Thursday, 3 September 2009

The Beginning of Autumnwatch, or, I finally get a living room I can invite visitors to!

So, the main living areas in our house are now, more or less, finished! I am vacillating wildly about the curtains (as oppposed to oscillating wildly which is a completely different thing). The old ones kinda go but I think it would be nice to have some new ones.

I spent two hours yesterday tramping the streets of Guildford (and there were plenty of young women there that would SO suit that soubriquet - I mean, don't they look in the mirror before going out first?) looking for curtains. And, despite Dusted Damson being such a weird colour, I actually managed to find some that matched, see:

Trouble is I now don't know whether I want purpley curtains or neutral beigey-cream ones - I suppose what I'm saying is which walls do I want them to match? I dunno. Plus it's quite a pricey thing as the ones in the above colour would have to be made up and I suspect it'll be the best part of 500 quid, which is a lot of money.

So, in the meantime, the old ones have gone back up just so we can at least have something to shut the dark out with. (ooh, bad sentence, but you know what I mean...)

I apologise in advance for being competely incapable of tidying up before taking the photos but, hey, if I spent all my time tidying my house, I would end up with nothing at the end of my life but a tidy house, so just suck it up, people...

We're also going to replace the side tables as well (The Husband's is an ancient narrow thing from Ikea donated to us by his sister and mine is huge, heavy, round and marble topped but it used to belong to my late father and as I have so few things that were his, we're not getting rid of it - it'll just have a different use somewhere). We'll also get a pair of new table lamps as well - currently The Husband has an ancient standard lamp from Ikea donated to us by his sister (can you detect a pattern here?) and mine is a mother-and-daughter uplighter and reading light, also from Ikea, that The Husband hates.

The gorgeous red rug is a genuine Persian one and was given to us by The Husband's parents, and the large palm plant in the corner I have had since about 1987.

I put up my prized Norman Ackroyd etching 'From Malin Head - Tory Island' that I got from this year's Royal Academy Summer Exhibition a couple of days ago on the wall that faces me when I sit watching the telly. Here's a close up of it - apologies for the funny angle but it was necessary in order to avoid reflections:

Looking the other way, down to the back door, the bridge and the garden beyond:

The wall lights are pretty groovy - a cross between 1930s cinema lights and props from David Lynch's version of 'Dune'. We've decided to not hang any curtains here because they interfere with the view (not that the view is all that, but I like to see what's going on out there). The small white metal bucket by the door is what the cats drink their water from - don't ask, it's a long story....

All the floor laying paraphernalia is still there against the wall on the right because we've decided to replace the floor outside the kitchen, which is next door to here (you can see the 1960s-style serving hatch above the square table - an ancient table from Ikea that was donated to us etc., etc., you know, the table that's next to our drinks cabinet which is ancient, from Ikea and donated ...... ) but there wasn't time before The Husband had to shoot off to slum it drinking wine and ogling beautiful women in Rome. And, yes, you really can see The Cat [that] Sat On The Mat. I'm nothing if not a cliche.

So that's that. I actually really love it - you can't imagine what a massive improvement it is to the hideous student-like pit we were living in before - now I actually feel I can invite people in and not feel embarrassed about the state of the place. Oh, we also did the upstairs landing too in the same colours but we need new carpet up there so you'll have to wait for pix.


It's 3 September 2009 and Autumn is definitely on its way. The temperatures have plummeted, the winds have picked up and we had stormy weather including thunder, lightning and 3 separate power outages last night while I was trying to watch 'The Reader' (remarkable film, by the way, watch it if you haven't already).

So this morning I've decided to instigate an Autumnwatch, tracking the progress of the inevitable death of the garden. I find Autumn very bittersweet. It saddens me almost more than I can say that everything starts to die off, the weather gets colder, the nights get longer, as we slide inexorably into the freezing heart of winter but, on the other hand, there's apples, conkers, kicking red and yellow leaves about, mists, the smell of bonfires, the gift of a single unexpectedly hot day in the middle of October. Pain and pleasure.

Callicarpus is grown for its profusion of grape-like berries that change from green to purple with the onset of Autumn. Today my plants look like this, they're definitely on the turn:

Next to the Callicarpus I have a Sedum called 'Autumn Joy' which flowers pink in the autumn (the name's a bit of a giveaway really) but the bees absolutely adore it:

And finally I have two small Japanese Maple trees, one that goes flaming red, and the other that goes through every shade of yellow until it hits orange. Neither of them have started to change colour yet, but I'll post pictures of their progress because they're usually spectacular. This is the red one that lives at the end of the garden - as you can see, nothing much happening yet:

And this is the yellow one, which is right at the end of the bridge:

Again, not much happening, but it's good to have a base from which to delineate colour change. Now I've bigged them up, they'd better do a good job this autumn or I'm going to look really stupid.

Talking of which, I need to go and put pink highlights in my hair before The Husband gets back.

Ciao, bambini....


elizabethm said...

Damson curtains I would propose! and yes to the sadness of autumn. I love it and hate it simultaneously. It looks so wonderful and with each day it gets darker and closer to winter.

peevish said...

If you think the room is untidy, then you are not allowed to visit my house. Sorry.

I used to have some Autumn Joy Sedum! It is lovely, as is that red rug.

Your garden view is gorgeous and you're absolutely right not to cover it up, even a little bit.

Well done!

Mrs Jones said...

Elizabethm - I am leaning towards the damson curtains, I must admit, as the colour is not so dense that you end up with four square blocks of dark alongside the windows which is what I wanted to avoid but didn't really want to go the beige route so, hurrah, a solution may have been found!

Peevish - I can admittedly do much untidier but there was stuff on the tables that I could have removed. Thank you for the kind comments about the garden - it's looking a bit wild and overgrown just now as I don't actually do that much to it. We've come to a compromise on the garden windows, we've decided we will put up a curtain rod but we will only actually suspend curtains from it for the winter period. Although they're double-glazed you do still lose heat through them so it may help our heating bills if we do what people used to in the 'olden times' and put heavy curtains up in winter and take them down for the summer - it's quite a good idea I think.

maggie said...

I have that sedum as well, and would love the purple berried plant, that colour is just so like my old DMs the ones I can't wear any more due to old lady swollen legs, due to poorly functioning lymph thingies. The legs look fine, a matching pair, not bad for an oldie (nearly) when I first get up, but as the day goes on the right one increases in girth. Not horrendously, most people probably wouldn't notice, especially not as I wear long skirts, but I KNOW it's fatter than t'other. Anyway, me and me legs are off to the docs right now, got a problem in that for over a week I haven't been able to put weight on my left foot without pain in the ankle/calf, so methinks it needs sorting.
Enjoyed the blog, love the colour on the walls, the modernness of it all, the light. A Bridge! Really?

pinkfairygran said...

And meant to thank your archaeologists' head for the explanation of KA!

pinkfairygran said...

Congrats on the POTD nomination....

Mrs Jones said...

Ooh, thanks, PFG, for letting me know. All I did was nominate a couple of other brilliant bloggers whose writing I adore (one of which won! Yay!) and somehow managed to get commended as well and this post isn't even that great!

Alix said...

LOVE your Casa. Thanks for the tour. And might I say, that from all the donated decor, I think it's truly smart what you've done to the place. Cat included (if yours is anything like mine, they prefer to drink water they find as opposed to water you give them, so perhaps the white pot by the door once contained a plant or something and is probably where the cat chooses to drink?).

Very happy to have made your acquaintance by way of authorblog. Congratulations on your POTD mention.

Oh yeah... go crazy with the curtains. Go purple.

Cheffie-Mom said...

Super photos! Congrats on the Post of the Day Award!

Teresa said...

Love your Autumn Watch post... we're anxiously awaiting the same season here. And I'm with you on the tidy house philosophy... who has time?

Congrats on your POTD nom!

Mrs Jones said...

*Waves frantically to the new commenters* Hello, all you lovely new people! And thank you for your very undeserved kind comments. I shall be popping round to check out your blogs shortly. But, yes, the curtain will be the purple ones I think, if they're not too expensive.

And, Alix?, the cats' tin bucket of water? You're goooood; you are very close to the truth. A couple of years ago, The Husband replaced our bridge with a shiny new one. The old one was getting dangerous to walk on and the planks were bowed where they weren't rotted through. The bowed sections used to collect rainwater puddles which the cats would drink from (it became known as 'bridge water' in our house). I can't remember the exact details now but I think I took pity on a cat one day that went to the usual bridge water location only to find the water all gone, so I filled a handy white tin bucket (which is actually a plant pot cover, as you surmised) and put it where the puddle should be. I brought it back in that night and just put it by the back door - the moggies started drinking from it there and it's been there ever since. Anyway, hugs and kisses to you all!

Anonymous said...

I've just across your blog while trying to find some curtains online to match dulux's dusted damson paint as I'm about to paint a wall of my lounge this colour. I was just wondering where you managed to find those curtains?

Mrs Jones said...

Hi Anonymous - I found them in my local C&H shop in Guildford but I don't know if that's of any help to you at all! Best thing to do is to either carry a small tester pot around with you or paint up a reasonable sized piece of lining paper with it and carry that. I seem to recall that imperial purple and also ruby red goes with it quite well. In fact we got ruby red carpet to go up the stairs from the sitting room. Good colour combo but doesn't half show the cat hair....