There’s a relatively new programme on Daytime TV called “Home is where the art is.” Yes, you read that aright - it’s a fairly dreadful pun but it does meet my requirement of saying what it does
on the tin. In short, it’s about the creation of modern works of art to fit in with somebody’s already beautiful home.
The idea is that three
artists - working with paints or clay or strange shaped metal - pitch their work to the potential purchasers who then have to choose between them. Before the first pitch of ideas (and long before the final unveiling), the artists are set loose in their customers’
home to gather a picture of their likes and dislikes, all the better to reflect their personalities in their finished work of art. They wander around the home, snooping in wardrobes to see the style and colour of their clothes; they size up pictures on the
walls, books on shelves, ornaments in display cupboards; they surmise where the family take their holidays and come to conclusions about their happiest memories. Honestly, my blood runs cold...
I can think of few things worse than having total strangers visiting my home in my absence and deciding on my character based on what they find. It was bad enough way back when we were trying to sell our first house.
All three of the Darling Daughters had come down with chicken pox which meant that any prospective buyers found themselves confronted by a Spotty Trio who insisted on following them around from room to room, commenting on the good, the bad and the ugly without
fear or failure. Moreover, they had adopted my own sales patter to the word. Every time I opened the airing cupboard on the landing to demonstrate its ample proportions and the water tank within, three little voices would pipe up: “Well-lagged!”
I venture to suggest that none of the three had the faintest idea what that meant...
It’s been a long time since an estate agent was called upon to offer
services; we have lived in this house for well over thirty years. In recent years, however, with Mr B’s failing health, we do have various callers turning up at all times of day - district nurses, doctors, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, paramedics.
These days even Specsavers doesn’t expect Mr B to go to them but come to us instead. Invariably these visitors arrive when I haven’t had time to wash up the dishes from our last meal or when all the materials required for my latest scrap-booking
project are littering the floor. I have to tell myself, for my own sanity and self-respect, that they come to help us, not to judge us...
But what if a trio of
artists were let loose in our home? What conclusions would they reach from inspecting the art work pinned up on the living room door, for example? Illustrations from a Winnie the Pooh story, one of them (drawn by Lilia, younger of the Twins by one important
minute) showing Christopher Robin, looking distinctly princessy, bumping the Bear with Very Little Brain down some pink carpeted stairs? What aspects of my personality would they see reflected in the display cabinets, crammed full of priceless (as in, of no
or little price apart from the sentimental value) objects gathered over more than fifty years of marriage and motherhood? Not one of these could I bear to be parted with but taken altogether they are a strange lot. Looking at our decor, would they be able
to deduce a particular style of interior design? I rather think not. Ancient and Modern comes to mind. And please don’t let them anywhere near my wardrobe, packed with clothes of every size I have ever been since my thirties, just waiting patiently for
me to grow back in / out of them?
I do have an answer, as it happens, in the unlikely event that our home should come under siege from the “Home is
Where The Art Is” artists. I would invoke the sweet spirits of Days Past to follow the snoopers about the house. Each time the Talented Threesome stopped to gaze in puzzlement at my Curious Collection of Homely Artefacts, my ghostly trio of Darling Daughters