We have battled a little through the last few weeks, beginning with Peter biting Ian, the bricky. I gather it took time to extricate his teeth from Ian’s palm. Then a bad atmosphere was exacerbated when I asked Ian to relay part of the patio. Later that week, I wept plentiful buckets when the garden team drove the digger into my prized magnolia, snagging off a branch and spent a sleepless night when the house clearance team ripped the pelmets from the Castle windows without a screw driver, taking a window architrave down with them (I am still too upset about this to post a photo). I had some stress with a glazier who didn’t treat my Victorian glass with the respect I felt it deserved and had to urgently leave site….I am an exacting customer, and I accept, not and easy one. Meanwhile, in the garden, spikes of horsestail (very bad weed) force themselves through every bed and lawn and bindweed licks up amongst every shrub that is worth retaining. My mood is low.
I have randomly selected late summer 2018 to move in and like a child waiting for Christmas, this feels further and further away and less and less of a possibility. I project forwards to the year and a half ahead: by then I will be ancient, (more) grey, exhausted, my children will have gone away to the US (the constant threat of the Arty Daughters) and abandoned me to rattle around on my own, waiting for Jason’s company at the weekend. Will it all be worth it? My mother assures me, she will come with her spaniel and I am not being facetious when I say how lovely that will be. Some consolation.
So Christina Rossetti’ s vision of her Christian journey used in my title is not dissimilar to my own journey here and she is, I believe, an Eminent Victorian, so it is a fitting quote.
On a happier note, this week I have been to the Cotswolds, to see the wonderful antique collection of Paul Reeves. Read ‘The Children’s Book’ by AS Byatt, visit Paul and loose yourself for a while. He has special things by even more Eminent Victorians: wardrobes by E.W. Godwin, a set of 6 wall lights by C. Voysey, candlesticks by A.N.W. Pugin, Noel Coward’s hand painted trunk ( not for sale) and a room of Victorian fabrics collected over the years: a daunting treasure trove. Rather lamely, I left with pair of bookends. You always need book ends, and this is about as far as my mind can stretch at the moment.
We have removed the wallpaper in the house, though. Fawlty Towers is firmly behind us. Thwarting my hopes, we have not found a divine wallpaper beneath the many layers. There weren’t many layers, simply one and that from recent times. There is just the merest fragment of a blue hand painted paper, and walls patterned with size, remnants of paint, sometimes in stripes, the odd date and signature of course. Chatting over lunch at James’ yesterday about life, the universe and everything, we concluded in a broadly philosophical way, how trying life would be if we all lived in the same way. Would it be too odd to live with these lovely unfinished walls? Either way, without someone else’s wall decoration, the house suddenly feels more ‘my own’. So I’m putting my bad weeks behind me and concentrating on that.