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!

Hubble bubble termite trouble

Posted in Derelict house, Georgian houses, Renovation, Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 19, 2012 by pimpmybricks

Tap tap…testing, testing…1, 2, 3…

It’s been a while, crocodiles.

A month, in fact, since I posted from the sheet less bed in my – oh – old house.  A month in which we have passed through the valley of cardboard and emerged, blinking like moles, into the new suburban light.  A new suburban light which, I’ll have you know, is tinted yellow by bottle glass windows, and brown by  vertical blinds.   A suburban world of architectural wonders, everso shouting children and friendly neighbours. All of which deserves a post unto itself.

But while we were buried down there in our little house-moving purgatory –  stolidly chewing our way  out  through card and packing paper – what of the Regency Wreck?  Well, in fact, it was having a little crisis of its own, quite understandably.

It all began with the builder, a thoroughly thorough sort of fellow, digging away at the layer upon layer of flooring in one section of the house.  In some places there were as many as three or four floors all laid on top of each other, like so (though this is only two):

I mean, actually, when you think about it, why bother to remove old floors when you can simply cover them up?  Just add more as needed Missus and stop only when you can no longer stand up straight.  Anyway, while he was removing extraneous floors, the Thoroughly Thorough Builder noticed some rather suspicious little trails of mud which, when he followed their progress, led him to yet aNOTHer termite nest, very artfully and discreetly secreted within one wall.  And, in the way of termites, those little buggers had gone up and down, left and right, and nibbled away at the floor joists in four rooms. Four!

I give you, ladies and gents of the jury,  exhibit A, itself a mere fraction of the nest:

And what he found was that the floor joists, which conventionally are supported within the fabric of the wall, in the RW appeared to stop shy thereof. In fact, they were held up only by the render on said walls, which, when it was removed to get at the termite nest, resulted in such scenes of floorless carnage:

and this (which is the entrance to my study)

so that you can see almost from top to bottom of the house at the rear.  No need of internal intercoms now:

So the dear old Regency Wreck, which before looked derelict but absolutely beautiful, now just looks, well, abandoned.  Much in the way of the houses of my childhood, except without their dignity or intrigue. It’s as if we’ve taken a rather grand but crumbling old lady, removed her pearls, her lippy and her wig, pulled her arms out of her fur coat and left her revealed and without dignity under a fluorescent light.Our last few visits, to be honest, have been somewhat woeful affairs, characterised by a distinct flatness. We knew this sort of thing was to be expected, of course, but expecting something and encountering it are never quite the same thing, are they?

BUT.  But!  They say diversion is as good as a cure (don’t they? something like that? anyone?) and it just so happened that when we poked our heads above ground after the move, not only the yellow light and the bellowing children were there at the end of the tunnel to greet us , but also  Thoroughly Thorough Builder, gawd bless ‘is ‘eart, demanding lavatories with menaces. And so we have been cantering about the length and breadth of Sydney, peering down porcelain pans.  And as we all know, questions about lavs beget questions about basins, which in turn beget questions about baths (baths! don’t get me started) and many assorted sundry etceteras.  So we are diverted, madly, and in the diverted meanwhile TTBuilder is putting up floors, and patching brickwork….and so it may all come good in the end.

The best laid plans.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 18, 2012 by pimpmybricks

The removal men were booked for 7.00am today.

But it has been raining overnight.  Rain of quite biblical proportions.

So seven o clock rolled along and  they came, they saw, and then they left again.  I am presently sitting on a bare mattress, its companion sheets stuffed somewhere in one of a million anonymous boxes, unlocatable.

We will try again tomorrow.  And if the heavens have not yet emptied themselves utterly, we might have to try making one of these

out of these

There’s bound to be a utube video to show us how.

Waving and drowning, both.

Posted in farm, Herberts with tags , , , , , on April 13, 2012 by pimpmybricks

Boxes boxes everywhere and not a place to think.

Whoever gave moving house top(ish) billing on the list of Stressful Life Events was not telling porkies. Not one word of one.  We are up to our ears in bubble wrap and cardboard.  The sound of brown packing tape has been ripping through the air for days. Every morning we rise prematurely,  strap on our crampons and clamber over mountains of things.  Things to be given, things to be felted, things to be decided upon.  Mssrs Vinnie and Smith – prepare thyselves gentlemen!  As we fold, wrap and seal we find ourselves questioning the sanity of what we are doing, but it is as if we are riding a juggernaut, unable to get off now.  Really, I think we are all a little mad with the stress.  You can maybe picture us – monosyllabic, snappish automata who, even when they fall into bed, cannot escape the Things To Be Done which loop, like bus rolls, endlessly around their minds.  That we are dismantling our home, the place we have stayed longer than any other, is a fact that we ignore by day but it comes bubbling up at night, as these things will.

You can probs tell we’re doing the packing ourselves,  and I would say, having done a topographical inventory of the boxes, that we are pretty long on wine and books.  Oh, and tupperware. Hello, my name is Pimp and I have an addiction to lidded kitchen containers.  However, plastic is no longer fantastic since I joined the food Moonies, which gives me a good reason, I suppose, for a cull (why hello Pyrex, you sexy thing!!).  Wine has also been off the list this last year, which is probably why we have nearly 300 bottles of the beautiful, incarnadine stuff all stoppered up, waiting for health to meander back over the horizon. (Mr P, he’s taken to the white).

Talking of wine, it was like getting re-acquainted with old friends when we took the bottles off their racks, and there were a couple of nice surprises nestled in amongst the Everyday Plonking Stuff.  A bottle of John Riddoch with his sober brown waistcoat on, now covered with a respectable layer of dust.  And a handful of Ebenezer shirazes.  Have you tried that stuff?   Enough to make you leap from your chair in excitement. Like setting a brass band off in your mouth! A subtle wine drinker I am not. None of your modulated, refined pinots. I like ‘em big, boofy and blasting.

But anyway – digressions!  But oh, who wants a dose of reality when both houses are looking so sad, the present one so denuded and the other so deconstructed. We went over the other night to show my brother, who is here from Singapore, and discovered that in my study we could see the moon and the stars beaming down on us.  And the dressing room has been pretty much en plein air recently (due to yet more rotted timbers –  a very fine class of termite preceded us), but that’s all nicely closed up now (as is my study).  The builder, bless ‘is ‘eart, has been working very long hours.

And so have we, in our cardboard hell, so at Mr P’s insistence we decamped for a few days up to where it is green and silent (except that it wasn’t, due to Easter lunacy, but that’s another story). And so we re-stocked our depleted chlorophyll reservoirs, and visited our various house-building fantasy sites (one of them is right there, on the smooth undulating green bit).  You know, for when we’ve done the Regency Wreck.  And for if we don’t move back to the UK.  Or set up that donkey reservoir in Marrakesh.  Or offer our services to volunteer agencies in India.  Or something.

The Herbs, below, riding in economy, Remington a bit too insouciant considering he was in disgrace for chasing a poor cow up hill and down dale.  Me bellowing myself hoarse from the sidelines. Just for funsies, Missus, honest (he said).  And he, a country boy to boot.  The world – what is it coming to?  Like the 1975 Nissan Patrol btw?  A fine beast, is Rusty.

The good, the bad and the ugly.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on April 2, 2012 by pimpmybricks

So it seems that our jaunt in the garden of secret (housey) delights was to be a short one, for we have now plunged headlong into the valley of death.  Well actually, if I can stop myself striking attitudes for a moment,  into a sort of ordered brutality. Concrete is coming up, bathrooms are coming out, rotten ceilings are coming down.  More termites’ nests, rotten wall plates and other scary things are revealing themselves.  There’s a lot of builderly sucking of teeth, requests for even more cost variations, and a general fretfulness hanging over Mr Pimperstalsis and me. Money is flying out of the windows like winged birds and the house is looking worse than ever!  All very woebegone and laid bare.  It was derelict before, but  still beautiful.  Now it is just derelict. Its broken bones and dental cavities are on full display and it can be rather disheartening to visit, though we are compelled to go over at weekends and finger its wounds. We know, of course, that this is just a waystation to renewal, a plateau on the ascent to gloriousness, but even so it’s a tad challenging to find tree roots coming up through your kitchen floor, and to see glimpses of sky through your walls.

And those beautiful sandstone flagstones? They are now being gently eased out of their long slumber,  to be numbered, stacked, and dried out.  Soon great troughs will be hewn into their beds for the French drains that  (we hope) will fix our damp problem.

However…

Things are not all draped about with gloom and murk.  We have found ourselves a place to live for the duration – no mean feat in this city with two, shall we say… slightly oversized dogs on the payroll.  We have started to pack and in two weeks are to be nestled deep within the bosom of  suburbia, as it happens, but nevertheless we will have four walls, a bit of a garden and a view of trees.  Remington will have a patch of his beloved grass to roll around on, I will have a corner for my pottery wheel, and we’ll have a place to retreat to. We’ll forget about the vertical blinds for now. Oh, and the laminate laid over carpet. Can you imagine? Like walking over marshmallows!  Gawd only knows what lurks under there.

And…

Delight of  utter delights, a secret window has been discovered buried in a wall in the Regency Wreck! We knew the cavity was there but to find the original window extant, glass and all, was a wondrous exciting thing.  Even more so because the joinery is so fine and delicate and so, well, Georgian.  A little window humming daintily away to itself over the years, quite unheard by anyone.  This is the top half:

and this is the bottom half, still partially boarded up:

The eagle-eyed will no doubt spot the curious fact that the window, which is long and slender, a sort of supermodel of windows, is bisected by a floor.  Actually it is a balcony floor, the balcony at the back of the house originally having been two storeys high. We are keeping the additional floor on account of the un-garden and Ms Pimp’s need for a dressing room (this balcony will have concertina glass doors which she will keep closed but which can be opened).

I love this window. I keep the idea of it  like a well-polished talisman in my pocket.  You know, so that when I feel gloomsome I take it out and rub it some more and feel generally better.  Like a renovator’s blankie, sort of thang.

And it stoned me

Posted in Uncategorized on March 21, 2012 by pimpmybricks

So, ladies and gents in the peanut gallery, I give you the house in all its dressed-for-work,  scaffolded glory.  I think of it as a sort of architectural version of the good old workman’s fluro.  You’ll see that the neighbour in green is also being reclaimed, as is the one at the end.  In fact the whole terrace is shortly (or lengthily), to be restored to its former splendour.

We’re now into our second week of work and already into costly variations to the project (cue flinging up of hands and rumpled sleep).  But let’s not mention that, nor indeed any of the hounds currently baying at the gate for money.  Let’s instead concentrate of some of the (thus far) lovely secrets the house has been revealing to us.  Such as, for instance a whole swathe of sandstone flags on the basement floor. It is, I tell you, fully sick.

The dining room, for instance, has gone from concrete, comme ca,

to this rather damp and grubby flagged wondrousness:

 Can’t you just hear all those stones exhale?  I can.  Sadly for us though, a small cache of broken bottles was also discovered in the dining room floor.  Almost certainly no more significant than people chucking their empties down the drain a hundred years ago, but the Laws That Be dictate that work must now stop and an archeologist be called in, somewhat expensively and time consumingly.

But wait, there’s more!  The back hall has rendered up its own flags, so we go from this seventies beauteous brownness

to this

Even the laundry wanted to join in and has gone from this

to this

There’s even more but technology, pottery-fatigue and general laziness dictate that it will have to wait for later.  Ron!

What’ll it be then, white or yellow?

Posted in Uncategorized on March 16, 2012 by pimpmybricks

Last weekend was the last time we had the house properly to ourselves before the builder arrived to set about its pate with jack hammers and concrete saws and pick axes.  Let the violence of renovation be not underestimated.  So we spent a couple of peaceful hours there trawling up and down the stairs, in and out of the quiet and patient rooms.  Sort of communing really, as far as it’s possible to commune with anything when there’s a pair of Herberts dashing about and carrying on like pork chops. One of them, who shall remain anonymous, even disgraced themselves in the sheer excitement of it all.

When we had done communing I went outside and slapped a bit of paint about,in our joint attempt with the neighbours  to find an external colour scheme  which we all like for our terrace and which will please the Powers That Be.

You might remember that after epic discussions with the Paint Expert we’d already settled on an ochre copperas limewash with black woodwork, and this was all feeling nicely done and dusted until we saw that the limewash, when wet, became a rather unpleasantly strident mustard colour. Good for hot dogs and salt beef sandwiches but not good for Regency Wrecks.  So now we are considering an off-white for the stucco, off-black for the windows, and red for the front doors.  Mr P and I still prefer the yellow but we ain’t in Chelsea where you get houses in all the hues of  sorbet heaven, so  in all probs we’ll end up white.

top: Farrow and Ball Incarnadine. Bottom: F&B Rectory Red. Left:F&B Off Black.

(The Rectory Red is not as pink as it appears on this photo btw.  Though it’s not particularly nice.  Apologies to Ms Pimp, who chose it).

While I was busy slapping the paint on the door a steady stream of  passers-by stopped to comment and talk.  Very nice it was too. A bit of a neighbour fest, really. We met a man with flowing grey hair who’s lived down the road for 40 years and he blessed our endeavours and blew us a multitudes of kisses in welcome.  That was lovely.  Another paused with his golden retriever to give an opinion on which red he liked better.  Yet another said “hey, you’re the one from that renovation show aren’t you?”, and when I told him that I wasn’t, assured me that actually I was.  So I must be! Without knowing it – fancy that.  But if I dont find out which show I’m on soon, I shall be late for rehearsals.

Top: Farrow and Ball Lime White 200%. Bottom: F&B 100%.

On a rather astonishing note, a special mention goes to the neighbour on the other, non-terrace side of us: the owner of the architectural practice handling our renovation (I’m not talking about Esteemed Architect, I hasten to add).  This particular gent, when asked by our builder whether he could perch two feet of our scaffolding on his property said yes, providing he paid rent.  Rent I tell you!  For scaffolding! And when the builder declined, he was sent a mail forbidding him from leaning anything against the boundary and all manner of suchlike things.  Neighbourly, much? Call me prescient,  but I don’t need the tea leaves or the Tarot cards to tell me to go elsewhere when I run out of sugar.  (But actually, in the name of balance I must also say there are also lovely people who work next door).

After our painting efforts we took the dogs for a walk and  found a park down the road which was furnished with great swathes of beautiful, green-black shade to lounge about in and read.  Fantasies of future picnics began to pop up like beanstalks in my head and fair giddied me for a second.  And at the bottom of the park, suddenly there was this, which seems forever to leap out at you at unexpected moments and which never fails to excite me:

There was also the bridge, good mate of the Opera House:

And the brides. One thing we’re learning fast is that we’re going to have to share the area with every single last bride in Sydney.  Friday and Saturday nights are Hen nights,  with the sateen sashes and froths of white net, that so often seems to end in tears and bedragglement.  And during the daytime there are the photo opportunities, so if you don’t turn a corner with your bag of shopping and bump into the Opera House, you’ll likely bump into a bride and her photographer instead. In fact one reason we had the portico shored up when we did was to prevent it collapsing on one of the lovely ladies and their hapless grooms nestling there.

This particular bride wore white tulle and gym shoes:

Solemn signings and wild digressions.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 10, 2012 by pimpmybricks

Well!

Would someone kindly bring on the brass band, wind them up and set them to parping and tooting about the place. For we have,  at  very long last, procured ourselves a builder!   I realise this may not sound just cause for a celebratory airing of the bunting, but it has taken almost exactly a year of wading through permissions and tender documents to get to this point. The tender documents alone took three months to produce – Esteemed Architect and his merry band beavering away behind the scenes to produce a mind-stultifyingly intricate set of documents.  One reason for this was that, given the somewhat …ahem… challenged nature of the Regency Wreck, we wanted a fixed price contract – something that most builders refused to entertain.  And those that did padded their quotes with such a thick layer of contingency wadding that we could not have afforded to do the project and continue eating, or get the dogs new collars, or furnish the house (which is still under debate), or buy ourselves new worry beads.  You get the gist – a sort of Dickensian pathos beckoned us.

A neighbour remarked very pithily last week that the area has attracted a ‘postcode tax’ and has come to be seen as a money making venture by all and sundry, builders included. So in the end we have gone for an outsider, an unknown, to set the house to rights. He read about the Regency Wreck in the Sydney Morning Herald and determined that he would get the project, and so he has.  We like him, Esteemed Architect likes him, his referees like him.  But it’s a risk.  If you have a spare couple of fingers, maybe you’d cross them for us.

So yesterday at oh eleven hundred hours precisely, give or take a storm or two (and a kangaroo),  Mr Pimpernel and I presented ourselves at Esteemed Architect’s office.  Phones were turned off, expressions were solemn and a cloud of gravitas hung low over us all. Together with the builder, and with EA as stern overseer and witness, we signed so many copies and initialed so many pages that by the end we were all suffering from acute RSI.   None of your casual thumbing through the yellow pages, this.  No ‘she be right’s or ‘we’ll work it out as we go along’s.

And so he begins on Monday, ripping off the roof and digging up the concrete slab in the basement  where, of course, we all hope to find sandstone flagstones underneath, intact and precious as ancient bones.

After the Solemn Signing Mr P and I toddled a few metres down the road and beheld, between the piers of the Harbour Bridge, this piece of floating mammothness. It was so big it dwarfed the Opera House.  So big it loomed over the tops of the old wool stores.   We heard its horn last night as it was leaving Sydney, booming vastly in the hollow mist (and did you see the moon last night? – mighty outrageous!). Today, apparently, it had been replaced by another. I do love the idea of living next to this stately procession of over-scaled itinerancy – full of the promise of other places,  of change, and therefore hope.  It beats the more mundane vista we’ve been used to, where changes to the horizon are usually limited to the neighbour’s new roof tiles or a different coloured front door (in a good year).

(Oh, and bee tee dubs, I would have cropped the picture – you know, tidied away the bridge contractor’s bollards and suchlike, in much the same way as you’d plump the cushions before inviting someone over.  But six months after moving over to the mac side, I am still so barkingly  incompetent that editing  is about as achievable as flying.  And so it might, one of these days – the computer that is – out of the window and straight into the fish pond).

So anyway and anyhow, soon  there should be some ‘during’ photos to go with the ‘before’s.  Actually I’ve been thinking that the blog and I might disappear in a poof of silence for the duration and return only when I can post the ‘before’ and ‘after’s together.  Because, really, nothing beats a good transformation. I am convinced we all long for them.  The psychoanalytic contingent bangs on about it all the time – the yearning to be re-made whole, or different or something. And for once I’m  in agreement with them. I’ll admit, somewhat shamefacedly, that deep down I believe I will be my young self again.  Truly!  A sort of retrospective transformation. Of course my head knows this to be the errant nonsense that it is, but heads are not the rulers here.  Or at least not in my particular bat cave. Maybe in yours.  But anyway I digress.  Wildly.

While I’m at it, here’s an even further digression, in fact a complete and utter non sequiteur  – I hear that the government of China is introducing organic cigarettes for its citizens who number one third of the planet’s smoking population.  Ah well then.  All’s well with the world.

Done deed.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 25, 2012 by pimpmybricks

Well. It’s all over Red Rover.  We are now one house and several megatons of stress lighter.

For a while there it seemed things were set to end not with a bang but with that damned proverbial whimper.  Our five likely bidders dwindled to a measly two over the course of the day.  One couldn’t get their finances in time, another was in floods over the phone; one simply vanished from the face of the earth.   What promised to be a jolly old bunfight was more an embarrassed cough in an auction room long on seats and short on bums.  A few people sat around on their hands and with their eyes averted, trying to be invisible. It looked like a group therapy gathering for the chronically absent.

BUT!  The auctioneer was wonderful, chatting them up, teasing them, cajoling them. The bidders found their voices, had a polite grapple and we achieved a sum almost exactly midway between our best and worst estimates.  We were happy!

So, in terms of the Regency Wreck…  Thunderbirds are Go!!!


Yesterday we interviewed a builder and the talk on the street is that he will start in a week’s time.

We are now on the hunt for somewhere to live for nine months.  If anyone knows of a sheltered corner for rent where we might park ourselves, our chattels and The Herberts, do say.

On gloves, houses and the Universe

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 23, 2012 by pimpmybricks

Oh dear.  AWOL again – an absolutely unconscionable length of time between posts. And  I can’t even claim to have been missing in action because I’ve been back in Sniddney these past two weeks, plunging up and down in the jetlag and stress pool.  Up and down, up and down.

But anyway, I am back.  Or, for the sake of truth in advertising, bits of me are.  Health has decided to stay on in London; Brain is wandering, lonely as a cloud somewhere over the Indian Ocean.  And Heart… well who knows where Heart is.  Enigmatic thingses, these Heartses, as has been discussed previously, and will be again no doubt. In the radio silence, between the last post and this there was London, which was too heart-filling and heart-wrenching to do justice to in my current state of nervejangle.  And there was Venice.  Which was deliciously, shockingly, shout-out-in-sheer-surprisely-COLD.

It was helpful but reserved people, it was indifferent food. It was that sort of everywhere-allover-beauty which causes your eye to not know where to alight, but to flit instead from this thing to that, as if with ADHD. It was a fantastico exhibition on Japanese tinted photography from the 1890s.

And it was this shop, which Miss Pimperlicious and I discovered while meandering one day, she with her jet lag, me with my streaming cold.

It was a glove shop – an orgy of Glove, the Whole Glove and Nothing but the Glove.  They had them in shades of marigold, sunflower, primrose, turmeric and saffron.  They had marron, cerise, blush, marshmallow and  rose geranium.  I was in utter agony choosing. I wanted yellow.  No, I wanted pink.  Oh, but I had to have green. What about one of each?  In the end I got these

Miss P was able to wrestle me out of the door only when we discovered they did mail order.  And they were cheap!  Soft and buttery and tight-fitting and cheap.  Quite where I am to wear them, living in sub-tropicana as I do, is a little beyond me, but I Had To Have Them.  You understand don’t you?  It was simply impossible to leave without them.

But enough of such fripperies – to serious matters.  By which I mean houses.  You know, that being the (putative) point of this blog after all. Because we have arrived at a watershed.  Today, as it ‘appens.  And I am totes out of my little box with the stress of it all.

To give you the gist, we have had some builders’ quotes for the work on the Regency Wreck.  The additional work we wanted on top of the statutory repairs – you know, the Juliet balconies, the glass roof on the Jungle Lav, and a few holes in walls here and there –   will cost us over half as much again as the Quantity Surveyor’s report.  And that’s the cheapest builder.

And at the same time, our present house is up for auction.  At 6.30 this very evening!  I know!  I shall have to go drunk, or drugged, or gagged.  Mr Pimp will have to shove me under the chairs at the back of the room to keep me from gibbering and shrieking. And that’s not all.  It seems that while we were away we missed an Official Edict wherein all potential house purchasers were promised fire-sale bargains.  So we are hearing a lot of ‘oooh lovely house, quite gorgeous, love the thises and thatses and would really love to buy it and, bee tee dubs, we’d like to pay you one and sixpence because that’s, uh, where the market’s at these days’.  Why, I ask you, could the universe not have organised things the other way around, with the RW coming in cheaper than estimated and the current, much beloved house, selling for way beyond?

Honestly, I think I prefer fanning around foreign climes, buying gloves.

But if you have a second, spare us a thought at 6.30 this evening?  I’ll be the one in the straightjacket.