Archive for the Great Danes Category

Posting from the interstice.

Posted in Great Danes, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on August 9, 2013 by pimpmybricks

Yodel Doodle Ladies and Gents

There hasn’t been a ceramics post in a long while on the blog.  Now seems a good time to remedy that, while all things Regency Wreckish are slumped in a bit of a waiting ditch and marking time until the wind shifts and brings change.  I find this clip quite beautiful and magical, for all its ear extensions, bike stands and doing of things one just doesn’t do.  The music sends me into a bit of a swoon and the film making is lovely.

See it here Moire

Neither have the Herberts been receiving their rightful allotted fifteen minutes worth, so let’s put that to rights too.  Or at least let’s give Remington his go, since Miss Elsie is still too harem scarem to stand still long enough to have her photo taken.  First, though, let me introduce you to The Ralph, Rems’ younger brother in all but genes and geography.  Here he is in a park in London, handsome and sleek as a seal:

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The last couple of times we’ve been back in London I’ve been able to assuage my Remington withdrawals by fondling another Great Dane’s ears, Danes being great natural schmoozers and all.  The truly wonderful thing about Ralph is that he comes fully equipped with two people whom I met through the blog (one of the very best things to come out of it), and about whom all I shall say is that they are both utterly delicious and live in an utterly delicious house in Spitalfields.

And I was so taken with Ralph’s beautiful orange collar (and so taken by the colour orange in general), that I took myself off to Harrods and bought Mr Big something a little similar of his own.  (I then went to Istanbul on the way home and treated myself to a bright orange bag so that when we’re off shopping together, we do look a little….shall we say…accessorised.  But neither of us is particularly fussed about that):

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Miss Elsie, who prefers pink, in a rare moment of repose:
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And perhaps, having mentioned Istanbul, I’ll end this somewhat mishmash post with a couple of rugs we fell in love with while we were there, but which, at $12,000 a pop, we were obliged to leave behind.  The first two are samples of a new (to me at any rate) deconstructed design.  We’re seeing them pop up more and more here in Uh Straya at what I believe they call ‘high end’ outlets.  Interestingly enough, the prices here are comparable to the prices there, a symptom, maybe, of America having banned the import of Persian carpets, and the price of Turkish pieces shooting up accordingly.  Either way, these were beautiful carpets, silk on cotton, but I suspect that they, like the patched and over-dyed rugs, will date quite quickly:

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Below we have the old Pimperstich, fingering an eye-wateringly beautiful Memluk.  Oh, the conversations we had over mint tea about whether we should or shouldn’t, could or couldn’t.   Until we eventually decided that we shouldn’t and couldn’t.  And didn’t. But oh, woe.  We were still revisiting the whole thing at the airport! Actually, one main reason we didn’t, apart from, you know, the old spondoolicks, was that we have nowhere to put it.  These rugs don’t just lie there quietly and think of Turkey, they are voluble, loquacious personalities and they demand attention.  I don’t think I’ve outed Mr P before, but he has what might politely be termed a bit of a carpet fetish.  At the farm we have a 60 foot shed and in that shed we have a rather embarrassingly large number of carpets that positively insisted on being bought, only to arrive and find there was no (immediate) home for them. Another thing about fetishes I didn’t know, and maybe you don’t either, is that they’re contagious.  Really!  I didn’t used to have one for carpets, but as surely as eggs is eggs, I do now.  And doors.  But that’s another story.  Anyway, the Memluk:

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I’m thinking just a few photos of Istanbul, outside of the carpet shops, where we did on occasion manage to drag ourselves.  I hesitate to post too many because it was rather an embarrassingly long time ago, but I take heart from Blogland being a place where the mountains of time are levelled into a horizon of the perpetual present.  So, the Spice Market, where I discovered, to my absolute joy, that I could buy Amber in liquid form (and only aficionados of Istanbul and Marrakesh will recognise that I smell of moth repellent):

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And the Hagia Sophia, because how could I not include that? When Mr P told me it was built in 500AD I thought he had his figures wrong, and had casually left out ten centuries.  Because, you know, being English, I’m used to old places being from about the 15th century.  But actually, he was absolutely correct.  As he often is, for the record.

Istabul was a funny old place.  I had not managed to hear one word said against it before we arrived.  And yet it took time to captivate us.  It was a vast, working city which didn’t just crack open and fall into two neat halves, for the digestive convenience of its visitors.  You had to work at it a bit.  You had to get beneath the blare and the noise and the crowds.  And when you did, then you realised (or I did), that you were somewhere really rather ancient and really rather unlike anywhere you’d been before.  Because there is the modern city which overlays the Ottoman city, which overlays the Byzantine city, which in turn overlays the Roman city.   Much in the way of a vast, urban layer cake, it seemed to me. And there was a very definite three-dimensional sense of this too – go through the basements of some old houses and you’ll find yourselves wandering ancient streets down there.  We visited some astonishing Roman mosaic pavements.  There was always a sense that if you dug down just a little, you’d literally be digging through the centuries.  Anyway, enough waffling.  The Hagia Sophia:

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I was extremely taken with these lights.  Actually, I was madly plotting how they could be re-imagined in porcelain.  Because if you stand still for more than thirty seconds in front of me these days I’ll be re-imagining you in porcelain too:

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There are many more, but considering I only stopped by to post the ceramics clip, I’ve bumbled on for long enough.  And so I’ll leave you, Mrs Woodentop in her dressing gown still, with Spotty Dog at her feet twitching and whimpering in one of those impenetrable doggy dreams. Adieu!  There will be house happenings soon.

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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.

A little sumsing for the weekend

Posted in digressions, Great Danes, Sydney with tags , , , , on June 29, 2012 by pimpmybricks

My sentiments exactly.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we interrupt our regular programming (regular?  I hear you say, to which I reply Sshhh!)…we interrupt our regular programming with breaking news of the Sydney Biennale.  In fact breaking news and exhortations.  Exhortations and great windmilling arms of enthusiasm.  Gestures of ushering, words of encouragement, promises of wonderment if you will only consent to shift your harrises out into the parky winter air and get on over.  Sydneysiders, just do it!  Srsly.  Everyone else, they tell me the aeroplane is a fine invention. Come for a visit!  We can offer you afternoon tea at the Regency Wreck cosily nestled between the termites’ nests… cucumber sarnies served with great gravitas by Remington Rem the First.  Miss Elsie in her french maid’s pinny on the samovar…then off on a ferry to see the sights and a bit of a shiver…what do you think?  Can you be tempted?

So anyway, on Tuesday El Pimpo and I were air-lifted from our lavatory-seeking rut by some lovely friends, and whisked over to Cockatoo Island on a ferry.   And oh, OH I tell you, just get thee hence. Or thence. Just get thee.

And if you do I can, hand on heart, promise you enchantment.  A veritable winter wonderland of delight.  I know I might sound like bad advertising copy but srsly peoples,  it’s the shiz.  In fact, the  hoots mon shiz and a half. With a cherry on the top.

I can’t tell you much about the exhibits, other than there’s a lot of big and a lot of white and a lot of sheer magic.  It’s my personal preference to go to these things knowing nothing, to have a passionate encounter with each piece and then move on to the next, no strings attached.  A form of aesthetic cottaging, if you will.

For once I shan’t drown you in the verbals, but instead garland you with pictures, strew you with images, so you get a bit of an idea (bad pics mine, good pics said lovely friend’s).

A carpet-lined meander in the woods, down to the enchanted cabin

 

And this, whole other universe of light and tiny sound by Philip Beesley.

There is an entire warehouse dedicated entirely to the sexual organs of the insect kingdom, and very lovely were too.  Behold, the love dart of the garden snail:

And many, many other delights.

And when you are sated with installations, there’s Cockatoo Island itself, with its abandoned-industrial aesthetic and slightly melancholic charms:

(above – an example of what I am told is called fibro tudor)

I hope you’ll forgive me my proselytising.  I’ve been good since Marrakesh. And in our next episode – bathroom madness.  Ah, see, now you’re on tenterhooks.  Can you contain the excitement?  Not sure that I can.

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!