Keep singing!

Istanbul Congress Center
Istanbul Congress Center (Photo credit: World Bank Photo Collection)


Just a quıck note, well ın words but not ın tıme. This may take an age to write as I work out how to use a Turkısh keyboard. çöğüşi…..(I hope that’s not an actual word!) . I am standıng in the Istanbul Congress centre waıtıng to start traınıng wıth the Clımate Realıty Project . It’s pourıng wıth raın outsıde and my feet are covered ın Bosphrus dırt from the roads. Good day to be ın the bowels of a conventıon centre. It’s all very exciting (as it should be) but also quıte scary. Just typıng ıs a bıt of a challenge! But like all good things there needs to be a bit of frisson ınvolved. The Sunscreen song seems to echo.

I have already met the edıtor of the South African magazine Green Homes so I can see how ıt wıll add ımpetus to thıs blog and more.  It’s an opportunıty to remember that there is optimism to change. I will be tweeting throughout on #msecobabble and find out more from #CRınIST.


PS Lıfe seems to contınue as normal ın the cıty, rather unlıke what the medıa suggests.


Beginnings, the downstairs loo and dreaded wallpaper

I have been attempting to start this site for months now but in all honesty I found it quite scary – putting myself out there but here we go! Our home is nearly finished, well that’s not true really as I believe a real home is never ‘finished’. It has to grow with you as you change, age, grow. But I think we are there with the basic structure to allow us to change, age and grow comfortably and safely. I’ve been trying to work out which room to start with – the last 2 years have been so full of stripping, painting, sanding, remunerating it’s difficult to know where to begin. So let’s start with the smallest room in the house, possibly the one with the most personality – the downstairs’ loo.

First major mistake – I didn’t take any pre pics. Sorry! There is a small chance the wonderful husband may have some so I will check with him. My Magpie* self wanted to strip the whole thing out and start again with a new loo, sink, taps etc. The wallpaper definitely had to go. I have a bit of thing against wall paper I have to admit. Perhaps if I shared the apparently calming practice of stripping it I wouldn’t be so adverse. But really it just seems like the most wasteful use of resources going. It’s nearly always a fashion statement, and as we all know fashion is only transitory. Homes are in many ways following the ways of fast fashion – fast interiors. I may leave that particular rant for another day.

Anyway, even with my disapproval of wallpaper we hit a problem when we tried to remove what was on the wall. The base wall had been so badly plastered to begin with it started coming off with the backing paper. No please remember this was in the beginning days of our refurb and I was DESPERATE to get things started. I am not a perfectionist type (unlike my other half) so I decided to just get the top layer off, leave the backing paper and horror of horrors put new wallpaper up.

And then I received a newsletter from my favourite shop in the UK (not that I have actually visited it yet!) Retrouvius who were selling reams of paper with sonnets printed on them that they had found in a warehouse. They had used them as a wall covering in their advertising and bang I had it. By using existing paper I would be cutting out the impacts by creation (it already existed) and would be reducing landfill or at least delaying it being chucked or recycled. However I wasn’t paying the price offered, nor the transport fees all the way up here. So instead at a local church book sale I found a much fingered copy of Mrs Beeton’s Household management and my mum and I diligently pasted the pages onto the wall and ceiling using Auro wallpaper paste (it’s so natural you can ever compost it!).  Personally I love the look, every read gives another insight into a different time. “The etiquette of meeting royalty” and “The duties of a housemaid.” Well I suppose it’s still relevant to some? Please feel free to come round and read the instructions off the wall!

The creamy hue of the wall paper with the butter marks on the corners of the baking pages  also appeared to change the basin and loo, they didn’t seem to be quite so awful anymore. Everything appears to meld with each other. Yes to stop it all receding into yesteryear we painted the radiator black. This has both aesthetic and practical uses as some claim that black radiators are more efficient at emitting heat. As with all internet searches you need to take it with a dose of salt but you never know every little bit helps!

So there I was nicely chuffed with my new creation and admiring it from my neighbours’ kitchen window when my husband entered the loo to have a pee (apologies for being so blatant). I suddenly realised that even though the glass is textured it leaves nothing to the imagination! A new window was not a possibility really, nor a curtain as the room had so little light anyway but thank you and your back pages for introducing me to . We measured, ordered, stuck and voila. Privacy with a bit of beauty thrown in and it hides the horrible textured glazing.

*My magpie self is the bit of me that wants to buy new shiny stuff from all those lovely catalogues and website and just chuck the things I don’t like away. I try to suppress it on a daily basis – sometimes it wins sometimes it doesn’t. I’m only human!