“…I dreamt I went to Manderley again…”

October 10, 2010

Rather splendid day, yesterday, wasn’t it? That springy weather has banished Winter who is – according to this Minton(?) tile, Sullen and Sad.

This tile lies in the fireplace of an incredible mansion we went and snooped at yesterday before its auction. (The paper tells me it sold for over four million bucks. I trust that adequately describes its mansionness for you.) I’ve passed this place for years and always hoped the Catholic Church would overlook the fact that I’m an utter atheist and a mortal sinner and just hand me the keys one day because I’m an alright sort of a person who would plant a lovely garden on its huge block. Not to be, sadly.

It was built by someone famous then inhabited by nuns for decades. The conversions for nunneryness were amazing. The bathroom had been tiled with pistachio green lino but then sectioned off into cubicles with showers, baths and toilets. The toilets themselves had charming latches with a vertical barrel that flicked between VACANT and ENGAGED. (I would argue that the two states are not mutually exclusive, given a couple of diamond-dazzled afianced I have met, but perhaps this was not always the case.)

Chopping up and sectioning seemed to be the nuns’ ouevre. The grand room at the front of the house at the top – a veritable ballroom – had been sliced into three or four monastic little quarters.

The servants’ stairs were about a foot wide and outrageously steep and I couldn’t help but think of the feet that trod them every day, lighting fires, cleaning rooms, keeping the place running yet remaining virtually invisible. I’m so glad I got to poke around. It was tremendous fun. Reminds me of when my Ma and I would go and snoop at ramshackle houses for shits and giggles (and I still remember a place in Hawthorn with hundred-year-old wallpaper and external electrical wiring and servant bells). You have to do it when you can because as soon as someone buys the house, all the good stuff is torn out, and they’ll certainly never let you in again anyway.

Thereafter we went for lunch at the house of some long-lost friends who now have three children which perhaps explains in part the long-lostness. (I have friends with THREE children now. Did I mention THREE?) Feasting and chatting in the sun for three hours. Lovely. However shortly after arriving, their five-year-old pointed at my rather sturdy calf at the top of my boot and said, “Your leg gets really big there.” Kids. The darndest things, eh?



  1. I love that your tags include nuns and snooping.

    I love even more that yesterday, perhaps two yesterdays ago for you, was 10/10/10, a very binary infused day, full of geek-cred and hipster attitudes swirling with techy panache. The base-10 numeral for that particular binary string, which is something I have no idea how to calculate, turns out to be none other than 42, placing yesterday in the highest of high canons of Days Worth Remembering. It’s also a day that nerds chose to get married on, according to the Newer Yorkie Times.

    So glad to see you gallavanting about, you sinning atheist you. Yes, kids are wonders. Once these two learn to speak, I’m sure I’ll hear no end about how my face is all spotty with freckles.

    • The Curmudgeon, upon being told it was Meaning of Life Day, paused for a moment, ran some calculations in his head, and replied, “oh yes, I see. Today’s date in binary code is the same as 42.”

      I love that he can do that.

  2. The Curmudgeon can calculate binary code in his head. Of course. Why does it not surprise me that you’ve taken up with someone so scientifically minded.

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