"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Moving..to the Ugly Bungalow.

We have just moved into the new house. House sounds too grand because in reality it is a small bungalow and a pretty ugly one at that. But we did need a home. This is our 10th move in 8 years, 8 years of rentals in 3 different countries.. so we really did need home, even if it's just for a year or two. We were sad to leave the tiny humming cottage which was full of mason bees but who knows what I will find here.

I had driven past this “for sale” bungalow many times thinking how ugly it was, but eventually, in desperation to find something in our price range I came to see it. It’s the best I can do and I will try to learn to love it, but “silk purse/sow’s ear” keeps creeping into my mind.

I remember someone writing to me in my early blogging days thinking I lived in a picturesque cottage in the country with a glorious garden and having to tell them we lived in a city in a tiny, hot, 2nd floor concrete box of an apartment with paper thin walls and nightmare neighbours. I often wondered if they were disappointed, if that somehow I was less of a real artist because my location did not quite fit the romantic ideal.
I found a book once in a shop. It was called “Artists Studios”. Photographs of impossibly dreamy rooms in impossibly dreamy settings. I picked it up and looked through it, wondering where I had gone wrong? I returned to the hot box and drew the beautiful leaf of an exotic plant whose origins lay in distant lands and whose story of discovery was incredible and the hot box became a irrelevant.

The one thing that stuffy apartment had going for it was that it was within cycling distance of my much loved Leu Gardens and the Ugly Bungalow is 5 minutes walk from the shimmering water of the reservoir, so despite its dreary looks I count myself extremely lucky. I will breathe some life and soul into its plain walls, fill its empty garden with bee flowers and line its rooms with books. And surely, if my observations of life have taught me anything, it is that external appearances should not matter….. (but a pretty cottage would still be quite nice.. maybe next time :)….)

So here we are. The internet is up, we have a bed and two kitchen chairs. It’s a start. And the poor Ugly Bungalow does have a garden and I am ridiculously excited about its possibilities. It too is a blank canvas, mostly grass, with heavy clay soil and a few shrubs. I know there is a little apple tree and, joy of joys, a dilapidated shed! Today I took my father's heavy spade and dug my first flower bed.. a mere 2ft x4.. I had forgotten how hard it is to dig! ..but slowly slowly I will get there.. there are plans for a pond, and some veg... and many other things. and a few drawings in between ... :)

A Start…… a tiny 4” square sketch, my spade and boots and the fledgling flower bed..

first flower bed

12 comments:

urbanextension said...

Welcome to your new home! A place to put down some roots (literally for your plants) and enjoy the fact that you don't have to move again for a while and it's yours! Just imagine how exciting it's going to be discovering what bees and wasps live in your new garden (and are already tucked away in nests waiting to buzz-forth in the spring!) and the excitement of planting new plants and watching new bees arrive - heaven! xx

Dani said...

Congrats - wishing you much happiness in your new home :)

Julia said...

Aah! New gardens are just so exciting. Good luck, look forward to hearing what you create :)

Jennifer Tetlow said...

Now I feel for the bungalow and perhaps you have spoken cruelly! I hope it forgives you and lets you continue to create.

Anonymous said...

OK AFTER ALL SAID ABOVE, WHERE'S THE PICTURE SO WE CAN TELL YOU IF IT'S UGLY. I BET IF YOU KISS IT, IT'LL TURN INTO A CASTLE.

GRANNY FROM FLORIDA

Elephant's Eye said...

Oh yes - I remember I first fell in love with your blog from that There will be apples post. We have come full circle together.

(Just stomped out to bellow at our neighbour's three yapping dogs GRRRR!)

Katie Hertfelder said...

Maybe once you get your garden going you won't notice the house as much, and you could always cover it in vines. Have fun with your new place!

Mark and Brenda said...

Please forward pics stop cool aire arrived stop much love and kisses stop us stop

Anonymous said...

Welcome Home! I can imagine all that you will attract to the garden, one by one.
A friend recorded the wildlife she saw on her property the first year and kept a record of the following years. She often presented talks on how she added to the environment to attract more wildlife each year and used her record as inspiration.

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

I can sympathise with your, 'hot box' experience as I also had to endure 10 years in one. Happily I can now luxuriate in a garden all of my own. Enjoy the planning and at least you will find the digging rewarding.

sharp green pencil said...

You are all so very kind! I will enjoy the digging immensely and I fully intend to try to make the most of the clay patch. Although attempting pots rather than plants might be more sensible!
Re the bungalow, I think to call it ugly actually does it a favour as it implies at least some character. It has none. It is a faceless 1980's rectangle...but..it has a south facing garden and a conservatory and once I am in it I can't see the outside..can I!

Katie: a fast growing creeper is top of my list!! :)

Jennifer and Granny: I take heed of your words and am going to paint the kitchen green as soon as possible. That will no doubt make me and the bungalow feel better and more in harmony.Photos.. Hmmm maybe befores and afters in a little while!

EE, Yes there actually will be an apple or two here if I am lucky and hopefully the mason bees from the cottage will come to visit.Its been lovely to have you along with me this last year!

Jane, Dani,Julia M & B,Anon and SS.. Thank you! Thank you. Buoyed up by your kind words and good wishes I cannot fail but make something out of this pigs ear! I will be reporting back on progess and a hopeful growing affection for UB6 and its inhabitants.

greenman said...

I think someone said 'Home is where the heart is...'. So you see, ugly is just a word. I bet it's full of character.

All the best in the new Bungalow and garden.
Plant it and when the flowers bloom, the bees will follow you!!