On Not Being Precious.

By Alison August 25, 2005 2 Comments 3 Min Read


I knew this girl once. She bought a dining room table and chair set, and she was that proud of it, she didn’t take the plastic it came in, off. If you went for dinner, you had to sit squirming uncomfortably on the clingfilm covering the beautiful cream upholstery.

On one memorable occasion, she threw a little soiree. We were all very excited until we received a little note warning us not to bring red wine as it was strictly banned in her showhouse, in case heaven forbid, we should spill it on the pale carpets…   

So being the obedient little souls that we are, we all dutifully bought our Chardonnays, removed our divine spiky heeled shoes at the door and sat terrified in her perfect living room. A room where candles stood unburnt (She didn’t like how they looked after they’d been burnt!) and cushions stood on their tippy toe corners, just daring us to mess them up.

And accept for one gloriously gay, gloriously outrageous man who declared "Sod this for a game of soldiers!!" and proceeded to get ludicrously drunk on the bottle of merlot he had stuffed inside his overcoat, we were all terribly, awfully well behaved: and I confess absolutely astonished when our dear hostess’s behavior, changed dramatically from nervous and uptight to paralytic and insulting, and culminated in her running around the house with one of the "best" hand towels wrapped around her head.

It will be no surprise to anyone that the night ended in tears.   

In my world there is no such thing as perfect. My standards slip at the drop of a hat, should life offer me something that little bit more delicious and  I don’t believe in saving anything for best (life is way, way too short!)

I haven’t got any "best" china: no parlour we use only on special occasions. I wear deliciously fabulous diva underwear under my decorating clothes, spray perfume behind my ears to wash the dishes and the thing I hold most dear isn’t a piece of expensive jewelery (Lord knows I haven’t got any!) but a gorgeous letter my Nana wrote to me a few months before she died, that in just a few scrawly words summed up all the joy and trauma involved in the turbulence of being on the brink of adulthood…

Those of you who know me, know I don’t believe in being precious: that the only things that really matter to me are my immediate family, and that I really don’t care about anything else.

This is something that lies at the heart of BrocanteHome, that, in fact, encapsulates all that BrocanteHome is about. If we find a dust covered plate under a pile of somebody elses junk and brush away the years of dirt to reveal something breathtaking, all too often we take it home, and store it out of the way or hang it on a wall, without doing it the honour of using it in the way it was intended. We keep bottles of perfume until they go off, beause we are saving them for the gracious occasions that never come our way, simply because we refuse to recognise the grace in our everyday lives …

Today eat your dinner on your Christmas day plates. Pour water into your crystal glasses and leave one standing next to the tap to remind you to make life that little bit more lovely. Spray copious amounts of perfume into the air in your bedroom and take a nap in the glorious scent of you.  Wear diamonds to go the supermarket and housekeepers, if you do indeed find that your worst fears come true and you lose an earring or smash a plate, then just for once have faith. You know life has a funny way of providing what we truly need. Even if it is a "once in a lifetime" treasure….


  1. Susana says:

    It is wonderful to treat each day as if it were a special occasion. Juan came home for lunch yesterday, and I served him some pineapple mango juice in a crystal champaign glass, put in some ice, and topped it off with a bright green straw. He loved it, and said he felt so special. 🙂 Life is for living, and it's so fun to do ordinary things in extraordinary ways! Thanks for the article Alison!

  2. Savannah says:

    You have written a great truth here, Alison. This is a concept I struggle with, but oh, how true…

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