Okay, so there’s clearly a problem when the damp in your bathroom wall starts blistering and crumbling the plaster and paint right off. You call in people to find the source of the trouble, and then pay them to fix it.
Our old standbys, Andre and Coralee-Ann, came to the rescue. The shower floor had a crack in it plus the sealer round the edges had worn off – basically, every time I showered, I was causing more water to be sucked up into the wall. The solution was to rebuild the shower floor, and scrape down, replaster, re-tile and repaint the walls.
The work was finished yesterday, but not before I had woken up the night before to use the bathroom, didn’t bother to switch the light on, staggered around in the dark on my way back to bed trying to avoid the linen basket and the towel box and other things that had been temporarily moved, misjudged where the bed ended and so threw myself like a sack of butternuts into the narrow space between the bed and the displaced bathroom stuff. I cracked both knees, one arm and my head in the fall. It was a very rude shock to my system, especially at 2.30am. When I realised I hadn’t actually broken anything, I heaved myself up and into the bed proper. I lay there cosily thinking how lucky I was to have gotten away with just some bruises and that now would be a good time to embrace sleep again, when one of the cats lurched in and proceeded to vomit copiously all over the carpet. A metre away from me. Twice.
I guess not every night is bound to be peaceful and restorative…
Over eight years ago (or 96 moons…or 416 weekends…or 2816 days..!!!) I was struck with the brilliance of the idea of mosaicing a large part of my bathroom wall. I got someone in to carefully remove the old tiles, and then I got to work. I was passionate about it – for at least two months. I tested different kinds of tile adhesive, found new tile retailers, gleaned inspiration from books, ruined my hands with the tile nippers and bits of broken glass… Then I got over it. Then years passed. Then I sold my flat.
This is the state of the mosaic when the (now) new owner put in his offer to purchase. I had expected that he wouldn’t have the slightest interest in it, and would probably even renovate the bathroom entirely (it’s a bit dated, and new owners like to do that kind of thing).
I was wrong. Philip loved the mosaic and, in a most complimentary and encouraging fashion, even included a clause in the Deed of Sale whereby I would complete “the work” before the occupation date. To which I had to agree if I wanted the sale.
Shit. You know me and deadlines. But sometimes even I surprise myself! Philip moves in on Monday (it’s Saturday here now), and here is the progress I’ve made:
About 2.5% of the total remains to be tiled, and then tomorrow morning I’ll get busy with the grout. It’s going to be lovely, and of course intensely ironic – only my daughter appreciated the fact that I have managed to complete a big project after a very long time, for someone else’s bathtime enjoyment….
For the first time in a long time I’ve got back into glue and grout…been making one huge marvellous mess in the kitchen, smashing up cracked mugs and plates, wielding my ceramic nutcrackers, etc, hoping to create two beautiful stepping stones for a commission.
Already nearly dry. At this rate I should be able to make Finished Object Friday!?
There are those of us who don’t throw ourselves into the pre-Christmas madness of frenzied shopping and partying, and yet December is always a busy time. I’m not trying to be a wet blanket, and I’ve loved seeing everybody’s xmas crafts (and no vendor loves a Christmas market more than me!), but there was something about emigrating to South Africa when I was 8 and having to swop snow and the Blackpool illuminations for a sun-burningly hot holiday where a braai was more appropriate than a traditional xmas dinner, that kind of ruined it all for me. It has also always been a time of extreme family tension so, while I enjoy watching everybody else’s fun and find myself singing along to Boney M in Pick ‘n Pay, I remain detached and only really perk up around the 28th. Father Christmas used to make a quick visit when Alex was small, and we even used to put up a tree (never a family tradition on my ex-husband’s side, being a Goldberg!) but by about 14 or 15 she grew out of it herself.
Right, now that I’ve got that off my chest, December has been busy for Jam Tarts because of all the December markets. We have another one lined up tomorrow, the Rondebosch Night Market from 3.30 to 8.30, and two more on the weekend. In between I’ve been making new stock and meeting orders. (Excuse lousy pics).
Right, another scorchingly hot day coming up – in fact, it was already too hot for comfort by 06h00, so I’m really going to suffer today.
Alex and I took some time out yesterday and spent it in Stellenbosch, a university town in the winelands about 25 mins from Cape Town (university…get it?! nudge nudge….)
We stopped for coffee, strolled up and down the streets, window shopped, visited Verbatim, the bookshop that a friend of mine started with her partner a few years ago, bought Howard Jacobson’s latest novel, had a picnic down by the river (grilled haddock and baby tomatoes and salticrax and grapes), got a bit lost, got caught up in school traffic by mistake in the afternoon, enjoyed the views, the art galleries, the library, the people. A very relaxed pace of life out there, for the consumer at least!
We had recently heard that Stellenbosch was going to be South Africa’s first entirely ‘free wifi’ town, so Alex had her ipad permanently clutched in her paws to test this out. I stopped to look at some crochet crafts in a window, and just then two reporters from the Sunday Times popped up with cameras and notebooks to interview Alex for the story they were doing on the subject. (Note to self: buy 10 copies on Sunday….daughter = famous!!!)
It was a hot sunny day (29 deg), and by the time we got home mid-afternoon, along the businest N1 I’ve ever known, I was ready for a little nap.
Jam Tarts was at Rondebosch Market yesterday. It was evident that people are starting to buy presents for Christmas and others have an end-of-year overseas trip planned, so they can buy items that are winter-friendly.
A friend of Rob’s passed on a couple of body hangers which are wonderful for displaying shawls. Only thing is (and a couple of people commented on this as well), I think they’ll look better with knickers. What do you think?
And a happy ending for the first mirror I made with broken crockery: