Bedroom: If it were a shoe…

img_1635If it were a shoe, it’d be a Manolo Blahnik. But it’s not. It’s a writing desk that is doing a wonderful job as a bedside table. Ok, so I have to reach a little, but it works. Such extravagance. I know. I know. But when squeezing your size sevens (nines to my American friends) into an MB is nigh on impossible, and the classic Hepburn cast-offs wouldn’t even cover a shoulder, then a girl has to get her glam somehow.

It’s very decorative. It’s very chintzy. It’s embellished to within an inch of its life. It practically shimmers in the sunlight. There’s a tiny piece of new wood inserted in the front right leg, but I can forgive that slight imperfection. It’s a little like the filling I got last week when I noticed a rather sizable chip in my front tooth – I know it’s there but you’d be hard pushed to see it. In a month’s time, I won’t even notice that little, tiny piece of new wood. I won’t. I won’t.

And yes, I know from the comments you’ve made that some of you still aren’t sold on the glitzy floor lamp so I can only guess what you’ll think of this. But please, just for a minute, suspend your distaste and look at them both together. Aren’t they a match made in heaven? And for those of you thinking ‘boudoir above the saloon’ , get thee out of Dawson City!

img_16342The devil is in the detail and if you look closely, you’ll see a couple of Ajka crystal votives in a classic amber doubling as bookends. If I had all the money in the world, I’d have an Ajka chandelier hanging from every ceiling. Right now, I have to content myself with champagne flutes and candle holders (both thanks to the gracious MC who has exquisite taste). Unfortunately, it looks as if Ajka is in trouble… is nothing sacred?

Living room: The elusive könyvszekrény

img_1633While the rest of you have been getting on with your lives,  I’ve been searching in vain for a suitable bookcase (könyvszekrény) to house the books that MN shipped to me from Ireland. And after some months of brief dalliances and short-lived affairs, I was about to give up hope of ever finding one that would simply jump out at me and scream ‘take me home’. Not that I wanted a screaming könyvszekrény… a loud whisper would have done the trick just as well.

That’s not to say I didn’t meet some wonderful specimens in my travels. I did. There was the lovely tall, reddish, shiney beidermeir wannabe who had style, admittedly. And it had height – always a plus in my book. But it was just that little bit too polished for my liking. It was trying that little bit too hard to be just what I wanted. There is something very off-putting about too much class. It can make you feel a tad inferior (if, of course, you’re one of those poor unfortunates who suffer from brief moments of self-doubt).

Then there was the matching pair of rustics… old wardrobes cut down to make bookshelves. Workable, reliable, and easy on the eye but they lacked excitement. They had no get up and go. Not that you’d want a bookcase that got up and went but still, they didn’t do it for me either. They were the right price, the right height, the right width, the right colour; on paper they were perfect but there was no chemistry.  We would have bored of each other quite quickly. Long winter evenings with nothing to talk about, nothing to say.

I thought I’d cracked it last week when I came across one fronted by the trademark black wooden pillars of an earlier beidermeir period. Tall, thin, classic looking, a tad more expensive than I’d bargained for, it had an air of mystery about it. Something that begged you to ask it more. It had an allure, an intelligence. It stood awash in a quiet certitude of  experience and dignity, turning its dark corner of the basement into a little oasis of light and calm. It nearly had me. I’m a sucker for good breeding. I’ve noticed though that I can convince myself of just about anything. I’m my own best listener. I can spin myself a tale and make myself believe whatever I want to believe about whomever or whatever. And that can be dangerous. So although that particular piece ticked all the right boxes, there was something a little too convenient about it… and that little something fed into what I felt was a growing, if quiet sense of desperation. I was in need of a könyvszekrény.

And then, totally by accident, completely unexpectedly, on my way to the register to put my name on the classic, black-pillared specimen, having resigned myself to something I swore I’d never do (i.e., settle for less than I deserved), JFW pointed out another. And it was love at first sight. It wasn’t that youthful heart-racing, sweaty-palmed, knock-kneed sort of lust, but a more mature, dignified acceptance of fate. We were meant to be. It had legs. It stood high, tall, and proud. Its mismatched glass doors radiated character – one side bevelled, the other plain – ying and yang. It was just the right shade of confident and had that well-travelled look about it. This baby would tell some tales. It had class – the right sort of class. It looked good, spoke volumes, and could definitely hold its own with the Art Deco table, the china cabinet, and the chobi rug. This was a keeper.

It moved in on Saturday and we’ve been getting to know each other slowly. I like to think it’s as happy as I am with the living arrangements. And so what if the bottom drawer doesn’t close because the lock is locked in the open position and the key is missing – its imperfections make it even more charming. And, I don’t think I’ll be changing the glass anytime soon either. Different is good. Conventional is boring. And that little edge of never quite knowing how it will reflect my image of myself as I pass by makes life interesting.

Living in the ghetto

img_15871It’s only now the penny has dropped. When I first started talking about moving to Budapest, one recurrent theme in the advice offered by soon-to-be-friends and those more experienced in the BP property trade, was ‘don’t buy in the 8th district’. Lord knows I heard it often enough for it to sink in. And I was sure it had.

Last week, the lovely MI invited me to dinner and asked me where I’d like to go. I wanted to stay local – I am conscious that most of my socialising is done over in the 6th and if I’m to lend any credence to my localism advocacy, I need to start patronising some back-street hostelries closer to home. We set off from the flat and instead of following my usual route up Ulloi út  to the Korut, we turned right into what seemed to be one massive construction site. img_1625

While picking our way through bricks and mortar, breathing in the heady fumes of fresh concrete, I was struck by the incongruity of it all. It reminded me so much of when they first started ‘rebuilding’ inner city Dublin. Lots and lots and lots of new buildings going up, with lots of old ones having been demolished.

The restaurant, on Náp utca, doesn’t believe in advertising itself. On my own, I’d have walked past it. Inside it was dressed to kill. Yet we were the only diners. Friday night. Just us. In the ghetto. The 8th district.

We had drinks in the courtyard (udvár) and it felt slightly peculiar to be sipping on a rather nice Villanyi Rosé while the neighbours in the flats above the restaurant sat on their balconies, enjoying a cigarette and an after-work cocktail, while looking down on us from on high.

While walking through the same area the next afternoon, what got me most was the juxtapositioning of old and new and I wondered, for the fifty-millionth time, where the planners were!!!!!! When I was searching for my flat, HM knew not to even show one if I could look out any window and see a new build. Even though I lean more towards tradition than modernity,  I like modern architecture. I can appreciate good design. I don’t think we need to replace like with like in a vain attempt to make time stand still. I do img_1616believe, though, that there’s a very fine line between tat and taste. And when it comes to designing a new building that will sit admist those long established, just a tiny bit of thought would make all the difference.  

I am sure that of the new builds in BP have been pilfered from the Costa dels – monstrosities in shape and form, painted in colours that look wonderfully chic on Burano but gaudy in the Budapest sun. img_1617

Irish journalist Peter Murphy (think  Damien Lewis with a pen), wrote an excellent article for the Budapest Sun recently – Where the names have no streets. It will tell you more about the 8th that I ever could.

In the meantime, life is good and all is well. The search for furniture continues. I’ve finally posted a picture of  the piece that made my heart stop and I have added a rather quaint 1920’s stool and some really lovely etchings to my collection (still to be blogged). In the meantime, I’m weighing up to forints to see which way to go with my bookcase.  Decisions, decisions.

Venice, masks and Stendahl’s syndrome

I was in Venice this week for a few days – flew out Tuesday and back last night in time to see that Ireland still has a chance to repeat the 1948 Grand Slam next Saturday. Commiserations to the Scots… but sure there ya have it!
 
Anyway, to Venice….
 
Back in 1817, a French Romantic novelist Henri-Marie Byle who wrote under the penname ‘Stendahl’ was visiting Florence. While visiting the Basilica of Saint Croce, he was so overwhelmed by its beauty that he had a turn. He later wrote in his diary: Everything spoke so vividly to my soul. Ah, if I could only forget. I had palpitations of the heart. Life was drained from me, what in Berlin they call ‘nerves’. I walked with the fear of falling. It wasn’t until 1979 that the condition was diagnosed and named ‘Stendhal’s syndrome’ by an Italian psychiatrist, Dr Graziella Magherini, who noticed similar psychosomatic conditions – racing heat beat, nausea and dizziness – amongst first-time visitors to the city.

Had I not lived in Alaska for so many years and seen beauty in is rawest, most majestic form, I, too, might have suffered from Stendhal’s syndrome during my four days in Venice. It truly is a remarkable city.

 

Gondolas in front of Rialto

Gondolas in front of Rialto

 From the air, it looks like a fish: the fat body containing the sestieres (the six districts that form Venice) of Cannaregio, Santa Croce, San Polo, San Marco and Dorsoduro with Castello making up the tail. It lives amongst the lagoon islands of Murano, Burano, San Giorgio Maggiore, Lido, Torcello, Guidecca, Sant’Erasmo and San Michelle. Cycling is forbidden and cars are few and far between, generally left parked in the Piazzale Roma, from where commuters travel onwards on foot or by boat.  You can take the vaporetto (a waterbus) on both canals. To cross from one side to the other on the Grand Canal between bridges, you can take the traghetto (a gondola in which you stand up rather than recline regally).  And there’s always the water taxi. You can, of course, hire your own gondola for a romantic trip through the rios. That experience I thought I’d save for later!

There are supposedly more than 500 bridges in the city and I’d say we crossed most of them. It’s a veritable labyrinth and next time I go, I’m going to do away with the map and just wander. If you get lost, you simply look up to find a yellow sign pointing the general direction of San Marco, or Rialto, or Piazzale Roma. Half the fun is finding your way home and it is so easy to walk around in circles for hours, ending up right back where you started. It’s all about the journey.

Sunshine on a calle

Sunshine on a calle

 Growing up with roads and streets and squares, and having coped with the út (road), utca (street), and tér (square) in Budapest, it took a while to get my head around the Venetian toponyms: liste (main steets), crosere (crossroads), calle (a narrow street, some hardly a shoulder width, running between houses), rama (short calles, often cul-de-sacs), ruga ( a straight calle full of shops), salizzada (the first paved calli), rio (canal)  rio tera (a canal that has become a calle), fondamenta (a calle with houses on one side and a rio on the other), campo (square), corti (squares hidden inside groups of houses), sortoporgego (a passageway through a building).

Looking down the calli, particularly in Cannaregio and Costello, you see clotheslines strung between the buildings on either side with bunting-like laundry flapping in the breeze. The smell of washing powder mixes headily with the salty smell of the sea. Shoes sit on windowsills and fur coats hang in windows to air. Every inch of space is used. Venice has no more room – what’s there is being renovated – but there is no room for expansion. In the ghetto, they coped with expanding numbers by building upwards, the first skyscrapers. The doors vary so much is size that you have to wonder who lives behind them.

The buildings, old and weary, stand proudly, defying the water to do its worst, the lower third battled scarred and watermarked. The city floods at least twice a year and you can see the evidence. Neat stacks of tables wait patiently for the time when they will be set end to end to create paths above water level when the floods come. Stories abound of Venetians coming out of the cinema to be faced with a ‘wade’ home, the more cavalier men piggybacking their dates.  Everything we have on road, Venice has on water: fireboats, ambulance boats, police boats, medical boats, delivery boats, garbage boats. It really is something else.

 We spent our days wandering the streets, popping in and of shops and churches, having the occasional ice cream and the odd coffee. As ‘spending a penny’ in Venice can cost as much as €1.50, having a coffee and using their loo seemed more economical. There are all sorts of hidden charges so your bill is rarely what you expect. It is cheaper by far to eat and drink standing up then to sit down, inside or outside. We just had to have lunch on our last day at a little trattoria in San Toma that had a big sign in the window saying ‘NO COVERT CHARGE’…. a typo or a Venetian with a sense of irony?

The mind boggles at the skill and craftsmanship that went into building those churches. Some of them are massive – you’d fit five Irish churches into the one at Frari. And there are so many of them. We got mass one evening and ended up staying for vespers because it would have been rude to leave. It was my first time at vespers and a shame that I didn’t understand a word of what was being said.

img_15072Sadly there are more tourists in Venice than there are residents. Government support for artisans and craftworkers translates into lots of working studios for painters, jewelers, and mask makers who seem to do it for the love of it rather than for money; customers almost seem to intrude. Like everything else, the genuine articles are endangered by cheap imports from China. Tourists are faced with a choice of spending €20 on a mask from a trader or €120 for a real, hand-made-in-Venice one. Given that it is an expensive city overall, many take the cheaper option (and no, you don’t even have to ask which one I went for….) Perhaps more could be done to highlight the fakes… knowing you’re buying a fake is one thing; thinking you’re buying the genuine article is another. On Murano, shops have signs in their windows saying they use only local glass. Those that don’t have these signs… well, you’re pretty safe in assuming that they’re importing the funny stuff! This ethical consumerism can be expensive!

After a couple of days walking the streets of the sestieres, we took to water and went island-hopping (and yes, it is possible to get lost on water as well). Up until a few years ago, San Michelle was where Venetians were buried; now it’s full so new bodies are taken to the mainland. Amongst the famous buried on this island are  Stravinksy and his wife Vera. It was sad, in a way, to see his grave laden with flowers and hers quite bare. How difficult is it, I wonder, to be married to fame? Ezra Pound and Joseph Brodsky are also at home there. The graves seem to sprout flowers … the Venetians take care of their dead.

Glass sculpture

Glass sculpture

 We then headed to Murano, home of the famous murano glass, with its glassworks and street sculptures. Boats laden with boxes addressed to Holland, New York and even South Africa, lined the canals. They will ship anywhere. And it was so very, very tempting. But sense reigned and I limited my purchases to a Christmas tree ornament. Next stop was supposed to be Tortello, but we missed it. We went to the end of the line, disembarked, had a beer, and came back to Burano. Missing your stop at sea is a little like trying to turn back on the freeway.

It’s impossible not to smile on Burano. Famous for its lace (and yes, I succumbed to two scarves) its colourful houses are so cheerful. Bright, bright pinks and blues and yellows and greens – residents must compete to find the gaudiest colours possible and then paint with pride.

By a rio in Burano

By a rio in Burano

 The town square in the evening is full of kids playing, adults chatting, and a palpable sense of happiness and well-being. A lovely spot.

 

The sounds in the city are quite typical: church bells and conversation. But in Venice, there is another one: the sound of what I thought to be rolling luggage. And then I realized it was rolling shopping bags. While you can find any amount of craft shops and churches, restaurants and bars, it’s hard to find a supermarket or a corner shop. You just follow the bag lady!  And these wheelie shoppers are young and trendy, male and female – it’s not just the purview of English or Hungarian old ‘granny’ types… it’s almost fashionable!bag-ladies-at-rialto-fish-market

And the locals certainly have style. Italian men dress so well. Even a trip to the fish market warrants careful thought and preparation. They are manicured and tailored without being effete. The gondoliers have a style of their own about them, too. One restaurant maître domo enticed us to sit a while with his dramatic rendition of ‘my mind is open, my heart is open, my restaurant is open…’ When Venetians pass each other on the street, the conversation starts as soon as they see each other, and continues well after they’ve passed each other by. Those Venetians you see apparently talking to themselves (with no visible mobile phone mics) are just talking to the person behind them walking in the opposite direction.

Of course, no trip to Venice would be complete without a visit to Harry’s Bar. It’s the reason I went and the reason I’ve been going for years but only now got there. The home of carpaccio and the bellini, Harry’s Bar was a home from home to Hemmingway. It’s a quiet, unimposing bar/restaurant on the corner of Calle Valerroso. The prices are astronomical, and deliberately so. They’re designed to separate the genuine article from the fakes – those that want to sit for a while where Hemmingway sat, enjoying the palpable legacy of greatness as opposed to those who read about it, know something of the man, and want to add it to the list of sights seen. While we were there, so many came in, sat down, opened the menu, read the prices and left.  The waiters were so used to this, they didn’t blink an eye. Thankfully, I had a credit card and had come a long way and waited a long time to taste my first bellini… and I’ll be back.

So it’s back to normal this week… St Patrick’s Day looms and I’ve plans to gather some folks and drink to the snake-schuker. You never know who might turn up.

Bedroom: All I want for Christmas is a clerk’s chair

img_1001Don’t be deceived. This may look like an ordinary chest of drawers to the undiscerning eye, but it’s actually so much more. One of the joys of trawling through antique shops, junk shops, and flea markets is that you get to find out, first hand, how tetchy the staff are about you opening and closing drawers and presses (cupboards for the Americans and English). Some verge on apoplexy if you so much as lift the edge of a macassar whereas others would happily let you see if you could crawl into the wardrobe and bring your friend with you. That element of childish ‘let’s see how far I can push it’ is quite amusing and certainly adds to the experience. As does wandering around wearing a backpack… amazing how some of us get our kicks eh?

On those rare occasions when you open up a drawer or a door and find something unexpected, it’s even better! Then you can oooh and ahhh out loud, and when the other shoppers gather around, you know your hand is the one on the handle and you’re the one with first dibs.

Such was the case in the BAV on Jaszai Maria tér a couple of weeks ago. February 12. I’ve been looking for a chest of drawers. Any I’ve seen have been either in poor condition or very expensive. Or the drawers weren’t deep enough. Or it wasn’t high enough. Or the handles weren’t pretty enough. This one I liked the look of, and liked the price. And when I opened it, it practically called my name. And everyone else heard it, too. In a matter of seconds, there were two others around me, chattering away and looking as if they were wondering how to make me disappear.

img_1002

How cool is this eh? The front of the top drawer is opens out to form a writing table! Now, with my short legs, I can stand and write quite comfortably. Not a long letter though, more of a short note, or maybe a cheque. Any lengthier correspondence will require a clerk’s chair…

When it was delivered, I found a CD of Beethoven’s Violin concertos in one of the little drawers. An added bonus! I just love it. The other three drawers are deep and wide, so it’s just perfect for me. It is missing its keys though – so four more to add to the list. I could make a career out of key shopping!

I’m not sure of the vintage – I’d say Victorian – any of you have any ideas? I thought it might have been a Bachelors chest, but it doesn’t have the shallow top drawer for the shaving foam! It’s old though. And I wanted something old and gold to put on the top. I’m getting quite protective of my tops lately and don’t want it ruined by an oil ring from a makeup bottle.

img_0999Now, you know how Sundays are my ‘day of rest’ – literally. Sam Waterston himself couldn’t drag me out of bed before noon (mmm actually, he would be a very good reason for me to stay in bed even longer).

Well, this Sunday just gone, I was up at the crack of dawn and getting off the metro in Szechenyi at 7.50 am heading for the Petofi flea market. My first time. And what an experience! A new venue on my guided tourist route.  Anyway, I was with the Queen of Vintage who was shopping for linens and I found this embroidered table runner. The picture doesn’t do it justice. The detail is exquisite. And if I’m to believe the woman who sold it to me, it once lived in a castle owned by them who had the monogram RB. And sure why wouldn’t I?

Getting a name for myself

Picture it. Saturday morning. Downtown Pest. The tourists, those brave enough to stumble out into the cold, are wandering through Raday útca wondering why their mates told them this was the ‘hot spot’ in town. Their mates, no doubt, had visited in summer, when Raday is indeed a hot spot. Packed to capacity with café table and chairs, it’s the main restaurant drag in town. You can eat your way around the world and find somewhere new and more exciting every night. This time of year though, it’s deserted. Not even the bravest soul with the warmest blanket would last long in the biting cold of Budapest. Nonetheless, there were a few around, with cameras, to witness my ‘bringing the lamp home’. Yes, another lamp.

This one was too big to take on the tram; and I was too cheap to buy a ticket for it to travel on the metro. So, I walked it home. And it was heavy. I  set it down to wait for passing traffic to clear; whatever about getting myself knocked down…. An unsuspecting couple came around the corner and did a stop and stare while another chap across the road pulled out his camera. Honestly, you’d think no-one had ever seen a girl take her lamp for a walk before!

New pages: So ugly it’s beautiful; All I want for Christmas is a Clerk’s Chair.

Bedroom: Low lights and high ceilings

Who would have thought that 4-metre-high ceilings were high enough to make a resonably sized light seem rather small? It surprised me no end. There I was thinking this latest acquisition would drop too far down…   It’s a little worn in places perhaps, with a crack or two in the bowls – it’s been around a little while, though it’s no-where near as old as its roomates.

img_09661I haven’t paid much attention to lights until lately – and now that I’m in the market for a chandelier (csillár) or two, I’m amazed at how many there are and how fine the line is between taste and tat. Some of them look amazing in the distance and not so wonderful up close. Mind you, the tallest person I know would have a hard time getting up close and personal with this light!

One lovely thing about this city is that you can stumble on an Aladdin’s cave every day of the week. There are so many nooks and corners selling everything from the ridiculous to the sublime. And, like the Zebras’ survival mechanism (pack up close so the lions can’t tell one of us from the other), some of the larger lighting emporiums are just too much! It’s impossible to pick. That’s why the smaller shops or those that only have a few lights are the best bet.img_09651

The BAV on Margit Korut in Buda is one such place. It is on the verge of ‘too much’ yet has just the right amount to whet your appetite without dulling your senses. To really appreciate the aesthetics, you need to see a light on its own. Just it, the ceiling and the room it will inhabit. What can look so right in the shop (I have three of these failures) can morph into something hideous on the journey home. I was lucky with this one.

What I like about it is the quirkiness (and the price helped a lot, too – a markdown from 45000 ft to 30000 ft ($130, €100, £90)). The hanging baubles are just the right side of naff and hopefully will catch the sun during the day. It was the organgey-green vein-like pattern that swung it for me, though. Perhaps there’s something for the shrink to analyze there!

Bedroom: A sleeping beauty

A bed isn’t simply a bed. It’s a refuge. Considering we spend at least a third of our life in bed, we should spend more time choosing just the right one.  I happened across mine in Ecseri market… the headboard and footboard were just lying up against a wall. It didn’t look like much at first glance and, as with all good things, a little closer inspection revealed much.

img_09681Each corner is embossed with a rather intricate metal figurine. The inlaid design on the footboard is rather lovely, as it the headboard itself. It was missing its original latts, although the mahogany frame was still in good nick. It’s not an Ikea-mattress size. At 140cm x 190cm, it’s slightly shorter than your average bed, but then, I’m slightly shorter than your average basketball player (and the only basketball player I know is a 76-year-old Jesuit priest!)

The footboard is curved, arc-like, which gives it a lovely shape – a lot more interesting that the usual straight-sided offerings. I loved it and didn’t have a doubt in the world that I should take it home. I had some latts made and my very good friend MI worked her usual magic and found me just the right-sized mattress in some town outside Budapest. The saints were indeed smiling on me the day I met Ms M. The bed, having come in so many parts, finally came together last Tuesday.
And that’s when I last had a good night’s sleep. Tuesday night, after about an hour of twisting and turning, I was overcome by a fierce sense of anxiety bordering on sheer terror. I’m not given to hearing footsteps in the night so the urge I had to triple lock the front door and put the chain on took me by surprise. I pulled out ye olde trustworthy crystal and did a bit of divining. The bed had had a happy history – no major deaths or dismemberment. But it was facing the wrong way. Now, despite the fact that my neighbours and I are not on ‘pop in for a coffee’ terms, I still have some sense of civic duty and didn’t feel that 3am was the time to start shifting furniture. But first thing Wednesday morning, I moved the bed.
Wednesday night, I slept. No getting up in the middle of the night. I slept straight through and when I woke I was exhausted. I felt as if I’d had a fortnight on the tear. Thankfully, my 7.30am class had cancelled on me. Thursday night was no better. Friday, the shamanic Jeremiah D came to visit for the weekend. He may as well have been riding a white horse and wearing a suit of armour! When he spent some time in the room, he felt the energy and whilst not bad, it was definitely strong. On Saturday, after yet another restless night, we had a clearing ceremony: those lost souls crossed over, out the window, and on to the other side.
Sunday morning, I awoke at 4.30am (after two and a half hours’ sleep) and felt fully rested. I could have gotten up and started my day. I slept again and awoke at 7.30 feeling energised and awake. I’ve visitors this week so am camping out in the study. It’ll be Thursday before I get to sleep there again and this time, I hope to bask in the glow of the new csillár and enjoy a solid night’s sleep. I might even dream of those who have slept there before me… 150 years makes for a lot of stories!

Let there be light

After what was a dismal performance by my boys yesterday (Ireland, Rugby, Italy), despite the big scoreline, my humour has much improved. I found a very quirky chandelier last week at the BAV – this time, I went to the one over in Buda, just at the end of Margit Hid (Margaret Bridge). I brought it home on the tram… safely. It’s looking good. Also found just the right orange light for the bathroom and a wonderful wonderful chest of drawers for my bedroom. Photos and details to follow. Hope all is well in your worlds and that life is treating you kindly.

Flat updates: Low lights, high ceilings; Sleeping Beauty.

Bedroom: So ugly it’s beautiful

Every Saturday for the last five weeks, I’ve visited this antique shop near Szabadszag hid on Vámház korút. It’s one of those curious shops with two fronts. The first door opens into what looks like a rather small jewelry shop. Well, truth be told, it’s more like a pawnbrokers. But then you follow the carpets and wind your way back into the bowels of antiquity where you can find almost anything. It’s crammed with stuff… sofas, chairs, tables, mirrors, plant stands, pictures, cloths, china… everything that might have, at some stage, lived in a house. A veritable Aladdin’s cave. And priced accordingly. (It is certainly more expensive than the markets or the BAVs and I’m not altogether convinced that the stuff is any better.) Yet I’m quite taken with the place. I’ve even taken my visitors there on the way to the big market.

img_10031My normal decisiveness (and yes, please laugh…) deserted me: for five weeks, I hummed and hawed about whether to buy this lamp. My problem lay in deciding if it was really beautiful or just pure tat. My visitors were indecisive and of little help. The olde ‘not my taste, but if you like it….’ just doesn’t cut it. Eventually, I gave in. And my giving in had nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that the staff thought I was casing the joint. Honestly!

I think, or rather KAG thinks, that it’s a Rococo. And I believe her. The girl knows her vintage.

Okay, so normally, when of sober mind and body, gilt-edged roses just wouldn’t be my thing. Certainly, the tassly gold trim on the shade wouldn’t do it for me. And the green paint on white looks like dust from a distance. . But, c’mon, you have to admit, it has a certain something! I rather like the half shade though and the green is the same green as my walls

At the moment, this certain something, is my bedside light. It’s a tad lost in the corner though and deserves to shine in its own space. So I think it will eventually graduate to the living room.

I think the pink is just the right shade to pick up the colours in the Chobis. And the gilt will add to the gilt in the Widow’s frame. And, if all comes to all,  it will give people something to talk about!

A snip, methinks, at 24,000 ft ($102, €80, £70)