Archive for London

Half of a postcard from Londinium.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 11, 2013 by pimpmybricks

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

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


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

Alex Wein - Sirens

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

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

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


or an Oscar


or a Sissinghurst, for a dash of mid century


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


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

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


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

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

I’m leaving, on a jet plane…

Posted in Derelict house, digressions with tags , , , on December 31, 2011 by pimpmybricks

I thought I’d be spending New Year’s Eve at the Regency Wreck, watching the fireworks over Sydney Harbour Bridge.  Maybe even camping there overnight on a mattress.  Instead I’ll be on an airplane, somewhere over the Indian Ocean without so much as a sparkler.   I’m off for five weeks – back to the Dorset countryside and to London. I shall go stamping all over, and spend a day pottering in Spitalfields (where the streets are paved with iconoclasts); a few days in Marrakesh  (where the streets are paved with Berber rugs); and a few more in Venice (where there are no streets).

(And if you don’t believe me about Spitalfields, take a look at, which is a true delight).

Right now I should be packing, stuffing things willy nilly into my bag.  Piles of clothes mushroom at the periphery of my vision but here I am instead, at my machine.  Odd – when I have time draped in folds around my feet I can’t get a post together but when I’m on my way out of the door it becomes The-thing-which-cannot-be-put-off.

The highlight of this last year was buying the Regency Wreck.  This time next year I want to be living there (oh, dangerous thingses, these predictions).  The rest of this year has been one of drudgery – an attempt to cobble together the right conditions for health and recovering still (STILL!) from the psychoanalytic training – my sense of humour is not yet inflated, my sense of joy still fugitive. At the end of it all I feel a little colourless, a little pressed flat.    These last few days a poem by Denise Riley has been blowing around inside my head.

As iron sharpens iron

I sharpen the face of my friend

so hard he sings out

in high delicate notes.

A struggle for mastery to most speak

powerful beauty would run any

attention or kindness clean out

of town in angry rags.

Ringed by darkness the heat pulsates.

And power comes in like lightning.

A lion in the room, fair and flowing

twists with unsparing eyes.

Whitely the glance runs

to it and away.  But let it

talk its golden talk if we

don’t understand it.

Grabbed by remote music

I’m frightening myself.  Speak

steadily as is needed to

stare down beauty.  That calms it.

Denise Riley

In this coming year I hope for a lion in the room.  A pulsating heart. Some powerful beauty to try and speak.  For you I wish whatever it is you need and much of what you want. Happy New Year!