Saturday, 3 December 2011

Careful of that Wall!

The new chaux-chanvre (hemp straw lime render) walls on the staircase will take months to fully dry. They are no longer disconcertingly damp to the touch, but they are still soft enough to damage. This makes life a bit difficult when you need to install light fittings and stand on a ladder.

Stéphane decided that padding the top of the ladder would spread the load and prevent any gouging or denting of the render when he fitted the lights. He more or less got away with it.

The padding is an old pinafore of mine, made from a limited edition pure wool cloth woven in Geelong and given to me by my mother. It is one of many of my clothes from the 80s that have ended up in the ragbag because I am now a completely different size and shape. I can't help feeling sad when I see them because I put a lot of creative time and energy into those garments. For more than a decade from my mid-twenties onwards these clothes were a large part of my identity, a signature style unique to me. I sometimes wonder if I should have given in to sentiment and kept them as a sort of archive. Realistically though, they are not museum quality costumes and there is no one after me who will know anything about them or care. And yet... and yet... I am sad to treat them so disrespectfully. I feel they represent someone who no longer exists, but I'm not sure how important that is. Why should they not be put to use in this new life and be valued for that random little nostalgic frisson that comes with suddenly seeing them and remembering their story? Perhaps it is the memories and not the objects that matter in this case, as they are so personal to me.



  1. You obviously love it, so rescue it, cherish it and put it in a safe place where you can indulge in all the memories it brings when you look at it.
    That's what I would do, anyway. Sometimes you can't separate the object from the memories and to have it in your hand means such a lot.
    But then I'm just a sentimental old thing with a houseful of old stuff I can't bear to part with !!

  2. i am trying to figure out how to part with a house & attic full of things that won't fit when we move to our retirement house.....since my daughter's in paris it doesnt make sense (plus she's not esp interested) to spend $$$$ to ship furniture, etc overseas....i have family silver too, and no one seems to want to polish anymore, so I am gradually letting go of many serving pieces (via consignment).....I have boxes of the kids artwork from their early school days too, which i find hard to part with.....

  3. Susan,

    I can identify with your sentiments here as I also have bits that are overflowing with memories, so much so that I can't bear to part with them. Then, all of a sudden, I decide enough is enough and get rid - often to regret it later! I agree with Jean, if in doubt, hang on to these memories and leave the irrevocable decisions to another day.


    You could be me, but without the silver!! We aren't ready for the retirement home quite yet, but I figure that we have to start somewhere ...

  4. I got rid of about half my favourite clothes when we moved here, and I've changed size and shape so much, it looks like it was the wrong half! All or nothing may have been a better plan. "Ressicl" is the word of the day.

  5. Cleanouts are cathartic and liberating. We moved house a few times in a few years in Ballarat, Victoria and had some huge garage sales. Recouped quite a lot of cash but the best part was actually letting go of so much stuff we had accumulated. It was a relief. Unfortunately we have moved to 20 acres with an enormous shed. The next one will need an auctioneer! I still struggle with one of my shed rags though, It's one I never quite let get so dirty that I'll have to throw it away. It says 'Ja volim Dubrovnik' in a coca-cola script (I love Dubrovnik) and I have had it since 1987. It's my favourite rag.

  6. Andres I think you understand about these things. I don't want to lock them away in a trunk never to be looked at again. I like the randomness that their being in the ragbag gives to the nostalgic moment. My reservations are to do with the fact that I am the only person who recognises these rags. I know to honour them for what they were, but others don't and just see them as rags.

    When we moved from Australia to the UK I really enjoyed chucking stuff out. As you say, it was liberating. But these clothes were still in my wardrobe then, and came with me neatly packed. By the time we moved to France though, many of them had been consigned to the ragbag for several years. Now we have a project that uses lots of rags, I am seeing them emerge one after the other. I mourn the loss of the skill that went into them and I recognise that I would still be that person if I had remained in the place where they were made. Not a better person, but different. It's all cause for reflection.

  7. I was just catching up with Days on the Claise and couldn't help but say how much i liked this post. I'm a great advocate of the minimalist aesthetic (when i'm not having a baroque moment) but also have the most absurd and unbreakable tie to items of clothing from past lives. Maybe revel in the fact that the pinny is being useful all over again? Better that than forgotten in a box....

  8. Bonjour Tristesse :) Maybe your years of self imposed discipline have conditioned you to minimalism. I lean towards the more is more end of the scale myself. Give in to your inner baroque I say! :)) I can't quite come at revelling in my clothes' new role, I can quite enjoy the moments of unexpected nostalgia they provide. Certainly better than forgotten in a box.