house of happy

Life adventures in prose and verse. Explorations of places, people and words. Stories and fun.

Thursday, 9 October 2014


This is a blog from November 2011. It was unexpectedly 'taken down' by blogger after a 'copyright infringement notice' - a what? I tried, without success, to check out the complaint. It's true, I had referred to a book (a favourite, much-loved and I don't dare to say the name again) - title marked, author mentioned. Was that it? Edited out of today's version. Or was it a passing reference to a TV ad? Everyone knows it - can I not quote from it? Maybe not. I am in mild shock.

There are people out there who OWN words.

What a thought.

The blog was about this little house, where we lived for a year. It said:

The summer came and went and not a line, not a quip, not a rhyme. Not a blog. No spam have I added to other people's lives, no digital DNA of mine leaked into the worldwide web. ‘Fine’, you may say, ‘so what do you want now’? Or ‘So’, you may say, ‘what’s new’?

What’s new is that we moved house - from a rambling urban bungalow to the tiniest stone-and-straw house you can imagine, on our land. The previous owner used it to make aguardente and occasionally house a pig. It consisted of two solid walls, a rotting roof, a home-made still, a pen for the pig.

Following three years of toil and trouble, we moved into It. In return, It changed Us. This is how, starting with the easy stuff:

We had to pack a mountain of Stuff, and choose the two percent of it that a) could fit into the dolls' house and b) we would need. Each day we come up with a new thing (or ten) that we absolutely MUST have. It's packed away somewhere and by the end of the day we will have forgotten all about it.

We sleep in a dorm in the mezzanine of our little house. Two wooden platforms, four snorers. I know what everyone mumbles in their sleep. I hear when they burrow deeper in their nests, when they turn, scratch a mosquito bite, fluff the pillow, shuffle down for a pee. I can probably count their REMs. One day, I may hear their dreams.

It's a good goal (although wait: the concept of knowing what goes through Moona's head, even unconsciously, remains somewhat scary..)

We live in close proximity to Insects (Marie darling, don't read this paragraph!) They like our house too, because the walls and plaster are made with earth, straw, sand, nothing toxic, chemical, unpronounceable, unpalatable, lethal. This comes hand in hand with the morning I opened my eyes to find Moona leaning above me to cover them again, with the rather pointless whisper: Don't Look! Of course, I immediately wanted 1) to look and 2) to leap out of bed and get as far as possible, as fast as possible. I think he actually wanted me to see because he took his hand away and there, on the wall, almost touching the tip of my nose, was the biggest spider I'd met outside a Zoo. I'll spare you (and Marie who I'll bet is reading on despite my warning) the rest (but I didn't scream, I didn't run, and no insect was harmed in the scene that followed). The millipede was much worse in my view (it escaped from our humane trap - an overturned glass - there was screaming).

There's no food on the premises, although the ants would love it, we've got ample reason to believe. We cook, eat, litter and recycle somewhere else. There is however a little kitchen, possibly for winter cuisine.

We also shower and go to the loo elsewhere, an outdoor elsewhere may I add. It's OK except when it's cold, dark, raining, four a.m. and you've simply got to go.

I keep chatting about the practical and the visible coordinates of our current life – I realise. The other side is harder to express, too generous, still unfathomable. Sunsets? Harvests? The whispering run of the river? Little gifts of strawberries and passion fruit? Hedgehogs rustling around on their nightly business? Small child (still asleep) climbing into your bed before dawn to tell you what 'Gua did at school yesterday'?

P.S. oh and also: our bed platform is three metres from the tiled floor and no railing (well, it's got a few short and flimsy sticks posturing as 'a fence') - hence quite possibly rule number one of our current existence is Absolutely No Rolling. With the loving-wifely addendum: You Take That Side, Dear.


At 16 October 2011 at 08:20 , Anonymous Alina said...

I've been missing your blogs and it was only now that I realized how long it's been since you last wrote one. No wonder, with so much going on. I remember the alambic and the garden, the passion fruit and the tomatoes, the strawberries and the pumpkins, the stars while going for a shower. It was wonderful for me. I also remember the ants. Would an ultrasound device keep them away, I wonder?

At 24 October 2011 at 19:20 , Blogger emwolfem said...

Winter will keep ants away, I'm starting to realise. It's raining now, cozy inside, horrid out there... cabin fever, here we come!


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