Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Tale of Two Houses

I miss the old house.

Loo and the girls used to live in this wonderful old home, build in 1750... like most of those wonderful old homes in the UK, it had a name. When you wrote her, you put their name, and the name of the house... no street would be delivered properly.

We called the house "The Old Parsnip", a play on it's real name. It was put together from three cottages, and although it looks nice and even from the windows, inside, it was a rabbit warren of stairs and rooms. Not a single room was even with another. You went from a central hallway upstairs down a different number of stairs into the various bedrooms or bathroom. It gave it charm, character.... it was flawlessly decorated. The downstairs bathroom had a Victorian toilet of Delft china. There was an Aga stove. It sat behind a huge stone wall, and behind it was an enormous garden, with listed trees, which meant you couldn't do anything without special permission, they were that old.

Times change... the world moves on, and so did Loo and the girls. While waiting for their new home, they moved into....

The Pit.

I was warned about the rental, where they would be living for a month. "The colours are a bit...very." she said.

She was being kind.

I've never seen shades this... very. There isn't a single room that has a colour that matches a single colour in another room in the house.

Her bedroom is done in what can only be called Pixie Blood and purple. The office is in two shades of, well... well worn swimming pool blue. Problem is, the corners are in a different shade of the same blue.

The kitchen is orange. The dining room had someone who was on acid and decided to stencil... and really, really shouldn't have. The family bathroom upstairs is done in dead fish. MB's bedroom is tasteful, however, in this house, that's not saying much.

Not a piece of carpet matches anything.. in fact, the only thing that matches anything is the rainbow of badly picked out and laid tile used as a backsplash in the kitchen that has managed to hold every single colour with the exception of the Pixie Blood....

In a word, it is... very.

My room is patriotic. I have a deep blue with red carpet... and a white ceiling. This would almost work if you had a large room... mine is at most 9x10. It's scary, really. You find yourself sleeping with earplugs, the colours are so loud.

Then, there is the non-existent heat.

Everyone knows English homes don't have central heat. You have these clever white radiator things on the wall that are great for hanging towels or drying your clothes, and we all pretend they heat the house.

They don't.

They sort of slightly keep the air from completely freezing your ass off, but, keeping it warm?


This place doesn't even fake it. We stand in front of the little white radiator things, and nothing.

They are just... there.

The pretend fireplace is that... pretend. The lighting fixtures flicker. The outlets are uneven, making me twitch when I see them. There are splotches of paint on every bit of white. There are gaps in the fake wood in the front hall. When the carpet was cleaned in the front room, it shrank, so, now it doesn't meet the walls.

And these are the good points.

For all of this, you can rent this gem for $3800.00 American a month.

Oh, and the taps in the bathroom don't work, and the kitchen faucet is male. How do I know?

Because it's prostate is bad.... every so often it leaks for no reason.

Soon, we'll move to the new, new house... clean, perfect, beige. I never thought I'd love beige. I can't wait to see it.... beautiful, beautiful beige.

I miss The Old Parsnip, bless it. The heating wasn't perfect, you could lose your way in the middle of the night, and it required a good deal of upkeep.

In the end, personality is worth the trade off for a new house, I think...and the Parsnip had that in spades.


Peter Varvel said...

I've always loved the name 'Dovecote,' in "Little Women."

My friend Jo grew up in an ancient farmhouse, in England. She told me that as a child, she would set her school clothes out the night before, within arm's reach of her bed, so that she could dress underneath her warm blankets on cold winter mornings.

austere said...

The old house has atmosphere..I could almost see the flowers in springtime, picturebook English. A ghost, perchance?

Because of our legacy, and partly becuase its the new new thing to do, you'll see a lot of houses here with names like "Springfield" and "Glenwoods".

Some of the bungalows the Brits lived in, were awe inspiring, burra sahib had it good.

No pics of the "very" house?

Quin said...

peter~i do that here, after my shower, pull my warm clothes off the radiator

austere~ironic you mention that..i thought of adding some to the post, but, decided it would cheapen the photo of the old parsnip... and no one would believe we had to live in something this...very. :)

MrHarlequin said...

What do you expect for $3,800 for goodness sake?

Odd, that the world thinks the English 'Stiff upper lip' was a cultural charecter trait?

Nooo, it came from generations of kids waking in un-heated dorms and bedrooms, to find they'd licked their lips in their sleep and as a result, they had frozen solid. After a childhood of this, it sets solid.

I take it however the pit DOES have a phone (probably an orange one with a rotary dial that 'trills').


Writeprocrastinator said...

"For all of this, you can rent this gem for $3800.00 American a month."

I'm sorry, for that kind of scratch, Kate Winslet herself better swing by and warm me up.

constant_drama said...

Houses in Malaysia doesnt look like that. Our houses also dont go all white during winter coz we dont have snow...or winter.

And I am thankful for that. Cant stand the cold.