'truth is stranger than fiction' *
My childhood doll’s house, not my ideal way back when and I did not like the colours. The deeply felt emotions of an ungrateful child. But hey, my desire to play with the tiny furniture, my Barbie dolls (which were quite out of proportion, graceful giants in fact) won me over and I soon came to accept this weird house as mine. And my younger sister’s, as we each owned a half. I’m sure she was overruled in any decision making as I used to be a very bossy big sister. She was, and is sweet-natured, and willing to share her space, up to a point. For she is also quite determined and a force to be reckoned with.
Why did my parents keep this house for all of these years you might wonder. Well, my papa designed and built it. He chose the red and greens, painted it and I’m sure he was very proud of himself.
Whilst we were clearing out the last of the stuff, making last minute decisions on what to keep, throw away or gift, we could not let this house go……December 2021 everything we wanted to keep went into storage. To remain there for more than a year, tucked away in the dark.
Fast forward to January 2023: our house extension finally complete, the time had come for all the paintings sofas chairs tables books et cetera to come out into the light once again! 17th January 8 o’clock sharp the moving van arrived all the way from Eijsden in Rotterdam, at my brother’s doorstep. The movers emptied the storage boxes containing the stuff he and my sister want. She lives in Amsterdam, but that is another story. Then, 'round 10, they were here! The new room is now home. For the first couple of weeks I hardly entered the studio, I love being in our new space surrounded by familiar furniture, which looks quite different in the new setting. But that is not what this post is about. My siblings were dying to visit and the evening before they arrived my brother sent us a photo of our old doll’s house, with a huge dent on the top floor. A stack of pallets had crashed domino-style into the house! He sent us a photo with a question: ‘He didn’t want to keep it, did we?’ I said ‘Yes’ and then thought ‘Why?’
My sister, I hasten to add, is not interested.
Sunday afternoon brother H. and sister M. with her husband E. arrived. Hugs and lots of talk, oohs and aahs of recognition as they saw the new room full of old familiar stuff, a big wow btw because the room is really quite beautiful, then we had lunch, listened to the Beatles, talked and tried to catch up on everything, all in all lots of fun and reminiscing, then they left and as I walked back to the house I locked the studio door, barely noticing the damaged house we had placed there.
The next morning I suddenly felt 'yes I do want to keep it'. The Beings in the Dwelling had already fallen in love with it, so it didn't really matter what I wanted. ‘Oh you Saskia and your old fashioned taste, this has a proper vintage ‘60ies vibe to it, we love love love it. When can we move in?’
Okay, so it turns out we are going to keep it. However now that it's here I get a say when it comes to the refurbishment: I get to choose the colours and I’ll have to fix the top floor, as I see fit, before any of the Beings can move in. So it went.
Countless thoughts swirl in my head as I work with my hands: the round floors echo, to my mind at least, Dante’s Circles from the Divine Comedy, I read it in my twenties. I’ll leave the wheely legs red then: hell fire heat; indigo for ground floor: purgatory; moving from dark to lighter colours, upwards through the green, representing fields, journeying; finally at the top: the centre pole light blue and white and gold, like a Buddhist stupa. Enlightenment. Something I have been searching for one way or another all my life, as if there is an answer, I know there isn’t, nothing’s permanent...
Tada, the new room:
On my mind most of the time: the woods affair, it has been tormenting me no end, sleepless nights and worrying what might happen, informing folks what the Campsite wants, what our local authority seems to want, nobody in my neighbourhood knew anything was about to change, thankfully a lot more people now know but it's a challenge to get organised, arghhh there are literally countless other things I'ld rather be doing than fighting this fight, but hey if I don't act now I'll forever regret I did not try.
I have to step back from time to time and do things to energize me and bring me joy, this afternoon I'm off with my Kleiduiven friends to visit Beeldengalerij Het Depot in Wageningen, an outdoor sculpture garden!
* attributed to Lord Byron in Don Juan, “Tis strange,-but true; for truth is always strange; Stranger than fiction: if it could be told, How much would novels gain by the exchange! How differently the world would men behold!”
not that I have read it (who knows maybe one day I will), it was quoted to me the other day, and mistakenly attributed to Mick Jagger as I discovered once I had googled it, because it intrigued me.
I find it to be spot on when it comes to life these days....