Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Road rage

I'm cannot pinpoint when this day began to go sour but it sure as hell did. There I was, merrily going about my own business and eventually it came upon me that other people were having really bad days and for some reason it seemed to be my fault or, at least, I was in the neighbourhood, therefore .... In the end I slipped out the office early, dueled trucks on the interstate for an hour or so, and my phone rang - a very sweet woman informed me in the most reasonable, almost jocular, manner that the field trip she'd arranged for one of my classes had been cancelled by her manager because she felt there were sufficient private tours that day and mine was simply one too many!

Navigating a freeway and trying to control a disproportionate amount of anger, rage actually, and railing at the pertness of some people, ain't easy, let me tell you.

So, one glass of sherry, one aggressively stirred but perfectly turned-out asparagus risotto, a hug and a kiss from my beloved who'd breezed in the front door like one of Jesus' little sunbeams, I'm feeling a little calmer and wondering what it is that makes simple quotidian events of no actual importance take on such monstrous proportions.

The sherry I drank – and I must tell you I have no pretensions to knowing anything about sherry except that I like what I like and I like it usually after dinner instead of dessert – is a Deluxe Cream Capataz Andrés by Lustau. Going straight to the bottle after a bad day is not quite the way one should begin the evening but the sweetness of the sherry had its way with me and reminded me in a round about way of the wonderful rooms you see posted here.

Jaime Parlade's house at the foot of the Sierra de Alcuzcuz seems to me such a welcoming place to arrive at when feelings or feet are bruised, when the need to be loved but left alone for a while is paramount, too have a drink or cup of tea placed by one's hand, a newspaper and a footstool proffered, then to hear the door gratifyingly clicking closed as one is left to sip of the geniality of the host and his house.

Being hospitable is such an important aspect of life, not only in the way of invitations to dinner, to cocktails, for tea, but more the feeling that guests are, however temporarily, welcomed, loved, valued and really rather interesting.

I think again, as I have thought these past weeks when writing about decorators from the 1980s, that my preference is for the lucid but not the facile, for the uncluttered but not the austere, the simple but not the simplistic and the tactful rather than the maladroit. Consequently I write about decorators whose work, generally speaking, seems to embody my own predilections. Some of those decorators have created suffocatingly ostentatious spaces but others, like Mr Parlade, are able to beget houses and rooms worthy of simple human qualities like love and friendship, rage even.

Photos by James Mortimer from an article written by Frances Partridge for The World of Interiors, May 1988.


  1. These rooms seem cozier, more comfortable than your usual. I don't have words for your preferred styles but these do seem like you.

  2. I think blogging is rather like hosting. And that's what you do. You invite us in with warm descriptions, with language that never ceases to amaze or amuse, and you show us beautiful things to enchant and to educate. You offer enough up of yourself that the gift of time spent in the Blue Remembered HIlls is time spent outside of time.

    When the world is too much with us, we need a different world to enter. Thanks for taking us in. Hope you had more than a glass of sherry. I personally think your response is sanity in an often insane world. I am impressed you had the will and the patience for the rissoto and it thanked you by not going all undone/overdone. Finally, let's not forget there are some truly nasty people out there who are truly nuts.

  3. home before dark - I thank you, ma'am, very sincerely! The English language offers little choice of expressing gratitude beyond which it begins sound more than a little fulsome but, nonetheless, you have my gratitude. I was moved when I read your comment.

    Terry - I like these rooms a lot. They're spacious and light-filled, none-too-selfconsciously decorated and hospitable.

  4. Blue~ I was having an equally horrendous day combining the failing health of a loved one with the rants of a "creative". It was actually a comfort to read your post and commiserate. I might suggest a glass of Vintage Port, the taste can take you back centuries. Kendra

  5. ah yes, those days where the logical collides with the illogical, the planned collides with the unplanned...the blood pressure rises...

  6. Kendra, sorry to hear about the failing health of a loved one. I wish you strength. As to the "creative" ..... what do I say?

    Down East Dilettante, sometimes you just gotta walk away, mentally and physically. Is it me, or is the world full of f...heads?

  7. Oddly enough, that is the very question a group of us were asking over dinner this evening, in conversation about the growth of our community. Excepting ourselves, of course, our conclusion was the latter...