Wednesday, 3 August 2011

triangular houses.

In the advert for a certain three sided chocolAte the idea of triangularisation of everyday objects is intended to suggest a better dreamily perfect world. My family and I are once more staying in such a place on a gently undulating hilltop by the sea. It seems, however,that the designer of this particular paradise stopped at the houses themselves. There are no triangular recycling bins for instance. There are some vaguely triangular trees but they were the work of a different altogether more elusive designer. This triangular village is how England could look in a Aldus Huxley post war idyll. This feeling is added to by the mysterious total absence of phone signal and a phone box painted a disconcertingly minimally more yellow shade of red stationed by the tennis court. This place takes an idea of the same but different way beyond what I have experienced at caravan parks. For a start a caravan park, I assume, has to be flat and this place undulates in typically english proportions. When WE the residents walk around we all say hello and a mutual understanding that we have found a secret happy land seems to pass between us.
In all happy lands no one really mentions the parts that don't work especially if they are so fundamental they cannot be changed without ripping apart the very fabric of your society. something about the ergonomics of a triangular house make life literally clunky. The clunk being the sound of your head against the tongue and groove as you search for a stranded plastic soldier behind the sofa. Within the triangular home any action beyond simply sitting seems to take excessive amounts of forward planning, dexterity and bodily flexibility. Admittedly most of these actions involve plugging something in (phone ready should we venture beyond our village perimeter) but as any loft converter will tell you plug sockets weren't designed for slopping walls. Ones judgement becomes skewed here in the same way that it so thrilling when visiting a crooked house at a funfair. Our triangular home feels as if I tried to build such a wonky abode from a set of instructions but misread one vital step resulting in the creation of something unsettling but less visually dramatic. This seems to be a pattern in my life. I shoot for normal and things come out skewed. Still moving quickly on it strikes me that all the cabins (not a wholly satisfying noun in this case) are loft conversions without the main body of the house holding them up. Looking out at the world from a loft does create sense of otherness even alienation. What we could see as a poetic distance except here we are all looking out from our lofts at each other. Yesterday a lady came to our veranda and gave us their milk and a home grown cucumber because they were going back home. Home she told me was near the dartford crossing and so under the spell of her non essential altruism (surely a cucumber would keep on the journey home) I responded that we lived "near" Dulwich. This had the effect I hoped of making us seem of rather more ambiguous wealth than simply saying Dulwich would have done.
Last year a leather clad man named john strode up to the door of our loft. His mission to preserve utopia for his family before returning to work himself. It seems my sons had used non-utopian language and he was firmly ( I said aggressively) explaining how perfect life could be here if we all get along. At the end of the week John was back and I saw him at the bar (non triangular) reading aloud from a quiz book no doubt amassing triangular wedges in his minds eye. I pondered how John's utopia would probably be more of a Noel's house party kind of affair than the one I was imagining. Mr Blobby and triangular chocolate does have a certain inevitability about it though.
Note to self. My sons seem to have invented the art of shouting mastication.
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