Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hang out the flags

Three years ago I made these bunting flags as we prepared a bedroom for our first, gender then unknown, baby. Grandmothers-to-be chipped in with other handmade goodies, including these beautiful beach hut curtains (my mother's creation). P duly arrived and it became his very own seaside-themed bedroom.
However, when he was less than a year old the world in general, then our world in particular, was rocked by the financial meltdown. C's place of work closed down and everything, flags included, was packed into boxes as we moved out of our first little family home to go to where he could find work.
We count our blessings that we were much more fortunate than many, even in those challenging times. C found a new job just in time for the redundancy money to stretch. We had to move a few times, but this included a summer at the farm with my wonderful in-laws, which was a joy and an education as well as a financial necessity. It also included a period of renting a house which turned out to be at the other end of the street from the family we now count as firm new friends. In terms of the area, it's only a little further North and West of where we wanted to end up eventually and of course we have the splendour of the Lake District on our (affordable) doorstep. Last but by no means whatever least, M has arrived into our lives!
All that said and done, however, it hasn't been an easy or settled couple of years and the fact that, not through our choice, this is the fourth bedroom P has had in his 2 and a half years of life illustrates the point. The fact that it appears that we have navigated the choppy waters for now gives a particular joy to the sight you see above.
When we came to visit this house last year, the back bedroom needed a particular amount of imagination to see its potential. Heavy dark fitted wardrobes were on three walls, taking up a good third of the floor space. Thick paint was slapped onto grotty textured wallpaper and the carpet was thin and grubby. About a month back, after C had destroyed and removed the wardrobes, revealing more hideous wallpaper and large holes in the carpet, my mum came to stay and taught me how to hang lining paper. From then to now, all available evening and weekend hours have seen me (mostly me, with C on babysitting detail) attack the room from top to bottom. Skirting boards and windowsills sanded and painted, wallpaper stripped, lining paper hung and painted, torn and stained ceiling paper removed and ceiling painted (this last yukky job to the accounts on the radio of earthquake in New Zealand and revolution in the Middle East, I'll never look up without thinking about the madness of Colonel Gadafi!). Finally, yesterday was carpet day and last night P's first in his new room (M will join him when she's a bit older).
While there was a certain satisfaction in tearing off nasty old paper and seeing smooth new paint going on, the best bit was undoubtedly dressing the room. The chest of drawers was a spare one from a roomful at the farm, polished up, drawers lined and repaired where necessary (a story for another day) and lugged up the stairs by C and I. The photograph is one my older sister took and gave to me years ago and the print is of my favourite Ben Nicholson painting at Tate St Ives. The lampshade was from our local B&Q and the curtains, as I mentioned before, were my mum's creation. Then last, but not least, there are the flags. Dug out of the box, ironed (an amazing fact for anyone who knows me well!) and hung up in celebration- of a lovely new room for our lovely children, of a house that's becoming more and more of a home for us and of a life that's hopefully going to mean staying put for a while.

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