My life is spinning so fast. We took the children back to university this week. Oxford on Wednesday was damp and foggy so not a day to linger and the remainder of the day was spent choosing a rug, collecting lighting and placing orders for kitchen appliances. We are moving ahead with the cottage and although there is the occasional setback I am feeling positive and happy.
I spent a lovely last day with my daughter on Thursday. I bought her a teapot and she baked and we went on a golden hour walk together at Polesden Lacey.
On Friday the sun shone all day. The three of us went to Margate and the seafront was bathed in sunshine. The new Turner Contemporary art gallery was looking its best – a crisp white angular building seen against the bluest sky.
The gallery was fun aand we spun around in Thomas Heatherwick’s spinning top chairs. There was a ghost band playing pared down musical instruments constructed from decommissioned firearms. This was our introduction to the current exhibition titled “Risk”, a thought-provoking and at times extremely uncomfortable exhibition. but it is good sometimes to step out of our comfort zones and experience something new and different.
Lunch in the gallery cafe was excellent and afterwards we ventured out into the town, a mixture of kiss me quick arcades and lots of vintage shops. It was very quiet but I imagine it heaving on a Bank Holiday weekend. My favourite building was the Sea Bathing Hospital which dates back to 1791.
We drove to Canterbury via Broadstairs and Ramsgate. The road is elevated above the marshland of the North Kent coast and wind power farms are prolific in the Thames estuary. We were heading due west and the setting sun was blinding. Soon we saw the familiar outline of Canterbury cathedral. We unloaded the car and said goodbye to our daughter. We arrived home in just over an hour and saw a beautiful sunset en route.
Yesterday we spent all day at the cottage. We collected a rug for the sitting room and more lighting for the bedrooms and a carpet man came with his sample books. We have decided to lay sisal in the dining hall over the old quarry tiles and lay new carpet upstairs. The bathroom carpet will be replaced with a sheet of of linoleum. We removed redundant curtain poles and bathroom fittings. In due course I will prime and paint the curtain poles and paint the dark brown bathroom fittings in Skimming Stone by Farrow & Ball.
We have decided to paint the walls Barley White by Dulux and use white eggshell on the woodwork to maximise light through the many small windows. My new favourite yellow, Custard by Little Greene, will feature on the inside of the kitchen cupboards. Once the kitchen has been overhauled by a carpenter I will clean and oil the wood. It is a really lovely kitchen and receives many compliments and I’m glad I am not the only person to see its potential.
I finished cleaning the windows inside and out except for two windows in the eaves room above the study which I forgot about. (For years I have had a recurring dream where I discover a forgotten room in my house.) There is a winding oak staircase leading to this room which is crying out for a colourful stair runner. This is the modern part of the cottage, added in 2000, and it needs bringing to life.
Today is a rest day. I have a backlog of laundry and cleaning to do, my desk is a mess and I need to clear some space so I can start altering curtains but today we will go on a favourite walk, high up on the chalk downs and away from the mud. Later I hope to sit down for an hour with my latest therapy, English paper piecing using one inch hexagons. This is very addictive in a good way and is an opportunity to use up the scraps from my two log cabin quilts. So far I have stitched about 150 hexagons together and have a piece of patchwork the size of a pillowcase – there is nothing like a slow burn project. Later we will roast a pheasant and no doubt fall asleep watching War and Peace and so ends another week.
This time next week if all goes to plan we should have heating and lighting in the cottage and a new oven and hob in the kitchen.
I never stopped loving you – neon text by Tracey Emin.