Saturday, July 16, 2016


When you've lived with someone for years, you become inured to their oddities, and also oblivious to them (except when their quirks are especially irritating, which usually coincides with periods when you are tired or stressed.) And then when someone says - "Does he really eat six large cartons of yoghurt a day?" you are surprised by their surprise, and then uber-bored, and you say "Yes" with no explanation, while hoping against hope that they will not pursue the topic further and give advice on the health implications and the necessity of a varied diet, etc, etc., as if you hadn't considered any of that and told the yogoholic yourself.

And when you have lived in the same house for years, you forget about the quirks around the place, things that might puzzle visitors. While Dave and I were away, some new friends came to stay in our house for a few days, and we left them notes about what to feed the cat and how the central heating system worked, though we forgot about the temperamental shower.  Since coming home to the novelty of a clean house, I have been noticing things round the place that might seem odd to strangers.

For example, why do we have what appears to be a chest of library drawers for index cards in our bedroom?

The answer is that someone was throwing them away and Dave converted them into a set of drawers for smaller items of clothing, thus:

And why does the bench in the garden have those slots in it?

Answer: because Dave recycled it from a 50 year old oak gate given by a friend as firewood.

And why are there are old bits of what look like charred wood on the hearth, placed as if they are ornaments?

They are the remains of the gate, that Dave thinks are "interesting." And the horseshoes are also donated and have been cleaned up and polished for use in an outdoor game. The board standing up behind them is a Crokinole board, the outside of which is made from an old university lab bench (donated.) Fortunately for our visitors, the family member who declines to be named called on them and taught them how to play Crokinole.

And what on earth is that plaque in the hall about?

It's carved from a  piece of a damaged oak tree (from Mary's father's garden) and the carving is a reference to a quote from a Larkin poem, For Sidney Bechet :

On me your voice falls as they say love should,
Like an enormous yes.

I love this carving.

The bell hanging up is the one my mother used to ring to call me and my siblings in to tea when we were playing in the farmyard and she couldn't see us.  The wind chimes are made from a spare bit of curtain rod (by Dave, of course) and the ornate wrought iron shelf supports are what my sister persuaded me to bring home from the Winchester tip, and which Dave then spent hours cleaning up. He's a peach.

Lastly, why on earth do we have three stacks of large yoghurt cartons next to the microwave?

Answer: because Dave thinks they might come in useful, and fights off every attempt of mine to put them in the recycling box. They used to be stacked in my main line of sight behind the fruit bowl which drove me crazy, and after a massive row we hit upon the current compromise position in the corner. 

So there you have it. Oddities.


Christine said...

Enjoyed this. No doubt our house is full of similar things which I just don't notice.

Anonymous said...

Love the close up of you, looking gorgeous. It is a beauty.

And while those piles of hopeful yoghurt pots would similarly irritate - which beating heart would not eagerly embrace them in the spirit of that carving.

How much we love a positive - thank you!

Sue Hepworth said...

Thanks for the compliment, Anonymous!

Anonymous said...

I read this and thought Wow! I love the photos - the glimpses into your world - the way you write. I have returned a couple of times wondering what to say - still stuck for just the right thing - I do like your state of entente courdiale. Jenetta

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you, Jenetta.

Sue Hepworth said...

Entente cordiale, Jenetta? As I said in one of my pieces in the Times:
'I felt a great sympathy with Lady Longford, who, when she was asked if she’d ever thought of divorcing her husband, said – “Divorce never, murder often.”'