Katherine Hayton | Reminiscing about wallpaper
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16 Oct / Reminiscing about wallpaper

I’m just watching the latest episode of the Brokenwood Mysteries from our hard drive. At one point they went into the house of a beekeeper and I thought ‘he’s got a lovely home.’ He had lovely chairs with wood and a fabric backing. It all seemed very comforting. Very homely.

I realised after a while its because we have those same chairs in our front room. They used to be part of our dining room set until the table gave up the ghost and we invested in some dark brown dining chairs instead. The old ones migrated to the front room so that I had something to sit on when I was sewing, and something to sit on when I needed to work at the desk.

I kept watching with a keen eye because there was something else about the place. He had lovely wallpaper. Comforting. A good choice. I could see the individual details on the selection of dried leaves and grasses that formed the pattern. Which was odd since the wallpaper was actually out of focus. Then I realised it was because we used to have the very same wallpaper in the kitchen, dining room and lounge of the house that I grew up in. A nice shading of light greens and browns on a lovely cream background.

The scene was restricted to one room, so I wasn’t able to see if the rest of the house matched, but in my imagination I can see it now.

It has the lounge-suite that sits in the front room, not used outside of being where my clothes pile up when I’ve once again overflowed the wardrobe. The one that’s curved gracefully so that it forms its own corner. His spare bedroom doesn’t house a single, or a double bed, it has what used to be called a princess-sized bed, just like the one that my sister had in her room at home.

He’s got a bathroom with the shower curtain from my young childhood home, and the bathmat that we had the time before the time before the one we have now. It’s a nice pattern to step on. The rubber patterning on the surface really grips your feet.

If I keep imagining much longer I’ll probably be able to see the chest of drawers that he keeps because it belonged to his dead wife. And the silver backed brush, mirror and comb set that she arranged in the middle of it. For display more than utility.

I wonder how many other people looked at the same scene and saw the tiny bits and pieces of kiwiana that formed part of their own childhood homes. I wonder if they’d turned the camera around if we would have been able to see the three ducks flying in perpetuity. A family heading south for the summer. Or north for the winter. Or the opposite if you live on the wrong side of the world.

Trips down memory lane can be lovely, can’t they?

By Katherine Hayton in Katherine Hayton's Blog

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