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Monthly Archives: February 2018

‘Love your neighbor as yourself; but don’t take down the fence.’ Carl Sandburg.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . . 

Fighting spouses, other people’s children running all over your front garden, loud music lovers, screaming mothers, people who let their pets run wild, late-night partiers, someone who trims all the boundary trees and hedges—and throws all the debris into your yard . . .   Does any of that sound familiar?  Anyone who has lived next to nasty neighbours will know how stressful and unpleasant it can be—and how it can be enough to drive even the sanest and most peaceful person to the brink . . .

Happily, I have been very lucky with my neighbours over the years.  Although there have been one or two I was not overly sorry to see the back of, for the most part all my neigbours have been friendly and supportive, kept their children and animals under control, their domestic affairs to themselves and only gone slightly overboard on the noise levels on high-days and holidays—which, quite frankly, is fair enough.

Consequently I have had very little to complain about . . . and I would hope that any of my neighbours, if asked, would be able to say the same of me.

Even so, no matter how friendly with, or fond of, my neighbours I am I can’t really see how a good sturdy fence between us can do much harm.   Just to be on the safe side, you understand . . .

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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‘If bad decorating was a hanging offense, there’d be bodies hanging from every tree.’ Sylvester Stallone.

I think I have a bit of a problem.  I seem to be spending an inordinate amount of time rearranging decor and furniture.  Not my own decor and furniture you understand (well, not often) but other people’s.  And not physically rearranging it (that would be just rude!)—but in my head.  Seriously.  I am catching myself doing it all the time—vizualising redecorating a new friend’s house . . . or my favourite coffee shop . . . or a local business window display.  Just last weekend, while sitting in the foyer of the local Plaza Theatre, I got so involved in mentally rearranging all the lovely posters and art deco statues and reorganising the whole flow of the place that I nearly missed the start of the movie!

I blame it on all those home improvement shows that abound on our tvs at the moment.  I can’t resist them.  There is something about these shows I find utterly fascinating . . . which is kind of weird as I don’t own my own home and am therefore unlikely to be undertaking any major home improvement projects in the near future, but there you go . . .

I should make a point of clarification here.  I do not enjoy what I call the ‘reality tv’ renovation shows which seem to me to be more about competition and personalities and drama (and winning money) than about renovation. I honestly can’t bear all the histrionics (although, I admit, I do sometimes tune into the ‘reveals’ after all the drama and tears are over.)

No—the shows I like at those where someone buys an old run-down-seen-better-days (preferably historic) home and then hands it over to someone who actually knows what they are doing to restore it to its former glory (albeit with modern conveniences and plumbing of course!)  And I’m not completely silly.  I do realise I am being ‘had’ when I watch these shows—at least to a certain degree.  If a one-week turnaround on a kitchen and bathroom remodel sounds too good to be true, I am pretty sure it probably is.  The ‘magic of television’ pretty much guarantees that we only see what they want us to see.  Nevertheless . . .

The best part of these shows though, for me at least, is the ‘dressing’ after all the renovations are complete.  I love to see the finished product—the colours that were chosen, the furniture and furnishings, the art work, the linen.  And although many of these end products are not to my own style or taste, I can (usually) see where the designer was coming from and how it all works together.  

I do always wonder though—if we went back to any of these beautifully renovated and decorated homes 3 months, 6 months, or a year later—how many of them would still look the way the designer left them?  How long would it be before the owner’s secret passion for purple plush started to creep back into that perfectly designed latte-toned bedroom?  Or the dozens of ceramic frogs collected over the years (and carefully boxed away by the designer and hidden away under the stairs) start to find their way back on to windowsills and benchtops?

Because no matter how much we appreciate what these incredibly talented and creative designers and decorators can do with our homes, style and taste are still very much individual traits so who, really, is to say what it good and what is bad?  As with our clothes, we express our self-identity through our belongings.  What strongly appeals to me might leave someone else absolutely stone cold . . .  and what someone else might perceive as the crowning centrepiece of their living room might just be enough to send me screaming from the building . . .

But you know,  I really wouldn’t have it any other way.  How boring would it be if we all liked the same things anyway?  Our likes and dislikes, our individual quirks, passions and peculiarities are what make us all  individuals and so much more interesting.

Besides, I actually like rearranging everyone else’s belongings—even if it is only in my head ( . . . that picture over there is so in the wrong place and that . . . what is that?  Is that a vase?  An urn? . . . ) and I think I’d really kind of miss it if I had no reason to do it any more . . .

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

‘Time flies like an arrow—but fruit flies like a banana.’ Terry Wogan.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . . 

I’ve never really been that much of a fan of eating fresh fruit (except maybe berries—I do love berries) but I have always eaten it, even when I didn’t particularly want to, because I was told it was good for me.  It seemed entirely the wrong thing to say that I always preferred a good slice of apple pie (or apple crumble) to just eating a plain old apple  . . . and I would have much preferred a great big fat slice of banana bread to just any old banana . . .

Since last October I have been following a low-carb-high-fat (LCHF) lifestyle and that has also meant eating little to no fruit (and especially not in pies or crumbles) although I have still managed to sneak in a few strawberries underneath my dollop cream!   But you know what?  I haven’t missed it.  At all.  (I have probably just alienated every fruit-growing person on the planet, but there you go.  I am sure there are still enough people out there devouring the world’s fruits in such quantities that my no longer partaking will hardly be missed.)

Having said all that, no longer eating fruit does not make me totally immune to its charms.  The myriad colours, textures and shapes are all pretty fabulous . . . and a lot of fun to sketch . . .

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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