Monday, 13 October 2014

Chez moi II


Five years ago I wrote a post about my flat here in Stamford. 'Budget eclectic' was the name I gave to its appointments, and I lived with B.E. for five years until this year, when a busy summer and a modest but welcome windfall allowed me to improve the appearance of the place somewhat. I'm quite pleased with it, especially when I'm not wearing my new glasses. Putting these on brings everything from mellow soft focus into cruel, blinding clarity, revealing that the carpet is worn and forlorn and the paintwork could do with touching up here and there.

1. View from living room window


OK, cut the snark, I don't claim to be a photographer. It's a wet Monday morning in Autumn, the kind of morning when it's a delight to make coffee and take it back to bed with you, knowing everybody else in the neighbourhood is dragging their arse to work in the rain. From the photo you might think there's a steaming geyser out there, but that's just light from inside reflected onto the window. 

2. Commode



Up to last Wednesday this corner was occupied by the same chest of drawers as in the previous post. I had been intending to replace it for five years. My native Yorkshire dialect has the useful verb to thoil. Used in the negative, this means 'to be sufficiently in funds to purchase an item, but feel unable to justify the expenditure'. 'A were goin to get a jar o piccalilli in fert tea tonight' you might say, 'bur a cunt thoil it'. So I couldn't thoil a new chest of drawers until last month when I had to admit that the old one did not look quaintly distressed, but utterly panic-stricken. Anyway, I'm pleased with this one. It makes me feel more like a grown-up and less like a kid playing at house in the garden shed.



Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness... Actually, they're Waitrose 'ripen at home'. They usually stay hard as billiard balls for a week then go off overnight, so I don't expect to get to eat them. I think they look pretty, though.

3. The west-facing wall of the main chamber

This is where I'm lying right now, midst banks of sparkly Indian mirror-work cushions. Been intending to buy some for about thirty years. No selfie. Not since I got my new specs and faced the truth. (I'm still reeling.)



4. Gauds, conceits, knacks, trifles.

I am attracted to New Agey tat: joss sticks, crystals. tumble stones, crap like that. I suppose the fascination can be traced back to the second play I directed at school when I was 17, and searched the shops over the rehearsal period for anything that could be associated with 'magic'. At the closing of my Midsummer Night's Dream, Oberon, Titania and the fairies passed through the auditorium, pronouncing blessing on the audience whilst asphyxiating them with Maraschino Cherry incense. (Why that sickly honk? Why?) This was when Richard Ridings gave Huddersfield his Bottom, and I went on to achieve obscurity.

Tall thin bottle (one of a pair, c. 2013)
that had posh vinegar in it.



Marble eggs I bought ages ago on Hydra,
because the night before I'd dreamed about marble eggs.

Himalayan salt lamp. Christmas present from my niece
and nephew.

Bud vases I accidentally 'distressed'
by chucking them in the washing up.




5. That sodding fireplace.

What can you do with a fireplace like this? The landlord allowed that it is not a thing of beauty and said he would be happy for me to rip it out, but would leave it up to me to repaint the room after. Instead I decorated it like a Christmas tree with the sort of odds and sods mentioned above. By candle light it doesn't look all that bad. Honest.  







The glaring white light is actually ruby red.


6. Posh new lamp.



New reading lamp, made in India. The lacquer bowl I bought ages ago from a very friendly Vietnamese girl that used to have a stall on the High Street. She extolled it to me: 'It got a lid, yes? No nice if you soup go cold, innit?' So it's actually a soup bowl, and to Vietnamese eyes it probably looks as incongruous there as a can of corned beef would.

7. O Cloacina, Goddess of this place...

A world first, a place but few have looked upon. I've done my best with it, I suppose, hiding the ugly plastic piping with greenery, but theres something clunky about the colour and round-shoulderedness of the cistern and wash basin. I dream of a bathroom you can linger in, drinking champagne in one of those gorgeous Japanese wooden tubs, a place where bathing is a delight utterly apart from the khazi. It is not to be.

In August I bought a shower curtain in vibrant lime green. The bathroom faces east and on hot sunny mornings the light pinged and ricocheted off the curtain as you opened the bathroom door and it was marvellously invigorating to bleary eyes. Unfortunately if the weather was overcast the damn thing seemed to suck out the light and it was like falling into an algae-coated frog pond. It had to go.


                                                                         
Pretty kickshawses to beguile the time while at stool:



Next door's bathroom.
Quentin Crisp, who always lived in just one room, said 'I don't know what people do with the room they're not in.' I am much of his mind. The other room now looks like the set of 'Steptoe and Son' and makes me think of Lodovico's line at the close of Othello: 'The object poisons sight, let it be hid.'







8 comments:

CJB said...

Thank you for this little sashay through your pied a terre.

Vilges Suola said...

Velcome to my vorld.

John L. Murphy / "Fionnchú" said...

I still like to imagine you and I crossed paths or at least glances in our late teens in Huddersfield! Of all the places for an L.A. guy just turned 18 to wind up in, the summer of Joy Division's debut LP.

Vilges Suola said...

Huddersfield must have seemed terribly dull and provincial then. At 18 I went to france for 6 months and then to Cambridge and after that it really did seem like the back-arse of beyond to me.

Bo said...

gorgeous!!!

Vilges Suola said...

Ta!

Bangkok.Ian said...

I thought you might giggle a little at more culinary shit.

http://www.cookingwithpoo.com/static/

Vilges Suola said...

Thanks! Most unfortunate name for a chef.

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