There is something about visiting other peoples' houses that makes you re-examine your own, at least with me there is. Part of the reason I love blogging and reading blogs is the excuse to be nosy without being really nosy... I don't get to open your cupboards, peek under the bed or ask questions about how and why you got this or that.
Last week I had the best opportunity to rethink my house, with a week in a borrowed welsh cottage.
The house is about 100 metres from the sea, which you reach down a steep cliff path. It has a panoramic view to die for and an Aga. Once a year we borrow it and, for that week, I am the farmer's wife of my childhood dreams, using an Aga everyday, washing costumes and letting them dry on the rail and spending a week living somebody elses life. This year I took my inspiration books with me and finished another volume each morning as I woke early and drank a pot of tea before the rest of the family (this is something I never do at home.... but always on holiday. I think I see it as the only solitude I will get when we're away, and I need solitude)
We visited Criccieth, Porthmadog, Caernarfon and Beaumaris, we sat on the beach on cold days, paddled if the sun shone and ate pies from the bakery in the little town park before playing crazy golf. I shopped til I dropped... well, as much as you can in Wales. It is, and I mean it no disrespect here, not exactly a haven of fashion and modernity. I like that, actually. I love to know that I will be able to visit just one shop in Porthmadog, that there are no chain stores nearby, that the beaches have no amusement park or even a promenade but that there is.... well, a very nice speed of life. I slowed down. I didn't need to race, there was plenty to keep me busy at home, I had all I needed and mor within the Llyn penninsula. My children love the idea that it is a different country and that people talk a different language, so much so that the Princess, when asked "Where are you from?" only ever answered "England!"
And I had a chance to think. I looked at my house with the benefit of distance instead of the headless chicken run & rock mode I get into here. I know what I want to do with the kitchen, I know where the furniture should be and how the cupboards need to be arranged. I had an inspiration for my dining room which is, unfortunately, so expensive that it will never be done, but I can keep it on my wish list. I looked at the window treatments , the ornaments, the pictures and knew what I wanted to do with my house. I am waiting for September, when everyone else is back to school and work and I can get on without being interrupted (too much) and then...