Sometimes when I am contemplating the gap between our-house-in-my-head, and our-house-as-it-is, I feel a bit depressed by it. I then often go and sit on the sofa, half-watching trashy TV, half-surfing the net with the laptop. It’s a very mature, grown-up way to deal with things.
Other times, I remind myself of the ‘little by little’ mentality that made me start this blog, so I get on and do something. This was one of those times.
Little by little, I am trying to build up the Stuff we have up on the walls of the house. I have always been rather distrustful of people who immediately fill their walls. (See also people who ‘do up’ their houses too quickly.) Obviously this is not in any part due to jealousy at people who take a shorter time than aeons to do things. No, no, no. It is all part of a carefully worked-out philosophy which says that your house should be full of things you love, and your walls should be covered with things you love. And in most cases, when you have a job, and preschoolers hanging off your legs shouting, “Mummy! Mummy!”, finding things you love, and locating frames for them, and then putting them together in pleasing groups, and then trying to remember where you put the blasted picture hooks, and then trying to find a time when the children aren’t asleep, but also aren’t hanging off your legs shouting, “Mummy! Mummy!”…. well, these things all take time. So although the walls of our house were resolutely empty for a long time, I consoled myself that it takes time.
To a certain extent this is true. I did a lot of displacement activity during this time. Primarily pinning, and ripping out of magazines any pictures I ever saw of a wall full of frames. Because I just LOVE walls full of frames. I also did a lot of buying empty frames, and promising myself I would fill them with lovely things. The empty frames pile was leaning precariously in a corner of the study. It got bigger, and bigger. So it was pretty obvious that this was where things were headed.
I put some stuff up in the hall, but I think there’s space for more. And that’s when I found these.
But look! There are a hundred of them. One hundred. 100. Not to mention the lovely ribbon that the box has so you can get them out. I found them in Foyles for £14.99 and in spite Oli and I having agreed very seriously together that it is the Age of Austerity, and we have to stop making frivolous purchases, I marched straight up to the till and bought them. Along with one or two other things. Ahem.
But look! One hundred. Did I mention there are a hundred? Now, obviously in an ideal world one would have an entire huge room filled with original Penguin books. With wall to wall shelving, and a librarian’s ladder on wheels. But in the absence of such a room, it strikes me that this little box of book covers is a highly responsible purchase.
I spent a few happy moments riffling through them. Then I spent a happier moment in the basement realising that one of my empty frames was a multi-aperture one where the apertures were exactly the right size for the postcards. Then I spent a few more happy moments whittling my selection down to three.
And here they are in situ. Apologies for the really appalling photos. I will replace them once we get some natural light. So probably some time in May….. You can just about see that although the frames in the hall don’t match, they are a mix of light-coloured wood. And one clippit frame, like a lone relic from the 90s. The rest of the stuff in the hall includes framed hand and footprint-impressions of both girls when they were babies, a print from Not on the High Street which says, ‘Raising kids is part joy, and part guerilla warfare’, a print of Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’, and a picture I made for Oli for Christmas of all of our handprints inside one another. Not an original idea, but a rather lovely one, I thought. It was his present from the girls. Oh, and a stained glass star of which I am pleased to say, ‘I bought from a local artist‘. Just because saying that makes me sound like someone else. Not like the kind of person who normally says either, “I got it from Ikea.”
Obviously framing three postcards and putting them on the wall does not a finished house make. But it’s one more small step, isn’t it?