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posted by [personal profile] owlfish at 04:19pm on 23/07/2011 under , ,
[livejournal.com profile] d_aulnoy is a delight to go shopping with. She is really good at explaining *why* vintage shopping is interesting for her, and only loitering when there's something worth loitering over. We spent yesterday wandering down Portobello Road, stopping for purple cauliflower, velvet dresses, and a family friend's clothing store. We ran into B, because London is that small some days.

We stopped for ice cream at Dri Dri. The three flavors I sampled all erred on the side of a little too sweet. The Green Apple sorbet had a lovely Granny Smith tartness to it, but was undermined by the residual after taste of marshmallow. I settled on a scoop of salted caramel ice cream, since the salt helped to balance out the sweet.

Around mid-afternoon, I spotted a small table. It was big enough to work as a coffee table with our sofa, but not so big that it would take up too much space; I'd yet to see one so petite, and it was teak. After a bit of dilemma'ing, I bought it. It was small and lightweight enough that I could wander around the markets for another hour with it tucked under my arm. Only when a shop was crowded would I need to leave it. There was even room for it in my lap on the underground, so we only took up one seat. (!)

So that's how I cam to wander around London with a table, and we now have a new piece of furniture.

I brought it home barely in time to help cook for our evening's medievalists: a sumptuous cauliflower dish (not with purple) involving entirely too many cooking method, idlis, dal, spicy cucumber salad, rice, and an assortment of desserts kindly provided by E & J. [livejournal.com profile] highlyeccentric, houseguest, had already gone on to her next destination.
owlfish: (Labyrinth - Through dangers untold)
posted by [personal profile] owlfish at 07:28pm on 05/06/2011 under
I finally pried myself from bed this morning when I heard a loud squawk coming, every few minutes, from somewhere near by. By that moment, it had paused. No further sound heard, I went on with the beginnings of morning. C. settled down to work in his office - and it shortly became quite clear what the source of the squawking was. There was a bird caught in the chimney.

The outgetting of a bird... )

I went upstairs to cheer with C - when there was another squawk from the wall!... )

And that is how we now come to have the correct number of birds stuck in our chimney.
owlfish: (Canary Wharf)
posted by [personal profile] owlfish at 08:59am on 13/11/2009 under
We've been in the house for a year-and-a-half or so. We bought the sofa in July.

Yesterday, at long last, the sofa came! It's deeper than I remembered and not as long, but it's comfortable and makes the room look bigger. Choosing a pale neutral was wise; it goes very nicely with the other things the room currently has.

Now if only there was running water this morning.... 12:40 pm and running water is back!
owlfish: (Canary Wharf)
posted by [personal profile] owlfish at 11:24pm on 19/09/2009 under ,
We knew the outdoor faucet on the back of the house wasn't particularly good, but we didn't realize the magnitude of its awkwardness until yesterday. It seemed like a good idea to borrow the neighbor's power washer (he offered) to clean the patio before building the wood shed to house wood for the wood stove. We borrowed it. We had a hose, but it was a hose which could be pushed on top of the faucet, not screwed in. The rings had worn out long since; there really was no way to screw anything on to the tap. My sore muscles from yesterday don't come from helped to build the wood shed, nor from lugging all the wood through the house to it. No, they come from desperately trying to hold a hose onto a faucet to keep water flowing to the borrowed power washer.

Lessons learned: We need a new tap and a hose that can screw on to it. Power washing takes hours of works, not the minutes at a time we could give it with the physical limitations the situation required. Our neighbor is still really wonderfully helpful. 1.4 cubic meters of wood takes a fair amount of lugging to move around.

Photos... )

Houses are endlessly educational.
owlfish: (Canary Wharf)
posted by [personal profile] owlfish at 02:51pm on 31/07/2009 under
"Only" a year+ after moving into this house, we've finally ordered a sofa! We've been working on choosing a sofa for ages; the ending of July sales were enough to finally push us into making a decision. C.'s parents are coming this weekend, so we're likely to spend some of it thinking about the house.

I spent part of the morning cutting back vines. Most of my time spent gardening consists of cutting back vines. I used to think gardens were synonymous with trowels; now I think they're synonymous with shears. We have vines all over the place here: passionflowers galore (now fruiting), a struggling clematis, fledgling sweetpeas, very enthusiastic roses, and the infestation from next door which I think of as kudzu, even though I know it isn't. It likes to tangle up with anything it can reach and grows rapidly. Today there was an upstart bramble to cut back as well. (I can't uproot it; it too crept in from next door.)

In unrelated news, my first published opera review arrived today! I'm not likely to review many of these for publication in my life since I rarely have informed insights into the singers themselves (rather important in opera). This one was a review of Doctor Atomic for the BSHS newsletter.
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posted by [personal profile] owlfish at 03:37pm on 26/04/2009 under ,
Sweet peas


Eleven months ago, J. called up to say she had a spare ticket to the Chelsea Flower Show, and would I like to come along? I was delighted to! It was a touristic expedition to gorgeous sights and smells. We didn't yet own a house, so there wasn't much I felt I could buy. A small packet of sweetpea seeds were an exception. It's small, barely larger than a business card, but it contains such potential. It proved the only thing I would buy that day of a garden-like nature.

Today, the skies are blue, the temperatures clement, and I remembered the seed packet. The internet tells me that I am at the very end of sweetpea seed planting season, a season which lasts from September to April.

The seeds are now planted, in a newly-bared bed; it was sod only a few hours ago. I have high hopes of seeing richly-purple sweetpea flowers blossom in another six weeks. (The dark, dark ones in the middle-right of the photo. They're coded as "Navy Blue". It looks purple to me.)
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posted by [personal profile] owlfish at 04:46pm on 06/10/2008 under , ,
I've decided that we don't need to buy any living room furniture. We can construct it all out of our growing collection of enormous cardboard appliance boxes. Then I can paint it all in bright, cheery colors.
owlfish: (Vanitas desk)
posted by [personal profile] owlfish at 03:44pm on 16/09/2008 under
Some of the coldest moments of my life have been in England. In the places I grew up and in Canada, I expect it to be cold outside in the winter, and so I bundle up appropriately. Indoors tends to be well-heated, at least eventually. In England, underheated and underinsulated libraries, in winter, are icy cold. Not moving because reading, I'm far colder than when I'm moving.

Working in my office lately, with a sharp chill in the air outside, has been a lot like that. I'm wearing the fingerless gloves that [livejournal.com profile] saffronjan knit for me and huddling up with the warm computer. Fortunately, it should all start to improve tomorrow. I've picked out curtain fabric, a major prerequisite towards achiveing office curtains. And, best and most immediately of all, the electric heater should arrive in the morning.
owlfish: (Vanitas desk)
posted by [personal profile] owlfish at 05:37pm on 15/09/2008 under
I finally found the misplaced bag of pegs necessary to finish putting the shelves on the bookcases. This enabled a happy hour of roughly sorting books into genres and onto the right cases. (Alphabetical order comes later.) I was finished long before I thought i would be, because - somewhat shockingly - I have enough bookshelves.

Well, I would have enough bookshelves if I didn't have a lot of still-packed boxes of paper which will also be going on the shelves. And it's just as well I have so many books left in the U.S. - with them, I would have no where near enough bookshelves. Also, the CDs and DVDs don't have a home yet, but they're not going on these shelves either. Temporarily - and with many caveats - I am in the surreal and wonderful situation of having enough bookshelves.
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posted by [personal profile] owlfish at 12:32pm on 30/07/2008 under
I grew up without televisions. It wasn't an intentional policy decision on the part of our parents - they just never got around to buying one. On one hand, this meant I was culturally ignorant in copious ways, when so much of conversation between classes revolved around shows. On the other hand, this may not be unrelated to why I've always been in the habit of reading a fair amount.

It's also why I have no immunity to television. I can't ignore it - flickering images, ongoing sound. It distracts me from conversation, from attention span, chops up my mental waters with distraction. This is why, for years, I distrusted having one around the house. I need my attention span. And we didn't have a t.v. We didn't need to. Not mostly, and not at first.

My parents had one the year in Italy when I was only there for vacation. It was good for my sister's language practice. There was one downstairs in my (shared with 50 other people) house at Smith. We never needed one in Toronto for whatever reason. Returning to London, our fully-furnished rental flat came with a t.v. And so we got a DVD player to go with it. And then a Wii.

And now we have a house with no t.v. and a DVD and a Wii which are useless as a consequence. It was inevitable, really. So we ordered my/our first television yesterday. It should be coming here any day now.

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