parked on little piles of crossed fingers in the hope that they’ll magically resolve themselves while we’re away.

Our run up to departure has been an interesting one.  You know, interesting in the manner of the Chinese proverb.

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Mr P’s car has developed a mysterious, and possibly fatal, illness.   Yesterday, while bailing out his old wooden boat, which was sinking, Mr Pimp managed also to drown his phone.  While he was busy drowning his phone, his tender slipped its tether and bobbed off down the harbour, leaving him stranded.  When he got home, his new computer blew up. Miss P developed a stomach bug.  And I sprained my ankle on those lovely flagstones in the basement and am hobbling round now like a cartoon crone with one ankle the size of a small watermelon. But you know what? There’s something almost relieving when the outside universe so closely mirrors the chaos of the internal.  It renders it all quite funny, in a perverse sort of way.  You just set your course and steer straight ahead.  Battle on girls, battle on.

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I don’t know about you, but when I’m a tad overwhelmed by things that need resolving, my mind tends to scuttle into one small corner of the chaos and concentrate on that.  The corner du jour (du? de? Oh, who knows or cares?!) is the question of what colour to paint the kitchen island.  Sadly, we’ve had to jettison my plans for a bronze island – rapidly diminishing piles of moolah for one thing, and for another the big black steel doors who commanded me not to introduce anything else dramatic into that space.  And so it is this question of kitchen islands which comes in a rescue boat at 3 in the morning when I’m stranded on my island of wakeful lunacy and steers me off to saner waters.  Though having said that, I’m contemplating pink. Is that utterly bonkers barmy, do you think?

Plain English

So anyway, off we toddle in a few short hours.  To say we’re unprepared for the trip is an understatement – packing so far is a pile of clothes plucked distractedly from their hangers and dumped unceremoniously on a chest of drawers.  I do, however, know the whereabouts of my passport this time.  Someone asked me to let them know in a post whether I found it, and if so where.  So for the record,  I did indeed find it (or rather, the redoubtable Mr Pimp did).  At the farm.  In, of all places, a filing cabinet.  A filing cabinet!  Who in their right minds would keep a passport in such an obvious place?  Mine should have been in the glove drawer where it’s always been.

I’m hearing tales of frigid weather awaiting us in the UK and (apologies to all who’ve had a long hard Winter there) I’m relishing it with utter glee.  Snow?  Oh, yes please.  Rain?  Pure bliss.  I can’t tell you how much I love English weather, especially the rain.  This poem by Hone Tuwhare gets pretty close to explaining why

Rain

I can hear you
making small holes
in the silence
rain

If I were deaf
the pores of my skin
would open to you
and shut

And I
should know you
by the lick of you
if I were blind

the something
special smell of you
when the sun cakes
the ground

the steady
drum-roll sound
you make
when the wind drops

But if I
should not hear
smell or feel or see
you

you would still
define me
disperse me
wash over me
rain

Hone Tuwhare 1922-2008

(found on http://likeafieldmouse.com)

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Tooraloo.

Bali bye.

Posted in Georgian houses, hallway, kitchen, Renovation, sandstone walls with tags , , , , on January 28, 2013 by pimpmybricks

Eh bien Mesdames et M’sieurs.  This was going to be a brief missive, the merest whiff of a post dashed off in haste as I winged my way out of the door and into a waiting aeroplane.  Can’t you just see my suitcase trailing chiffon scarves and feel those kisses blown from my fingertips?  (All very Isadora Duncan before the car trip, I know).

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It has been a rather grim couple of months trudging through my crappy health issues, and as well as that there have been a couple of big parental health scares.  When we arrived at my birthday a couple of weeks ago Mr Pimp, gawd luv  ‘im, suggested  we find a cheapie break and take ourselves off for a few days.  And so we set our caps at Ubud.  The plane was booked for this afternoon, the Herberts stowed, the suitcases packed, and we were more than ready to go.

Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal Temple, Ubud

Except. Except. A most exceptionable except.

My passport has gone missing!

It has vanished, seemingly, off the face of the earth. Gone off on a little sojourn of its own.  Or, more likely, it was stuffed into a box when we packed up our old house and moved to this godforsaken tin can, and then taken to the farm.  Where it now languishes in stygian gloom beneath lawd knows what boxed rubbish,  and has grown tired of calling to us.   So here we are, a half hour after we should have taken off, drowned and dismal and with the week ahead hanging off us like an extra skin.  And I am feeling like the egregiously air headed flake that I sometimes am. Bali Hi? Sadly, I don’t sink so.

This was going to be our bedroom:

naya

But anyway,  that a leaves me with a whole swathe of unexpected leisure time in which to show you the latest bit of progress in the house.  One, luckily, about which we are wildly enthusiastic. The pictures are a little dark because, ahem, I have a new camera (one birthday present which didn’t go wrong).  A new and, I must confess, somewhat frightening camera.  So frightening in fact that I felt quite unable to attach the flash (a flash that isn’t in-built?  New to me).  Anyway, when I get my confidence, we might all look forward to better pics.  But now,  Ladies and Gents, without any further paffing and faffing, I give you the steel doors (cue a bit of  parping fanfare):

steel door from hall into kitchen

The picture above being from the hall into the kitchen and through to the door into the pantry.  And below, into the pantry:
steel door into pantry

And from the kitchen into the dining room and hallway:

steel door from kitchen to dining room

So that being done, I shall return to my sitting and thinking and failing to believe that anyone could really miss a holiday by dint of a disappearing passport.  I mean, it’s absurd and unbelievable, isn’t it?  (Even now I keep expecting it to sidle around a chair leg and waggle itself for attention).   But actually, I have decided that we shall not sit here moping but gather ourselves up and go forth into the torrential rain and try to extract a bit of fun from this molten, silvery day.  Tally ho!

Deck the halls with indecision

Posted in digressions, Dress-ups, Georgian houses, hallway, Inspiration, Renovation with tags , , , , on November 23, 2012 by pimpmybricks

Hola mis bellezas, mis peanut sellers and usherettes,

Firstly, a slight digression if I may (if indeed it’s possible to digress from what you haven’t yet begun).  A visit to my stats page recently revealed that someone arrived at this blog via, of all things in this vast and crazy universe, a search for “in my country we smoke lion fur”.  Not once, I hasten to add, but twice.  The mind fair boggles, so it does.  And to compound the mystery further, I could not see how that got them here because when I also typed the same thing into google it didn’t lead me home.  In fact it didn’t lead me anywhere in particular.  Which actually was a shame, because stress is currently so great on the house (and several other) fronts that I was hoping to find a bit of a ‘how to’ on smoking lion fur.  Maybe even a u tube video or two – you know, a sort of wildlife Mrs Beeton.  “Firstly,  trim the manes of two dozen lions…”   But maybe it’s not quite as strange as it first appears because we did, after all, as undergraduates, used to hang our old banana skins over radiators in the vain hope that they might produce datura-esque effects.  Alas, all it ever did was add to the squalor.  And what can I say in our defence?  – nothing, other than that we were all lost to Mr Ginsberg at the time.  Khaddish and all that.  I even used to wear an old 50s leather jacket which moaned and split every time I moved.

So anyway.  Let us begin. Recently we had a demand from the builder for all of the ceiling colours.  All of them! A bit of a surprise, I can tell you, because some rooms don’t even have ceilings.   But I hopped to it and by the skin of my teeth (and a leaking paint pot which erupted all over my hands as I was transporting it to the house) I made the delivery on time.  Cue scenes of builder and painters at the front door tapping their waiting toes, consulting their time pieces – you get the gist, minus a bit of hyperbole if you’re feeling pedantic.   All of which has served as a warning that wall colours might also be demanded with menaces at any unpredictable time and that I must, to put it bluntly, shift my arse accordingly.

Now I love colour.  Love it with a pash.  But my usual MO when choosing it is to take forever, pottering and pondering, doing little pigment mixings, taking note of how the light falls on it,  thinking for a month or two, having a crisis or three, and then finally deciding.  It ain’t gonna happen like that in this house.  We’ve paid for the house to be painted, and painted it will damned well be. But oh!  I deflate like an elderly balloon at the prospect of having to specify all that colour!  And all at once!  Because in so doing we’re back to that great imponderable – what ‘mood’ does the RW want to be captured in?  A rather plain and sober mood that shows off its beautiful classical proportions?  Something a little more Rococo and playful?   Something feminine?  Masculine? Eclectic?  Contemporary? Moody and dark?  Light and airy?  Egads, Sirrah, you do tax me most unfair.

A friend and I were talking recently and one thing we felt was that the house would not look good dressed all in unadorned white.  Not unless we had a vast collection of vast artworks, which, alas, we do not.  Without the vast artwork, we felt, it would be a little boring. Like someone left standing in their petticoats, awaiting the maid to dress them. So colour it must be!  But what?  And where? And how?  My friend suggested I gather together a palette of colours that I like, which all harmonise well. She is right, of course.  I know she is absolutely right, but I am dragging my little hooves to the task like that proverbial horse…  Instead I find myself concentrating on individual areas, hoping they will somehow all end up speaking to one another. Willy nilly and without any help from me. Never ask me to match-make your aunty, or do the seating arrangements for dinner parties. (Did you know, bee tee dubs, that some people do colour boards for their seasonal entertaining? I discovered this quite by chance recently and was aghast but unrepentant about my own failings).

So anyway anyway.  Back to business. My area du jour is the hallway and staircases.  Which are built to a large scale, but which, because we have the extra ‘wing’ at the back, lack light at the ground floor (though it is bright above). I have been playing housey dress-up and fished a few things out of the box.

Firstly, this is the hallway, to remind you.  Or rather, this is the hallway as was, before the builder set about it.  It now sports a bath, a mountain of wood and a very racy (actually mind bogglingly depressing) earlier colour scheme in death-by-yew green and dried blood:

and

Now then.  The sober mood. I have a great love for Farrow and Ball’s Elephant Breath, not only because of the name (and I must say that when in Zimbabwe and surrounded by elephants I didn’t so much notice the colour of their breath as their propensity to tiptoe.  Have you noticed that about them?):

In this sober mode, I’ve wondered about  adding a bit of Grisaille on the right hand wall as you come in, just up to the arch.  I’ve been out and about (digitally) visiting Zuber and de Gournay and the like, but a conversation about money yesterday (conversation would be the polite word for it anyway)  has seen me scuttling from their front doors like a mouse in plain worsted.  This, though, is a manageable version from G&W:

Or this from Cole and Son, but mucho more coconuts:

So that’s one option, and quite sober it is too.

However, my pink furnace is still burning away and I’m thinking possibly this, on the same wall:

but in this colour way, with splashes of a similar hue on various landings:

But having tipped my cap at pink,  I also have to say that a certain blue persistently tugs at me.  Tugs and tugs and won’t leave me alone. There is this, by Axel Vervoordt (stolen from a waiting room mag – you can still see the fold lines):

I like the broken quality of the colour and the way it wraps onto the ceilings.  There is also this:

and even this:

or a pale and interesting version (on seeing this was a pub in London I thought to hasten me back to Blighty where I could sit lose hours (weeks!) with my G&T in a narcotic blue haze):

On other days, however,  a bit of pattern seems to float the boat:

or this (but probs not):

and I positively love this, but wouldn’t do it (or would I?):

This one I pledged my troth to some years ago:

So how to choose?  Sober? Pink? Patterned? Blue?  All or none of the above?

And here are a few more miscellaneous hallways, just for good measure (and further confusion):

 

And before I go,  let me just slide in one last digression, which is slightly more admissible on a housey blog than lion fur and banana skins – I’ve had a few requests for progress shots of the Regency Wreck and they are imminent (honest),  but I am rusticating at the farm for a few days and hope (hope!  what an expensive commodity!) that vast swathes of tiling await my return, photos of which I will then plaster liberally all over t’t blog.

Toodlepip.

Of progress and wheels – a few before and durings.

Posted in Derelict house, farm, Georgian houses, Great Danes, Renovation, sandstone walls, Sydney with tags , , , , , on September 24, 2012 by pimpmybricks

 

Yo Homeslices – greetings from the sickbed.  Wherein brain-deadness covereth all like a sodden blanket.

I say this sotto voce, just in case Fate is lurking somewhere in the bushes – but it is conceivable that we have passed through the valley of death and begun our ascent. Or to cut the hyperbole, that we have finished the dismantling of the Regency Wreck and have begun the re-mantling. I know!  Craycray innit? But, let me tell you, that valley was wide and boulder-strewn.  Our wagon of hope and fortitude just about perished along the way.

A friend remarked recently that we’ll be on a roll now and my response is yes, we are indeed rolling, but at much at the same pace as the first stone-age wheels rolled.  You know, just blazin’ merrily along. Actually we are in attitudes of agitated despair and glumnitude here because the official moving-in date in November was nudged a while ago to January, which was just about cope-able with, and has now been shunted to the end of March, which is emphatically not.

But  leaving all that aside for one moment – to give you a glimpsette of progress so far, by which I mean that which is visible and therefore of interest to me, rather than structural and buried deep within the bowely fabric of the house.

The stone in the basement vestibule is now golden and gleaming, courtesy of the builder’s wife Lin, who actually should be called Builder II on account of how hard she works.  I began the process and she has taken it over – we have gone from this:

to this:

And the dining room is on the march, from this thing of potential

to this thing of golden glory:

All of which is Mr Pimp’s own fair work.  He has further still to go with his trusty scutch hammer, but even now it is looking almost baronial, don’t you think?  Positively Arthurian!  And opposite, this gorgeous stud and noggin wall has been uncovered, and will remain thus:

The plaster on the wall to the left of Noggin the Nog is a little drummy, so there are perchance more stone revelations queuing there.  That dining room, I tell you, will be a veritable feast of texture. A glut! And, furthermore, I shall be spared the necessity of agonising over paint colours.  Which is always welcome.

And speaking of progress, we escaped to the country a couple of weeks ago, to see how Tortoise the calf was faring.

In-flight catering:

 

And when we arrived we found Tortoise so busy with his homies that he could barely manage a wave:

We also discovered that Miss Brown, one of the two original matriarchs of the herd, with this little blokey in tow:

Which made me extremely, ecstatically happy, because the last two times we saw her she’d separated herself from the herd and I feared she had lost a calf.

So there we have it.  All is well in the Green Kingdom, and stultifyingly slow in the urban one.  And I am off to my sickbed.

 

 

 

 

 

On the gender of bathrooms and suchlike.

Posted in bathrooms, Georgian houses, Great Danes, Herberts, Inspiration, Sydney with tags , , , , on July 13, 2012 by pimpmybricks

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of taps–and lavs–and shower heads–
And fascinating things–
And why the bath is boiling hot–
And whether plans have wings.”

‘Pols to Mr Carroll (for not being silly enough).

So yes, here we are then –  the bathroom post.  Do you remember the en suite on the top floor, the very existence of which was in doubt for some time?  You know, way back in the gentle rolling mists of Development Applications?  Well that’s the one I’m talkin’ ’bout.

Ahum, bathrooms, I hear you thinking.  Not much-meaning-of-life stuff there, not much angst.  You’d be wrong about the angst, though, because there’s been a small mountain of it.  Verily!  Enough, in fact, to out-angst an entire cadre of existentialists.

Odd, really, isn’t it?  I mean,  would you have thought that specifying a few bits and bobs of porcelain could drive someone utterly to distraction? Could bring on a fit of the conniptions? Several fits, if the truth be told.  No, and nor would I.  But, let me tell you, there has been every shade of pink and purple madness going on over this bathroom.  Not entirely sure why.  My commitment aversion, tubby sure,  but I also suspect it has something to do with the question of whether the Regency Wreck is essentially  masculine or feminine.  Call me fanciful if you will.  Actually, call you fanciful too, because most comments on this blog refer to the house as ‘she’.  Not he or it but she.  And your lovely comments have caused me to ponder.  Because though the house has a certain lightness to it, a certain airiness that comes with  Georgian proportions,  I have tended to think of it as gender neutral.  Androgynous. But it has been occurring to me of late that maybe the house sees itself differently.  (I did warn you, early in the blog, about anthropomorphising, so no apologies there).

My taste, it has to be said, is usually quite masculine.  I tend to prefer commercial designs to domestic because, probs,  I like a bit of drama. I like a bit of big.  I like straight lines, bold shapes and no nonsense.  This is a corner of my bathroom in the last house – a well behaved bathroom, I might add, allowing itself to be  decided on in a trice.  Black marine ply, even in the shower, grain alternating.  And it was a lovely bathroom to use –  all the fun of the fair in fact.  Apart that is, from having to…ahem… recoat and stain that damned shower every six months.  But anyway, we must suffer for our convictions.  We Calvanist types.

This new bathroom, it turns out, has not wanted to be decided upon and does not seem to wish to be masculine. Nor even gender neutral. In fact I think it has distinctly feminine yearnings, which is, I have to say, outside my comfort zone. Some time back when I was trying to grasp what it might look like one day, I detected a white and silver blur somewhere just at the periphery of my mind.  It was no more than a wisp, a fluff of cumulous; more suggestion than fact.  But for a mere suggestion it has proved to be an insistent little bugger, refusing to be ignored, drifting tantalisingly across the mental stage before vaporising again before I can take hold of it.

So how it all translated into reality has been the usual mix of serendipity, frustration, blind choices and that bloody stuff, spondoolicks.  We started with the bath.  The only stipulation was that it  had to be light (three floors to carry it up and tired old floors). That ruled out stone and composite stone.  Most tin baths I found were boring and I won’t have acrylic because I do believe a person should be free to tune the wind section of their band in the bath without the whole household – the whole street! – sharing in the joy.  Forgive me, but I’m English.

So anyway, a piece of shininess, similar to above, has been ordered. Then came the basin, which caused much thrashing about because those that I wanted (modern, sleek) did not speak the same language as the bath. Many introductions were tried and failed.  It got to feeling like a dating agency for fixtures and fittings.  In the end, a basin similar to the one below has been ordered.  Not my first (or second…) love because it’s a little too ‘period’, but at least it speaks to the bath in loving terms and I got it cheap. Or relatively so. Cheapness is becoming quite a factor in our decision making these days. Just call me The Bargain Hound.

And then recently I found this, which caused a swoon or two before breakfast:

After tunnelling down a few digital rabbit holes I managed to track down the printer, but alas! alack! my quest was doomed because the original source was unknown. But undeterred and with much cunning sleuthery (you can see how my days are spent) I have sourced my own original master residing in a gallery in the north of England.  An email has been duly dispatched to enquire whether they will oblige and we are currently dining on baited breath in our house.  Makan unging, as they say.

And if by chance I should fail to secure my swathe of silk, I have another plan up my sleeve, which is far easier to come by but costs approximately two arms and five legs.  There is also the question of whether I could bear to have all those pairs on binocs trained upon my bathing self.  But oh well, there’s always loo roll and scissors I suppose.

And on the Remington front, he is now almost restored to his original debonair self.   The knee is healing, the black velvet is growing back and although he has to go everywhere on the lead, he is quite jolly.  Thanks to everyone who expressed concern.  Here he is at the farm this week, recuperating.

And that, said Fred, is that…other than to report the blue and scarlet parrots eating seeds in the pouring rain just outside my window.  Oh, and the mail which has just this moment come in to say that yet more crumbling walls have been found which require..oddly enough…more monay!  I feel a post about penury coming on.  I’ll be writing it from the Debtors’ Gaol.  Please send provisions.

Do I look bovvered to you?

Posted in Derelict house, Georgian houses, Great Danes, Herberts, Renovation, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on June 9, 2012 by pimpmybricks

Well hello!  Greetings from the echoing grove, this place of cobwebs and silence.

Apologies for the even-more-sporadic-than-usual posts (at least I think they are). Thing is, the jolliness quotient has been rather low recently.  Sub-optimal, as Mr Pimperooh would say.  Bottom dwelling, actually. Positively languishing!  And bearing in mind the convention in blogland for upbeat and happy, I have thought to stay mum for the duration.

But recently there’s been a small revolution taking place in these here  bloggity parts – have you come across it?  A group of bloggers have defied the blog(u)topian rule and have been Writing it like it Really Is in a collection of posts under the umbrella title of ‘Things I’m afraid to Tell You’.  Souls have been bared, secrets revealed, the not-so-perfect strewn across the innernets. Exciting and liberating stuff.  I first came across it here.

So somewhat in that vein, and because (like that children’s book, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt) you can’t go over it, you can’t go under it, you’ve got to go through it,  I think I need to get at least some of it off my chest.  Confined to Regency Wreck matters, because – and I’ve already confessed to a certain confessionalism -otherwise we’ll be here all night. And then we can move onto such niceties as taps and basins. And stone floors and copper islands.  And nickel plated baths and tear-drop taps. And, of course,  the conundrum of the ever-rising bathroom waistline.  You thought it was only trousers and hemlines?  No! Not on your nelly.

Anyway,  please avert your eyes if you are  squeamish about the glumps.

So,  we have been troubled in Pimpsville.  Cast down somewhat, and depleted.  Tempers have been frayed. Sleep has been interrupted.   By day we tiptoe through the tulips, hand in hand through shops and showrooms. Baths, lavatories, showers. A thousand dollars here, five thousand there.  And who cares?  It’s only monay!  But by evening the shadows lengthen and at night come tapping on the door of sleep.  Softly, ineluctably.  My dreams are not the des res havens I wish for at the moment.  No white voile curtains billow languorously at their open windows. No rectangles of pale afternoon light spill in, warming floor and feet.  Instead, they are populated by suited thugs demanding money for  umbrella vending machines in the basement of the Regency Wreck.  And by unruly hoards who rush in tsunamis through the front door in search of self-help workshops or wallets to steal.  It doesn’t exactly need my rusty psychoanalytic self  to decipher the lumbering symbolism in all that.

There seems to be a threshold  beyond which floors that collapse and walls that crumble bring with them a wobble of  the confidence. Suddenly there are doubts about the project, questions about its viability. Relationships suffer, finances dwindle, horizons cloud. Survival in one piece seems no longer axiomatic. To be spending like a couple of drunken sailors can be frightening when neither of us is working,  when jobs become scarcer and scarcer and when the world around us seems more tilting and more wobbling by the day.  Everywhere we go we find closing down sales, liquidation stock clearances.  That means bargains of course, but they are bargains resting on the backs of people who are losing their jobs.  Under all their valiant politeness the dark and fearful waters of joblessness sway. You can see it in their eyes, hear it in their voices.  These are hard times and to be so profligate in their midst brings a queasiness, an unease of the soul.

Things have been wobbly in Herbertsville too, with Mr Derring Do himself, HRH Remington Rem the First jumping one too many fences he shouldna, and utterly eradicating his cruciate tendon. He has had a knee re-construction and a spell in hospital (wooing the nurses left and right, natch, for he is a splendoursome thing, ma boy ).  He was discharged on Wednesday, sent home to an ecstatic Elsie (and a moderately happy me) only to be re-admitted  the next day with…ahem…complications of the waterworks.   And so he is back there again, and it is testament to where my head is at that one of the thoughts I had was “oh my gawd, we could fit out a bathroom for the cost of that”.  Though that was, I have to say, a fairly low on the list thought.

Here he is, shaved, sutured, and stapled. Confused and confounded.  And still utterly himself. Because after all, a Remington is a Remington is a Remington.

And that, said Fred, is that.  Enough off the chest. I shall be back forthwith with baths and taps and the like. And a goodly dose of something closely resembling optimism.  Just you wait and see!