Behold! The house. Isn’t he handsome? (Just you wait for the spring, when the vines creeping across the exterior sprout their leaves. It’s going to be extremely quaint). This is the Lupton family home, located just north of the Thames, and west of Chiswick Park. A wealthy suburb of the great bustling city of London to the east, Chiswick is home to London’s oldest brewery (Fuller’s), a variety of excellent cafes and bakeries (thank goodness), fancy cars, Michelin-starred restaurants and – for the next five months – us.
My great aunt and uncle bought this house after the war, and their son Jude has lived here ever since. It is quirky, old, and beautiful. Each room is filled with art, train paraphernalia and antique furniture.
The kitchen overlooks the garden to the back. It boasts the usual tiny fridge (you can see it there, bottom left), tiny stove (self evident), and white and blue china. Off to the right is a darling (although slightly uncomfortable for long-limbed diners) eat-in nook, not pictured because it is strewn with Jude’s train time tables, cold medication, marmalade, scrap metal, dentures, and important papers.
While not particularly Leo friendly – note the fridge door handle, washing machine buttons and stove knobs at toddler height, not to mention the heirloom crockery shelves, garden chemical/cleaning supplies drawer, and electric heater – the kitchen is one of Leo’s favorite places to be. He especially enjoys interacting with Jude (who is mostly deaf), the washing machine (which lights up), and the giant pigeons outside the window (that freak me out).
Our bedroom is on the second floor, and overlooks the street. It has gorgeous morning light, and is my favourite place in the house. The TV is mostly decorative (ha*) but last night I did enjoy a program on Victorian baking, so there’s that. You will also note the clothes drying by the radiator, which is a constant vista here due to the very environmentally friendly and economical reality of the no dryer life. Sure, your underwear feel a bit crispy for the first few seconds, and no air-dried towel can compete with the perfect fluffiness of a machine-dried one, but in the face of global warming I think it is a sacrifice we should be quite happy to make. Even Leo’s cloth diapers dry without a machine! Imagine.
Speaking of Leo, his room is also on the second floor. It faces the back garden and gets lovely afternoon light. My dad’s cousin Julia was kind enough to find us a crib and a few toys for Leo. Since then I’ve added a few things gleaned from the very fabulous second hand shop, Fara, just off the high street. Last week I scored a cheap Fisher Price toy garage and it is the freaking love of Leo’s life. We have to “put it to sleep” before every nap as well as bedtime so that Leo is not tempted by its plastic charms. Ha.
Well, the little one is awake and we have a sunshine-filled day to explore. The rest of the house will have to wait.
*sarcasm – TVs are always ugly