The summer holidays have now begun in earnest, which means I have two children to look after instead of one and a half; and that the weather is taking no prisoners: rain, rain, rain, pretty much.
Unperturbed, we’ve decided that I need to redecorate the upstairs. The upstairs is where the bedrooms are. Not least, our bedroom; the bedroom belonging to the sole adult couple residing in this country. It’s been a pretty sorry place for many months. Well, some years now actually. We don’t tend to show it to visitors. It’s full of cobwebs. It’s damp. We sleep on a mattress on the floor since we threw out our bed. It never gets much air because we’re worried about our children falling out of the window if we unlock it. We never got a wardrobe. We were going to get a built-in one but haven’t been able to afford it yet, with all the things we’ve been doing downstairs.
So I’ve been doing battle with the ubiquitous cellar spiders, whom I hate, whom are shit spiders because they only eat other spiders. What kind of bullshit spider only eats other spiders? I hate them. I can’t describe how much I hate them.
The idea of killing a spider would have been ridiculous to me a few years ago. (Wasps: sure. Ants: if they bite me. Humans: if only it were legal!) But these bastards are horrible little spindly twats that eat all the proper spiders that would, if allowed to live and grow big enough, catch some of the horseflies that constantly plague us, even in unprecedented cold snaps and torrential downpours.
I love real spiders. Always have. Cellar spiders on the other hand can do one.
I’ve now put two coats of “goose down” floor paint on all the boards upstairs, driven various bits of carpet to the tip, painted walls and ceilings white, unscrewed doors and painted them “goose down” too,
I did a day on Wednesday when the kids were being looked after, and then something that feels pretty close to 48 hours this weekend while V entertained the kids. It still isn’t done. There are second coats in the hall and touch-ups here and there. Once you start decorating it’s very hard to stop. Especially in a house that’s several hundred years old and which has had a very, very gradual history of improvements.
Earlier in the week I painted a flagstone. Literally a flag-stone now, as it’s the first non-postcard-sized rendering of the Landskeria flag, affectionately called “The New Leaf” for reasons I’ll outline when I can be bothered.
It doesn’t really follow the official proportion guidelines (2:1), but it’s an adaptable design. Now that I’ve painted the huge bit of solid concrete with the flag’s *ahem* colours, I’m really not sure what to do with it. Suggestions welcome. Think outside the box, folks. Or outside the end wall of the Boiler House. Which is where it actually is.
Elsewhere, The queen of Belgium is following me on Twitter for reasons I cannot fathom. I didn’t even know that Belgium had a queen. But I do know from a bit of cursory research that she’s married into the direct descendants of the fourth biggest serial killer of all time, so good luck to her. I guess the silver lining to that cloud is that the beard genes in her offspring are going to be pretty stacked.
I took the kids and the dog for a beach excursion to Newgale, the far-western point of the nonexistant Landsker line that lends its name to our nation. It was raining when we left so I assumed it’d be fine when we got there. Wrong. Absolute monsoon stuff. Except without the warmth.
And I had to carry the pram over a massive mound of stones to get to the actual beach. Sybil had to hold the dog lead. The dog was thoroughly miserable and was sick several times on my camera bag on the way there. Good times. Hope for many more similar trips in the coming weeks.
The toad has been and gone and been again. Somehow it actually got inside one night, which allowed me to take a pretty sweet close-up portrait of it. It remains very suspicious of me. But I feel it senses that something connects us on a cosmic level. Maybe the flies in my house.
In addition to fitting a lock to the inside of the (unlatched) door, I’ve put up the first picture on the walls of the Boiler House: a lovely print from Karborn, an artist I used to work with in London. It’s nice to see it up again, as there was no room for it in the actual house. I can’t remember what it’s called, but it’s a sort of dancing robed woman superimposed over some colours with some torn away fabric shapes and a feather.
Despite the torrential downpours, I’ve harvested another 2kg of blackcurrants. I even ate some with yogurt and honey. They were good. I desperately want to make wine from them this year, but cannot yet find a recipe that doesn’t involve adding loads of sugar. I refuse to believe one cannot make a palatable wine from blackcurrants without adding additional sugars.
Anyway, we all have colds. Things are very unsummery at the moment. I trust this will change in good time. Maybe when our new bed arrives (in August).
The hills are calling to me. I must visit them again soon.
Here in Lanskeria the weather is torrential, the environment is stable, and the economy is good.