painting the 1940’s beds

Having left our children’s beds behind in England, I was very pleased to stumble on a pair of twin 1940’s beds for sale not far from the lake. They were in pieces, but they showed great character and possibility, and even bore a plate stating that they were English themselves, by appointment to the King. Well then!

before

Such a charming shape. I confess to desaturating this picture, you didn’t want to see orange wood either, I’m sure. In summer weather I chalk painted them.

painting the 1940s beds

I sanded them a bit.

painted headboards

I gave them a coat of beeswax polish, and buffed them a little.

painted headboards

The children slept through the summer on the box spring and mattresses, stacked in their room. They slept through the autumn on the box spring and mattresses, stacked in their room.

Then I had a moment to assemble the beds, and here I got a bit of a surprise. More about this surprise, and to see the finished pieces, here.

country dance

Not so long ago, when we first thought of leaving London for a tiny village in Sussex, a village fair (with Buster Keaton playing in the hall!) and a barn dance persuaded us that we’d found our community. Glorious fiddling, young and old dancing round a barn at the local farm, beautiful food on the tables from the land around. We met such fine friends there, and we miss them very much. So, here in the tiny community surrounding our new island home in the forested Highlands, with great joy, we went to our first country dance at the old schoolhouse.

country-dance-twirl

Some of us were so excited, we began before the accordion started, even as the potluck was being packed away.

country-dance-caller

Here is the caller, stepping in to dance with my small one to round out the pairs. Later she danced with our beloved village elder, now in his nineties, youngest and eldest.

country-dance-pairs

These are simple dances, and deceptively so. We were astonished at how flushed and tired we could get! Country-dance workout. We’ve been reading Austen all winter, and watching films of her books, so a dance like this echoes stories across history. “A ball? I long for a ball!”

the old schoolhouse

Out of the old schoolhouse, back into the world of snow and ice.

to the lake

A full year after leaving the old cottage in the English countryside for the Pacific coast of Canada, we have found home. On the island, on a lake, in a cottage. A moment at the lake, and we all knew it. A month at the lake, and it has all fallen quite astonishingly into place.

paintbox lake

I first stayed in this cottage on Teanook Lake half my lifetime ago. It keeps reappearing in the family, this place. My grandparents built a house around the corner a good forty years ago; some of my cousins grew up here.

mirror lake

The old fishing village is now a handful of cottages. There are no motors on the water to disturb, and if there are ripples on the water it is the wind, the ducks, a swimmer. The water nurtures each cottage, and everyone cares for the water. Great, vivid connection.

raining lake

Despite its position just a few miles from the city, and the odd sounds that carry over now and then, the lake feels like a faraway place.

lake mist

Like the rolling hills of Sussex that we’d gaze across, like the mountains and ocean in my childhood home in the cove, this landscape is in constant, exquisitely beautiful change.

lilylake.s.jpg

I find a new plant in the garden each day, we see another animal, another bird. The sheer variety in creatures and plantlife here is astonishing. Indigenous stories.

splashing lake

Yet if there’s one thing that I longed for in a home, it’s to be where we are living in the landscape, not just looking at it. Drinking it! Eating it! Diving into it.

childhood lake

There are great possibilities for us here, a million stories. Shall I tell you them? I look forward to it. We’re dreaming about so much. Keeping hens, keeping bees, growing and gathering food. Wild swimming, boating, fishing. Days and days of playing outside with friends. And setting up the old school studio to have workshops here!

storybook lake

It is so good to be home.

(Don’t miss a story from appleturnover on-the-lake. Sign up for the postcards.)

little miller

Now, if you’ve been following closely for a while, you might recall an antique grinder I acquired at a village shop near the cottage we once lived in. I have great affection for the mill, and for cooking with my family in that old kitchen, so I made a little something with some images I came across the other day.

Simple pleasures.

<

p>(If you’re fond of short appleturnover movies like the little miller, you might like to nose around the old schoolhouse. Along the lefthand side of the page, you’ll find it.)

barber’s chair

One of those best-kept local secrets emerged this winter. A brilliant hairdresser in my village, who not only is related to dear friends, but has been cutting my own mother’s hair for many years. I was completely oblivious, and worse, I’d been missing much more than fine haircuts. On a cold night I took one of my long-haired children to be beautifully shorn, and talked with Lutine about her exquisite collection of tried & trues.

salon chair

Lutine’s pair of vintage barber’s chairs are Belmonts, icons of 1950’s style. One craves a haircut (or a head massage) just looking at them. Dentists take note. They’re in gorgeous condition, built to last, and they have a fascinating object attached to them.

salon chair with dogs

Not the dog. Though every hairdresser and barber ought to have such a fine example.

salon chair with barber's strop

The barber’s strop. The long piece of leather hanging off the arm rest, there. A razor strop is used for honing a blade, particularly a straight razor, which requires alignment between uses. Very cinematic, stropping. In Treats from the Edwardian Country House I’m quite certain Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall receives a proper shave with straight razor, hot cloths, fine oils.

salon chair with sleeping dog

More glorious tried & true’s from Lutine’s Salon very soon. (Now, in fact.)