Monday, January 09, 2006

Living in the Land of Faerie Tales

One of the things I love about the village I live in is the architecture. It is like living in Fantasy Land at Disney World. Except there is not a gift shop every ten steps and people here are allowed to grow beards, get tattooed and wear body piercing. And boy, do they! But the buildings give it a feel that is unusual. The architecture, around here is as far from what I am used to in the states as you can get.

I walk a mile into the office every morning and no two houses are (or buildings) are exactly alike. It is probably because the village predates America (let-alone Levittown) and as such has none of the tacky cookie-cutter feel to it. Rather than in America, where the houses appear to have been extruded one-after-another as if some giant Play-Doh factory press, the houses here, if similar are different enough that you can tell where one ends and the next begins. Even in the row of town houses I live in, now two are alike. There are six distinct designs for the twelve houses in the row. They are grouped in couplets with their mirror images. So #8 and #7 are mirror images of each other but look different from the couplets #9 /#10, #11/#12, #1/#2, #3/ #4, and #5/#6.

Heck there are buildings that look as if they have evolved over the years. Ye Olde Swann Public House, the Pub next to the office, appears to have been built in spurts over the years, having at least four distinct periods of construction. I base this on the fact that the roof line is a confusion of differing pitch angles and materials. For all I know, the pub was originally four different buildings that were merged.

The good thing about living here is it gives me hope that Faerie Tales can come true. (Just like the song promises.)

Here I am referring to the Faerie Tale of The Cobbler and the Elves. You, no doubt remember the one, but here it is in synopsis form: A poor, tired old cobbler has more children than he can afford and more work than he has time. One evening through sheer exhaustion, he falls asleep at his work bench and some local faeries, seeing how overworked he is, alight on the work bench and turn all the raw materials therein into shoes by the time the cobbler awakes. Each night, he leaves loads of raw materials and each morning they have been made into shoes by the faeries.

I have always had a couple problems with this faerie tale. The first being, how did the faeries know what size shoes to make? Did they see the order slips somewhere? The second problem I have is that what, with faeries having a penchant for wearing shoes that come to a curlicue point at each toe, the shoes they are likely to make could hardly make a fashion statement.

I have decided this to be my experiment into whether one can really live the Faerie Tale. Oh, it's not that I have left leather, felt, thread, and such lying around. No. I am thinking of a more practical application for the faeries I hope to attract. (Who really needs another pair of curlicue shoes? I know I have plenty of them for my tastes already in my collection.)

No, I have been far more practical in my desired tasks to assign the night visitors.

The kitchen of the house I am living in has a huge old fireplace in it. It's the kind of thing you'd see in a colonial home back in the states. Big enough to walk into if you're stooped over. I can picture cauldrons bubbling in it and roasts turning on spits over a roaring fire.

The owners of the house, have however, converted the hearth into a wine cellar. It really looks quite nice. Other than the fact that all the racks are empty. This is what gave me my idea! Last night I left some empty wine bottles, the corks that I had pulled from them, some grapes and some sugar on the counter. I even left a single bottle of wine in the wine rack in the hopes that the faeries would get the idea. I have had no luck so far but I am sure that I will. I guess I just have to be a little more over-worked and the faeries will finally get the picture.

I hope that your day is going well and that you get what you are after.

Don Bergquist - 09-January-2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom

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