The smaller of my boys was having a bit of a tiff with his Dad tonight… following an entertaining evening of back flips onto the couch, throwing things in the fire and sitting on his brother, he had decided to wear his talking Transformer helmet into the ‘Fireside Retreat’. The helmet where you press the button maniacally to make it say “I Want To Wee! I Am A Walrus” If you have the Optimus Prime helmet, you’ll know what I mean. it’s a bit of a secret function. Strictly for the playroom, methinks.
Anyhoo… the ‘Fireside Retreat’ It’s our happy place. The inner sanctum. Our special evening holiday room. It’s purpose built for ‘Project Runway’. It’s spiffing for playing ‘Mastermind’. It’s nice for drawing. It’s lovely for toasting marshmallows. Playing Lego – yep. Peeling fruit – perfect. Eating chocolate covered honeycomb – sweet. Gordon Ramsay – bloody oath. Top Gear – awesome. Tour de France- oui. Before the Game – bonza. Crochet – divine. Learning lines for the school play -excellent. Junior Scrabble – uh-huh. Charlie and Lola – definately. And wine. It’s built for wine too. But walruses and wee are not on the list. Did you see them there? No you did not. I am so very sorry small-boy-who-i-love-so-very-much. Something’s amiss.
Let me set the scene…
The Fireside Retreat is our lovely upstairs front room. It looks out onto Brunswick Street, the park and the flickering amber lights of the high rise opposite. We have a nice red rug and a 60s modular and a lovely big brown leather couch … There’s some thrifted vinyl blinds with yellow, orange and green 70s floral splotched all over them… and there’s a small book case full of a few hundred Little Golden Books – gleaming spines smiling outwards. cosy.
There are three BIG bookcases along the exposed brick wall – full of (mostly) children’s books dating from the sixties to now (and one devoted entirely to records). On top of those is an old B&O Stereo we bought from an elderly lady who came into the shop wanting to be rid of it… and my Dr Seuss, Marcel Marlier, Childcraft and other super special kids books. The door to the Fireside Retreat is blue. cosy.
Vintage prints hang on the walls (except for one wall which is painted deep sea blue and is just for looking at when one needs to be calm – which is often – so good to have a wall devoted to calm.) There’s an industrial shelf bought from a roadside display in Abbotsford for $15 – it’s full of books too and heaving with coloured glass vases and dishes and a 70s clickity clock radio. There’s a granny rug, a vintage eiderdown and some cardboard roller-skates with lightning bolts on them that Ari made on the weekend. There’s a metre high tower of DVDS… a coffee table with drawers full of STUFF… cosy.
There’s an old magazine rack full of the garishly coloured yarn that I’m partial to… There’s two tea trays… with birds on them.. the kind that are on legs.. and they have crayons and paper and other kid things littered on them… and there are heaps of cushions… a corduroy bean bag (my fave!)… and two red vinyl footstools. The ceiling is really really really high. The windows are really really really tall… and the floor is whitewashed and lovely (but needs a bit of a mop today). Under the couch.. there could be Muppets. The sort of fluffy wild eyed ones. I don’t look under there. You shouldn’t either – it’s not cosy under there, trust me.
Above the (toasty, burning) fire are two rustic wooden shelves full of vintage Ladybird books and 70s headphones and other bits and pieces…. We have three yellow 70s lamps and one red pendant light hanging from the ceiling. There’s a bottle of wine over there… and the empty one from last night is on the hearth. There’s a huge metal tub full of firewood and kindling and newspaper. And a basket of Lego. And a wine box full of old family photos which we’ve been looking at. And the mouse cage is on the floor next to two vintage suitcases full of classical records bought at an estate sale. cosy.
The trams thud, clatter and ding by…. People yell in the street for half the night at least… but we are, as I mentioned, cosy-town in the ‘Fireside Retreat’.
So, back to the less cosy mismatched tale of the small boy and the Fireside Retreat. The small boy was sent to his room for 5 minutes after approaching the snack laden coffee table (with both the Transformer helmet and an adult size beanbag on his head – skilled for sure). He returned to the Retreat (post five minutes) defiant, nostrils flaring and squinty eyed to spout the bracing truth only spilled from the mouths of babes. (And not often spilled in the inner sanctum, I might add.)
‘I KNOW what you’re doing. You’re just disciplining me! Someone did that to you when you were my age didn’t they? And that makes you want to do that to me! I’m right aren’t I? Well? Am I? Dad?! I wasn’t even going to press the Tranformer-button you know! Okay?! You should trust me! And say sorry to Mum. For upsetting me.’
Moral – no wee or walruses in the fireside retreat. You heard it first here.