How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!
Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside--
Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown--
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!
Well, it is clear that neither the Strong Silent One nor I have the designer gene. We both have engineering aethetics. Function over form. And so it was with the back deck swing. Some rather unappealing red and white rope from Bunnings, attached to heavy-duty metal chain and unevenly knotted on the underside, and a recyled slab of timber painted Slate Grey (or is it MDF, I suspect an old kitched cupboard door was recycled - that's another story). The children love it of course and will swing at all hours of the day and night in the midst of a Canberra winter. But it wasn't quite the arts 'n craft, heirloom style or the modern, hip version that I wanted. It has subsequently had a rather unattractive metal clasp added to bring the ropes together so the children now have only one strand to hold on to. Practical but oh so not pretty!
It's become a metaphor for our DIY house renovation (and my sewing ability). It works, but it doesn't entirely come together in a pleasing way. I guess you either have 'it' or you don't. An elusive combination of time, imagination, a good visual memory and a stylish eye plus access to quality suppliers and a fair bit of knowledge or experience to begin with. Perhaps we need to work on some mood boards which I gather are the means to achieving a unified design. If only we had time. Might go and sit on the swing for inspiration and wait for the right mood to strike.
Poem by Robert Louis StevensonImage by me. Lucy the Irish Girl Guide doll, who stayed with us over the school holidays, testing the new swing.