Friday, 28 December 2018

never to late to celebrate

The Spirit of Christmas arrived late this year. Apparently no one had bothered to inform him The Dwelling had been moved to a different spot in the studio. From the east facing wall next to the door to the far western corner; not only had it been moved, it had in fact been taken apart completely: redesigned, rebuilt and refurbished. As if that wasn’t enough it had been taken down a second time as Saskia had decided she wanted to replace the panels on the studio wall behind The Dwelling, supposedly a quick, easy job. Until that is she discovered there wasn’t a full backing to the Dwelling itself, which of course had to be remedied immediately. And before she knew what was what, the OldBirdKing decided he would like more space for his private quarters, seeing as she had already gotten started on fixing the missing back walls and disrupted the Dwellers all over again! A larger room meant it could accommodate a wider bed, enabling him to lie on both sides as well as on his back. He preferred to sleep on his left side. This in turn meant tearing down several load-bearing walls, which all had to be built up and reinforced again, phew!
During the carfuffle the dwellers found themselves moving back and forth, from windowsill to worktop, from the table into containers, and out again, filling empty drawers, boxes, shoes and pots, ending up quite lost even though they know the Studio really well; as most of us who have moved at least once in our life know, moving is such a disconcerting, confusing business!
Their stuff was shuffled all over the Studio as well, meaning clothes got lost, dinner services were mislaid, pots and pans found their way down the side of a chair, shoes mismatched, socks disappeared,  feathers were ruffled, there was the odd argument, harsh words were spoken…...Fortunately most was retrieved and found it’s way back into The Dwelling, apologies were made and accepted in good grace, peace was restored. More or less everyone managed to lay claims to a bed to climb into at night. Those who hadn’t, crept into beds already taken and squeezed into leftover spots; nobody minded as Winter is a cold season and a little extra heat never goes amiss.
No wonder by the time they had all moved back in, no one knew what day, month or season it was, let alone had anyone remembered to think about organizing festivities relating to Christmas! And thus no one had sent the change of address anywhere to anyone.

Enter the belated Spirit of Christmas: his mode of transport is effective if tricky. In order to be able to move from location to location, he needs the exact coordinates in order to land safely and precisely in one piece where his presence is expected. It involves a kind of magic where the Spirit dissolves in one spot and then materializes somewhere else, much like in Startrek for those of us old enough to remember, ’ beam me up Scotty!’

So there he stands at the entrance together with a duck delivering fish and a wandering beggar monk…..with nobody waiting to welcome them in. It was not at all what the Spirit had expected (in fact he almost felt insulted as he was accustomed to a warmer welcome, however he kept his mouth firmly shut as becomes a proper Spirit of Christmas) and he turned to the monk hoping he would have answers. He could not help but notice the monk’s huge, golden belly and thought to himself ‘he looks rather fat and rich for a poor beggar’ but he refrained from commenting out loud, he was after all the Spirit of Christmas. The monk beamed a broad smile at him and invited him in saying ‘I’ve been here before old man, we can just walk in. I’m off to do a bit of chanting meditation with my mates, you’re welcome to join us if you feel like it, or else,  you can just wander about and see for yourself who’s doing what.’
With that, the monk opened the door on his left and entered the meditation space. The Spirit stood quite dumbfounded on the threshold of The Dwelling, staring wide-eyed after the monk. Chanting wasn’t his thing he thought, well at least not now, for he didn’t want to judge what he didn’t know….…To his right he heard the duck quack  ‘I’m off upstairs, quack, to the kitchens, quack quack, before the fish goes off, quackidiquack!’ he winked at the Spirit, who hurried after him, afraid he’d be left standing there with no one to help him find his way. Again he kept silent about his thoughts on the penetrating fishy smell, as he knew that would have been unkind.
On their journey upward, the Spirit noticed all manner of beings: large and furry, small and fluffy, four-pawed, two-feeters, hanging, flying, creeping, climbing, all manner of critters he had never seen the likes of before….he didn’t know quite what to make of it all and so he said nothing,  withholding  judgement as befits a Christmas Spirit. In the large kitchen the duck started to unload half of the fish with the help of Ratatouille, the sous-chef. Malle Mouse who happened to be in the kitchen as well, noticed the newcomer and asked him if he would like something to eat and maybe a drink? The Spirit realised he was indeed thirsty and gladly drank a large mug of strong tea with milk and honey. Feeling refreshed he left, quickly thanking Malle on his way out before she had a chance to ask him his name…. She asked the duck if he knew who the stranger was, but duckie hadn’t a clue and anyway he wasn’t interested in anything else apart from delivering the fish as fresh as possible. The Spirit continued to explore The Dwelling on his own.
Up in the play-room geese were playing ping-pong on top of the table and as soon as he walked in they invited him to join in their bouncy game; he hesitated as he was feeling rather stiff from his transporting, but they insisted and so he just went ahead, saying to himself ‘ just do it!’ After several games he was smiling, sweating and exhausted so he excused himself, thanking them for the sporting fun; as he hurriedly left he could hear them questioning among themselves ‘any idea who he was?‘
 Next he came to a merry-go-round for the smallest of beings which was slowing down and so he offered to give them a twirl seeing as he was big enough to handle it. ‘Again, again!’ they kept calling……and so there he was twirling and turning until his paws were all sore. ‘Now I must stop little fellows, but I will be back tomorrow,’ he promised them. With that promise he left the room and entered yet another space, a beautiful garden terrace with a SnowBear who invited him to come and sit with him so he could rest for a bit. It was a peaceful half hour, after which he thanked the SnowBear for his quiet company and continued his walk-about.
He  saw spiders weaving cobwebs in the kitchen for hanging tea towels on, snails running mail errands on the world-walls of the service department;  there was a shop within a shop, so even the tiniest of beings could afford to buy their food; he walked into a huge studio with all sorts of artworks, and beings up to all manner of tricks and acrobatics! 

He discovered there were many bedrooms, in one he spotted a gorilla jumping up and down on the bed as if it were a trampoline, all the while looking into the mirror, loopy or what?!

In another small space another drum-beating gorilla with twins dancing on his knees, tada! Twin dinosaurs peering out of their window, yoohoo….at the very end of a corridor a loo with a door, phew what a relief as he needed to pee!

There was a kindly otter in his hide-away box up at the top, half way down again yet another kitchen where he had a bite to eat. Downstairs he found the sewing room with the bright red sewing machine, where a friendly bear called Sally offered to mend his robe as she could see he had a tear, the Spirit was quite moved by such generosity and said ‘thank you’.

All in all it was rather overwhelming. Suddenly the Spirit of Christmas felt very tired and longed for a place to nap, where could he go?
By now the Spirit was completely lost but he didn't mind as he had been made to feel at home even though nobody seemed to know who he was. He wandered into a large room, a beautiful room, with stained-glass windows, a bookcase by the bed, a chest of drawers with all kinds of interesting objects on display and, much to his delight, he saw a bed fit for a king, on top of which lay a thick soft mattress, a comfy duvet, an inviting pillow……he barely had time to notice any of the lovely furnishings and staggered to the bed, lay himself down and as soon as his head touched the pillow, he fell asleep. He started to dream immediately: the whirlwind of recent images flitted before his closed eyes and he began to make sense of what he had seen: a wonderful community of very different beings all living together, he had witnessed the dwellers laughing and joking together, merrily going about their chores, of which there are many in such a bountiful household. Rooms full of beings so incredibly different it was hard to imagine they had anything in common, and yet, it all seemed to work. They made it work. The inhabitants were by no means blind to the world out there full of strife, war, loneliness and suffering. Many had experienced as much themselves. Perhaps even inflicted it upon others. They had all sought and found refuge here and come to recognize that every living moment is a precious gift. Rather than pointing out what is wrong about the other, they tried to look within themselves and uncover what lay beneath their opinions, and judgments. What he had seen was an attitude of gratitude, instilled in all the beings.
'What a strange dream,' the Spirit said to himself as he lay dozing, adrift in that  fuzzy state in between sleep and truly waking up. He  felt a smile curl his lips upward, and just as he was about to get up out of bed, he heard voices at the door 
'I wonder who's in there'.....'did you see anyone enter?'......'they say he is actually sleeping in OBK's bed!'.... there was a knock
‘Hello, hello may we come in?’ someone asked
'Are you decent?' another voice hastily added.
‘Yes, and yes of course you may enter,’ the Spirit said.

The door was opened and the Spirit of Christmas saw several beings enter the room, one was a large old bird who nodded his head towards him ‘welcome to the Dwelling oh Spirit of Christmas, I am the OldBirdKing, I do hope you slept well! I am so sorry there was nobody to give you a proper welcome at the entrance door upon your arrival.’

‘Oh my, yes thank you so much your Royal OldBirdKingness! Your apologies are completely unnecessary and superfluously oblique,' he was becoming quite flustered as he realized he had slept in the Royal Bed, what an unpardonable gaff. 'What a mighty interesting establishment you have here. I had heard tales, but never in my wildest dreams could I have foreseen what I have witnessed here today. I would like to offer you my deepest gratitude and I would like so very much to repay you in kind. Your wish is my command.’ The Spirit had spoken.
‘Thank you Spirit, I am very happy you have been made to feel welcome despite our initial faux pas. Actually,’ OBK continued, ‘there are two things I would like to ask for, The first is for myself. You see when I was made by Saskia she forgot to give me wings or feet; and up until now that worked out okay, but if you could I would rather like arms and hands so I can roll and smoke my own joints. If that’s at all possible dear Spirit?’
‘Why that is entirely within the realm of my capabilities and it would be my pleasure and an honour to serve you in this matter, your royal OldBirdKingness,’ the Spirit replied.

And so it came about that the OBK received a pair of arms and hands, much more useful than a pair of wings, as he wasn’t flying anywhere anymore these days. 

'Your second wish?' The Spirit inquired.
'A belated Christmas celebration feast for all the Dwellers, my dear Spirit, as we seem to have forgotten all about it this year.'

The Spirit of Christmas waved his magic wand and lo and behold: a large banqueting table full of the most delicious dishes and wines was spirited into the studio for all the beings, let the feasting commence!

almost everyone was there


the mobile monk was still ringing late comers up to come to the table....

OBK sat at one end of the table and saw all was well, he felt he could sneak off now and have a bit of quiet time to relax....

we'll leave him here in peace,
smoking his self-made joint

Sunday, 9 December 2018

catching up

 A dreary and at times stormy Saturday, where despite our love for autumnal weather the skies remain a dull grey, and at ground level drab browns and muddy puddles with absolutely nothing to entice us outdoors, we are drawn indoors and are able to turn our attention to the activities in the BirdhutAnd so, after an unusually long interlude, we will try to pick up the threads of the ongoing saga in The Dwelling, and reconnect with our small friends who are kind enough to share their lives with us. There are many familiar faces and we will spot a couple of new beings!

a small clay TrayBird, with feathers and metal feet

a bright red sewing machine in the room at the bottom right, where we store the delicate eco-print silk fabrics in the chest of drawers Rosie gave me when we visited her in Wirksworth UK this Summer;
the irony of this was not lost on me, as
I had recently gotten rid of my sewing machine as I more often than not argued with it! also, it ran too fast for my taste and was too darn heavy for sitting on my lap, nope we were more often than not in disagreement.
No doubt others here will have more patience than me with a red sewing machine*; the new Sewing Table used to be OBK's old bed which could not be squeezed into his new bedroom.

*generous gift from Jet

sort of partial overview

finally managed to fix the door hinges to OBK's new private quarters, never an easy job

a ghost figure found in youngest son's bedroom, we don't know yet who's hiding underneath, on the right a clay fertility figurine (I think), on the left a bird-hedgehog and 2 small hedgehog companions

a closer view of the Living room, OBK's wearing the new warm woolen blanket I knitted for him today whilst half watching Alias Grace on my laptop in the studio (have only recently discovered I can watch Netflix on the laptop, what a wonderful Winter this is going to be) I have moved the wall hanging to this room, to give it a warmer feel and also there's even more space in his bedroom than we thought, I will take photo's another day......

the Meditation Room, which isn't quite as quiet as one would expect in such a space, what with an elephant barging in blowing his trumpet, a monk chanting on his phone, the dog barking, the cow mooing and the horse whinnying, well I suppose if you can meditate here, you can meditate anywhere.....

The Studio (still not quite finished, like most of the other rooms, hmmmm) boasts a huge new open cupboard where Ms Smith can store her tins of paint, paper, brushes and all of the other artist's parafernalia; it attracts many of the beings who one way or another, want to practice their particular skills, like the hanging-from-one-hand-Orang Utan, the running-back-&-forth-along-the-shelf Hare, the climbing-to-safety Turkey Twins, not forgetting the walking-upside-down Monkey, it's a miracle Ms Smith gets any work done!

part of the newly refurbished Large kitchen with the beautiful Godin stove, another gift from Jet

OBK's kitchen full of beings delivering food, doing the washing-up, cooking, eating, cleaning up and making a mess of things, ha

here we have kind of the main entrance to The Dwelling where you are welcomed into the household by whomever happens to be nearest to the doors!
there is a lock and a key, which are rarely used as they have an open door policy; I strongly suspect it's because they cannot always be bothered to trudge all the way down from their beds if you would happen to ring the doorbell in the middle of the night, or if they're watching a live performance by one of their fellow beings and walking away would be rude, or they're glued to the telly watching a particularly exciting episode of Father Brown and don't want to miss a thing, but that's just my guess

Thursday, 4 October 2018

painting, gluing, wall papering, sewing, choosing, repeat

It all started with the corner kitchen cupboard, the quarter circle shaped one. I blame it on our eldest son. You see whenever he comes home, he starts unloading his stuff on the kitchen table, his laptop being the most important item, apart from his mobile, of course.

Anyway, the situation in our household is thus: we’re strapped for space (I know everybody says that, but we really are, house-floorspace amounts to appr. 85m²/915sqft, which obviously does not include the studio, or garden or garden shed etc, kind of small living avant la lettre) and in the kitchen the corner cupboard houses a socket, so when our eldest sits at aforementioned kitchen table, he needs juice for his laptop and the cupboard doors open, to a Black Hole. I had at an earlier time repainted the outside, a high gloss white, contrasting even more now with the interior look. I was so fed up with this dark corner sucking up all the light and looking so uninviting and gloomy……..So I bravely decide to paint the inside a pale chalk blue; I say decide as if I had chosen the colour, which I hadn’t beforehand. I can only choose when in the store with the actual pots of paint there before my very eyes…..and after a lot of deliberating, doubting, walking back and forth, I all of a sudden make up my mind and pick the colour! Of course once back home, I’m second guessing my choice, but having lost my receipt, ignore these feelings and carry on boldly: first removing everything from the cupboard, yikes, cleaning, painting everything a glossy white – only because I still had some -  as I am pretty sure the pale blue will not cover the blackness, finally, after two layers of blue life in the kitchen has improved, not least because all the plates, cups, bowls et al can go back in! The men in my household are very patient.
Now that I have the paints out and am in painting mode, I am also painting door frames and windowsills, kind of at random, but hey, lightening up the house…..lightening up my mood to boot.
The loo-door gets a different treatment: wall-paper-gluing newspaper articles of interest plus a couple of photo’s I like. All of this is leading up to where I am today: in the midst of redecorating and restyling The Dwelling!
Sweet Otter just carries on sleeping where ever!

Some of the stuff is neatly stored in these containers

a reminder of what OBK's room looked like.....

some (I'm not naming names) try to carry on as of nothing is happening and they don't offer to help

maybe I won't repaint every room, 

then again, I think I have

more and more, the beings drift all over the studio; things start to get messy, disorganized, unruly......duh, this is just a phase I say to self

aha, a hole in OBK's wall; Julie got me thinking about their need for privacy, so I am making a bedroom for him behind this wall! 

a small terrace, at last a small space has achieved some sort of peace 

the state of the studio this afternoon, me in near panic mode: will it ever get done? if so, when?

yes, a proper doorway has been made for OBK

a wall hanging for his bedroom, recognize this Jude?

here He is, lying on his new bed, allowing us a sneak preview