Pale Days

By Alison February 20, 2012 5 Comments 3 Min Read

It is raining again. The cat is chasing raindrops down each each window pane and licking his paw to taste his imaginary prey. Though it is half-term, Finley is with his Dad, and Richard is working so I am here alone, with only a teetering pile of library books for company and a garlic stuffed chicken roasting for the sheer comfort of it.
The house is different now. Room by room all my yesterdays are being stripped away and flocked wallpaper peeled back to reveal pale walls and a new sense of calm. Over the past week I have been working my way through Trash It or Treasure It as if these were words written by someone else. Doing exercises I prescribed to all of you seeking a calmer tomorrow and discovering that mine is a past too loud to carry me into the future. A past I am not so much obliterating as cloaking in a creamy blanket, offering myself a blank canvas for a new palette of colour and experience.
I used to think that pale rooms were for those afraid of living life to the full. That layering a room in folds of bright colours was the only way to describe it’s Mistresses personality. That white or cream rooms were for women bleached by life. Women afraid to tell the stories of themselves. But now, slowly but surely life is insisting that I cast aside that which throws aspersions on other peoples lives and seeks to understand that not only are we all different, but that even we ourselves do not stay the same. That life shows us different routes on the map and demands new aesthetics as we move through the years.
Once upon a time, my Mum wandered around my house and said, in ten years time you will paint all this white and I laughed at her and told her she was wrong, that I was living out loud and wasn’t afraid to paint glorious noise on to walls I wanted to cradle me. Though I am her daughter and hate to admit that occasionally she is right, in this case, Mum was right (damn it!). I need the silence of creamy white now to lull me to sleep and soothe me when I am awake. I need quiet colour or indeed the absence of it, to hush the rainbow of noise in my head, and offer me the light and space I now seem to crave if I am to dream a more colourful life into existence.
A landing once haunted by green and gold wallpaper is now a symphony in cream, a cream bathroom at one end and a cream bedroom at the other. As I trash both my heartbreak and my rainy day clutter I am somewhat spooked to discover that what is left was acquired in one very short era of my life: that everything else was just the kind of more I didn’t need because I had already dressed my life in that which was quietly, authentically me. And so here I am: fifteen years on- the same but different. More colourful but somehow subdued. This house and I getting to know each other all over again though the eyes of someone who dares to peel his way through to the core of who I should be. Cracks mended. Holes patched. Pictures re-hung.
Tonight I am getting in bed early. Another tiny Susan Hill ghost story on my bedside and the Amber Noir candles that provide a deeply dark, moody edge to my fairy lit bedroom, already burning. First there will be roast chicken torn apart with my fingers and dipped into pesto mayonnaise. Apple and elderflower juice. Radiators piping so I can shrug off all these layers and un-fold a body scrunched up against what has seemed like quite the longest Winter.  Bare toes wriggling in newly cleaned carpets and rose -scented oil rubbed into skin still hot from the bath, to calm and balance the fluttery, relentless flow of scarlet red blood through tired old veins.
Yes, I am looking forward to tonight. A  pale Monday evening shrouded in blessed silence. Surely a gift from the Gods?


  1. Brunette says:

    Trash It or Treasure It is the best money I've ever spent. It's like a dear friend encouraging you as you free yourself from the carefully hoarded broken shards of the past to make space for a new kind of happiness and peace.
    May you find that happiness and peace as you knit the best of your past and present into a beautiful future.

  2. Brunette says:

    That sounded frightfully sappy, but I could happily write an ode to your downloads. 🙂

    1. BrocanteHome says:

      It didn't sound sappy at all… I was just about to sign off for the evening when I saw your comment, and it has simply made a lovely night even nicer. Thank-you: it matters to know you are making a difference.
      Happy Monday evening.x
      My recent post Pale Days

  3. Amanda says:

    Well it DID sound a little sappy to me, but a good cathartic kind of sappy. I find when looking back over the years, changes in me and the way I "decorate" my home. I think we all change, grow, mature, and evolve and as we do , different things appeal to us and complete us in a way. I think if you look at it as a kind of adventure on the road to the ever-changing you, you will see the sheer beauty of it and enjoy the ride for what it is. I see you are well on the road to deep thinking and that is a change from the deep-feeling that consumed you for a while. The is growth and change for the more healthy and as you continue down this road, you'll find the pain dimming and taking a lesser role in your day-to-day. That , my dear, is a good thing. I look for you each morning as I start my day, hope yours is a creamy-licious one. Love to you and Finn, Amanda

  4. Danielle says:

    Hi Alison. This post is so interesting! I have read your blog for years and it sounds like we're changing together. I have gone from splashing my home with colour and pattern and knick and knack to feeling the need for white everywhere and a clearing of stuff. I too have treasured pieces that I will keep but many duplicates (triplicates!) that I will rehome. They will somehow be more meaningful when placed alone in front of a white wall, than nestled behind twenty others of the same. I think this is what's called 'refining one's taste'.

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