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The consolations of Spring.

Posted in Herberts with tags , , , , on October 14, 2011 by pimpmybricks

The Herbs and I are up at the farm for a deep chlorophyll soak and a spot of  the wide open solace which is so abundant here.  The idea was to get sleep for me and cavorting for them.  I forgot to factor in the fact of  Spring and arrived to find the amplifier turned up full on everything.  The days heave with the fanfare of new life and birds and reptiles and everything bellowing the joy of it all.   In the three weeks since I was last here the garden has gone from Winter-bare to out-of-hand fecund, the grass as high as a Remington’s eye, the jasmine galloping full-tilt towards world domination.

The nights are punctured by the enthusiasms of an over excited Master Willy Wagtail who sits in the magnolia outside my bedroom, practicing, like some small loved-up suitor, his four-note song.  Over and over.  And over.  All night.  Every night.  He is thus every year.   May he find himself a girlfriend, soon, please dear universe. His fellows of the same species take up the day space, swooping and diving, marching in with their brass bands and beating on their drums.  There are the Cackling Birds, the Vomit Birds, the Washboard Birds.  The Whompoo Fruit Doves (not a made-up name), altogether more stately fellows,  call in the early morning misty hours to one another from the strangler field in one field to the strangler fig in the next.  They remind me of that childhood rhyme “Two fat gentlemen met in the lane/ Bowed once, bowed twice and bowed once again”.

On my way to the bathroom last night I found this rather fetching gentleman on the floor  of Ms P’s room:

He was sitting very peaceably, minding his own business, but clearly grey polypropylene shag (remnant of the previous incumbents I hasten to add) was not going to be his ideal habitat.  And besides,  I didn’t particularly fancy treading on him in the night.  So with the aid of my trusty broom – I very much like frogs but not on a skin-to-skin basis – and with his impeccable manners intact, we managed to get him out of the front door and into the cool night.  Frogs are no strangers to the inside of this house but invariably one meets them in the Salon of Ease where doubtless they find the porcelain pan a delightfully cool, damp place to be.

There have been other adventures with carpet pythons, with escaped dogs and with a gang of heifers.  But this is, after all (at least putatively) a houseyhousey blog and besides, the adventure with the snake was too sad to relate.

So here instead is a picture of some viburnum flowers from the garden plonked into a vase in my kitchen. Doing their level best to cheer up Mr Moustaches. Which is somewhat of a Sisyphean task.

behind the scenes

Posted in Photo shoots with tags , , on March 24, 2011 by pimpmybricks

We’ve had two photo shoots at the house this week, and another to come on Sunday.

Yesterday was In-Style magazine, shooting three women who are all successful in their fields.  No photos allowed for fear of scaring the horses.  Lots of ooohing over the house, however.  Very gratifying for a lovelorn owner.

Today was another kettle of fish.  About ten people of all shades of funk, shooting pictures for the Aje label.  Pictures not only allowed but positively encouraged.  Not that it helped my photographic skills to be weilding my tiny little digital Box Brownie in the company of Travis and his superwhopper appendage.  But anyway.  He was a lovely bloke with a similar taste in reggae to me, and moreover, has promised to send me some of his pics. 

So.  With a small flurry of ahemming…

The crew

The merch…

The make-shift make-up balcony…

the talent…

and the conundrum (how many assistants does it take to change a shoe?)

The guided tour part 1 – in all its inglorious glory.

Posted in Derelict house with tags , , , , on March 14, 2011 by pimpmybricks

I ‘fess up.  The photos I posted yesterday were not the product of my camera (too in-focus, insufficient blur).  They were borrowed from the estate agent’s particulars and, not surprisingly, show the poor old house in the best possible light.  But I decided they don’t do justice to its rising damp, falling damp, subsidence and extensive termite damage (there have been some good quality termites through there).  Neither, therefore, do they do justice to the full extent of our forthcoming heroism (yet to be tested, but we have faith). Or our lunacy, which is, anyway, a synonym for heroism. 

So here are a few shots taken at a canter on one of the open inspection days. 

This will eventually become my study, when the termites have been re-housed and the subsidence made to go away.  Conjecturally it was once the smoking room, before the Maritime Board casually chopped off the back of the house to make room for a lane and the room became the 3x3m box it is now. I love the fact that you get the fanfare of those two huge arches into a deflated parp of the room itself.  It amuses me.  The scale seems on a par with whatever I might get up to in there.

This is in the basement.  That indeterminate pale pink wall to the right is painted sandstone.  My vision, of course, is that it will be stripped to reveal a gently glowing golden marvel, like some inner-city Camelot.  The architect, who is more sanguine than I, (and who works next door, incidentally) warns me that the stone will almost certainly not live up to my expectations, but will be ‘fretting’ and doing all manner of anti-social stonelike things, such as crumbling, housing insects and sweating.  I find the image of fretting stone endearing.  I can empathise.  But I fear I might not like the reality – maybe the stone and I don’t talk the same language.  Maybe I can’t calm it down.  Oh!  But anyway, until that paint comes off, there are the dreams.  The floor, btw, is sandstone flags.  They appear to be less neurotic.

This is the ceiling in what might be the kitchen.  It is in a dimension beyond neurotic.  It has advanced Altzheimers.

But those arches (there are three of them) – couldn’t you fall in love with them?  I did. On the basis of less are entire fates sealed. On one of them there are still the slender coils that once held the servants bells and which presumably jingled and jangled until some poor hapless person had staggered two floors up to the piano nobile to do someone’s bidding.  Stoke the fire.  Tamp the fire.  Adjust my teacup handle. Twitch that curtain.  I have secret plans to get Supergirl initiated in the arcane ways of the bells.  It’s just that I anticipate some battling to determine who is at which end.

One more piccy.

This is the fireplace in what might become the dining room, if we’re allowed to make a hole in the wall and throw the doors open to the half-postage stamp courtyard. The same half-postage stamp yard in which there is no room for my fishpond fish   (are there adoption agencies for fish?).  Be quiet.  Focus on the fireplace. See that piece of metal above the lintel?  That’s the old gas fitting.  It will be staying, whether or not we want it, so it’s rather good that we do. Of course the brick excrescence at the bottom is for the chop.  And you can’t really tell, but the fireplace is huge.  Sadly there was no obligiing person around at the time to give the picture perspective.  Not to mention charm and colour value.

I lied.  One more.

Ta-da.  The one unsullied stone wall, on which many a dream has been founded.  Too bad it’s in the room that’s going to be the laundry and dogs’ bedroom.  I shall have to teach them to appreciate hand-cut and finished stonework.  A sort of advanced, somewhat specialised form of dog training.  The architect pointed out (bad sign, when puns creep in so early) that the blocks would have been cut and finished by convicts.  I did contemplate whether my conscience could allow me to live in the house, but then I decided to be feckless.

Take a bow, Mrs Worthington.

Posted in Derelict house with tags , , , , on March 10, 2011 by pimpmybricks

 

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