LOVE THE MESS YOU’RE IN

Woooohooo. We’re home.

What do I love about coming home? Quite a lot, actually.

In no particular order (besides No. 1, which is totally top of the pile.)

1. My Own Bed.

2. Knowing where to find the sticky tape, the scissors, the corkscrew.

3. Familiar sounds – the train, the boats that go out in the middle of the night, the awful starlings (I’m not supposed to like these pernicious birds, but I can’t help it.)

4. Real coffee from the bakery next door.

5. Bumping into friends in the street. Conversations in the street.

6. Spare chargers. In a place where I can find them.

7. Not having to check out by 10am.

8. Bookshelves that I understand.

9. Flowerbeds to water.

10. Rooms to tidy.

Did I just say that, point 10?  Yes, I did. I pinch myself as we speak. I think it’s not a bad thing to have tidying to do. I don’t mean this to sound sanctimonious, but there’s a perspective on housework that helps me feel okay about picking up, cleaning and sorting out the inevitable accumulation of day to day crap at home. I feel grateful that I have crap to deal with. If I didn’t have a house, and if there were no people living here, and no lovely things to use, read, eat off, sleep under and look at, there would be no mess to consider, pick up, sort out, wash, fold, iron or polish. Domestic entropy would not be on my radar. And that set of circumstances would be sad. This perspective is my way of avoiding feeling mad, sad, bad or had.

Installation of houses in stitches - Gina's Studio - 38 Palmer Rd, Muizenberg

I’m in awe of these messy houses done in very neat stitches by Gina, Muizenberg’s famous artist and needle-woman in residence at Gina’s Studio in Palmer Street. Amongst other eye-boggling things, Gina made the fascinating installation above from cloth, braille books, antique lace, broderie anglais and cotton. As part of her Master in Fine Art, her thesis “A Journey In Stitches” describes a journey of personal discovery, told in stitches and cloth. Gina’s Studio is no ordinary craft shop. You’ve got to go in. Poke around. Ask if you can stick your nose in the back. I think you’ll be astonished.

I also love these shoes. They remind me of the popcorn kernels, watermelon pips and remnants of breakfast on my own kitchen floor this morning. Hooboy, time to whip out the Hoover.

'Walking on eggshells' - by Gina

About Point 5. I bumped into Elle Decoration Editor, Laureen Rossouw, on the shopping strip in our neighbourhood this morning. Laureen had been out tat hunting at one of Kalk Bay’s trash institutions and had managed to acquire a whole boxful of booty, in a wink. Laureen says she invariably finds lots to love at her favourite junk dealer on the strip. Which reminds me that I need to tell you about a magnificently mothbally shop called Weavers, on the Main Road in Fish Hoek where I frequently die and go to tat heaven. Last time I looked, they had not just one but four (4) candlewicking bedspreads in the colours of sherbet. Please, somebody, handcuff me and cut up my cards while I swoon and sallivate. I l.o.o.o.v.e. a good piece of candlewicking, especially if it has no holes, no yellowing, no stains.

Laureen collects black and white plates and things rose related, in spite of the kitchen in her beachhouse being impractically small to cope with more of the same. But we find things that we love, and we see the joy in them. We make nice, because that’s what we do, because we must, because crap is also only crap if your eyes and your heart aren’t talking.

Found recently at Weavers – a wooden ironing board that doubles as a pot stand at my front door.  

Handmade wooden ironing board - circa 1940. From Weavers in Fish Hoek.

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