Monday, 5 April 2010

Damask curtaining

I am spring cleaning. I have hung an 8-metre high DONOTDISTURB sign round the chimney pot of this house. You can probably see it on Streetview. Now we fit in with the sort of people who paint a penis on the roof or sculpt a shark diving head first into the attic. Those sound like reasonable things to do as I start moving the entire house contents from East to West and back again.

Don't ask me why I am doing it. Spring cleaning the entire house. It is not normal. I have never done it before. Yes, before children, but that time was different. That time was pure, total, free, unrestrained house worship.

Each month then was marked by the tender love of authentic house, Late Victorian. I sank pleasurable hours in swooning passion over pot sinks, or indulged days locating the authentic rinse effect wash of eggshell blue, available only in The Heritage 1894 Paint Reproduction Range, manufactured in limited quantities and made by traditional methods of pissing into pots and stamping on beetles. All to the good, for it led to the perfect late Victorian effect. Gas lamps? I cannot confess how close we came.

And these days? With kids in this house? Forget the Victoriana. Paint the walls with what the local council recommends: anti-climb, graffiti-resistant, industrial mould-proof grey. Then have done with it for 20 years. Do not bother screwing the doorknobs back on: the children rip them off. Floor? I saw it once, somewhere over there. Windows? Don't make me laugh. Door frames? Finger marked. Burglars push money through the letterbox with a phone contact for building repairs.

Let this be a word of caution. If you love your house, and do not yet have children, consider the balance carefully. Elegant interior? Or kids? Think about it. You can get a lot of pleasure from a hand-made butlers sink, a crystal chandelier, and a wrought iron wine cage.

So why I feel the need to suddenly awaken to the wreckage that is My House, and lug smashed up old furniture around, vacuum the three foot dust mice away, or sluice down the walls with 110% strength bleach, I have no idea. It's not like I can ever return to that pre-lapsarian state of damask curtaining. It is just another nodule of the late Grit brain that is growing unbidden with my age. The perimenopause? Possibly. Arrangement of the house so that when I soon lie on my death bed I can think At least I vacuumed under the bed and then pass away happy? Probably. Fears that we may yet leave this fresh green and rolling England land where I am rooted in history, to go survive on an island with a view obscured by steam and smog and heat haze? Almost certainly.

Then away I go, round this house, like DemonCleanerGritofSmalltown. Until the remaining children remind me that we must go and see the craft show. They say I promised. And a shelf is only a shelf, whereas the opportunity to create a felt bracelet in a community hall with a bunch of nouveau crafting hippies is the reason for this existence on Planet Earth.

And that's what we do.

And I am glad of it. It knocks sense into me, albeit for a short time. You should all see reason, and go and support the textiles of Jess Sharp, here.

I may not be able to dribble any longer over butler's sinks and eggshell washed Victorian walls, but I can dribble, for a few indulgent moments, on life's smaller pleasures. Candyfloss buttons, stitched paper, pink hearts, and Victorian nostalgia.

1 comment:

sharon said...

Spring cleaning is a much over-rated occupation. Craft activities are a much better option.