Tuesday 29 September 2015

Monday 21 September 2015

Kondo to the max

Looking for an antidote to Kondo-mania?
This stretches the spark of joy test to the limit.
Meet a man, Charles Paget Wade, who in the early 20th century 
assigned a whole house, Snowshill Manor, to his 22,000 piece collection of 
toys, furniture, bicycles, spinning wheels, suits of Samurai armour, 
chests, model boats - you name it and if he thought it exemplified 
good design or craftsmanship,
then he had to have it.

Crucially, for him, good workmanship that might be lost to posterity sparked joy.
Nothing shall perish
was his family motto.

The collection is so vast and varied that it is not catalogued or labelled.
One visitor, I was told, likes to bring and place a new object each time he comes
to perplex the curators and present custodians, The National Trust.

I would argue with his assertion that each room has a restful atmosphere.
I found it overwhelming and was repeatedly drawn to the windows
for respite from the Stuff.

But Snowshill Manor House was a home to things not people.
It is a vast cabinet of curiosities, 
a giant version of the one that his strict granny used to let him open 
on a Sunday if he had been good all week.

He lived in the tiny dark Priest's House in the garden.
When he eventually married aged 63, his wife was not keen to
make it the marital home -
this is the bathroom
and there was no electricity or heating
so you rather sympathise.

Luckily they were able to decamp to the family's
sugar plantation in St Kitts.

And like the doves from his dovecot

I was glad to escape into the warm Cotswold sun.

Monday 14 September 2015

Three corners

We had nearly all of the United Kingdom covered this weekend.
Darling grand-daughter sped off to North North Wales for a wedding,
a seven hour journey by train, tube,train, train, bus, bus.

Younger son stayed at this fascinating, unreconstructed house in Edinburgh
for two nights before proceeding an hour north of Inverness,
by train,tube, train, train, car.

We went far South (by car) and enjoyed a quiet time
photographing cups of coffee,


  beach foraging

 and exploring medieval cellars,

finishing in North North London
with a walk by this beautiful lake with my brother.

Pretty stunning considering it's not properly remote like

North North Scotland.

Wednesday 9 September 2015

New terms

This may no longer be the season of sharpened pencils
 and new notebooks for me,
but I do crave a razor-edged yew hedge.

So instead I have

 sorted my summer sea glass,

and taken particular pleasure

in crisp lines

level edges

 and a new mirror in the hall
to snare the light as it swoops down to the horizon.

Getting on better terms with autumn.

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Krazy Kondo-ing 2

It had to go.
The craziest of crazy paving,
never sparked a scintilla of joy
but was at least functional, until the tree
 started clawing it up 
slab by surreptitious slab
the length of its bony root system.

I think I should have been a digger driver.

It maddens me every time I drive through 
a certain major road widening scheme.
There are big signs with photos of little boys in hard hats
and high vis jackets saying,

Our dads work here.