Contemplating the unobtainable

Contemplating the unobtainable

Amy May 24, 2014

I am  really deeply tired.

That is not what this blog is about, rather than given this physical state  I allowed myself to sit down at nap time, guilt free, and indulge in a bit of Chelsea Flower Show magic. I love Chelsea, the show gardens particularly! I adore the immaculate lawns, the sharply clipped hedges, the beautiful ways in which water is used, the the flawless drifts of exuberant planting (and particularly how much ‘representation’ the BBC presenters seem to be able to read into a metre square of crazy paving). To me, it truly is magic!

But if you look a bit closer, you realise it is actually magic. In many cases there is no way many of the flowers would be in bloom simultaneously if they hadn’t been prepped for months beforehand in polytunnels. Many of the structures used also look amazing, but made of solid marble, are a bit beyond the budget of your average B&Q patron, whilst the sheer perfection of each garden I imagine is very difficult to maintain if it is also a working garden (i.e. at the mercy of people, children and animals).

Which got me thinking how I often chuckle at the ‘lifestyle magazines’ I also have a mild addiction to. Pretty much every issue is an ode to impractical perfection – country kitchens only available with artistically placed satsumas, a beautifully made up mother-of-four carrying home the week’s shopping in a wicker trug wearing a chintzy pinny, sprightly children running through fields in smocked white dresses (that are still white), and chickens sauntering about immaculate flower beds without the merest hint of eating/digging them up. Here are a few more examples of the beautiful yet improbable quickly plucked from my latest issue of Country Homes and Interiors…

I never put out my washing without also making sure I have my essential chicken, pot stand, jug and floral decoration.
I never put out my washing without also making sure I have my essential chicken, pot stand, jug and floral decoration.
Shabby chic living room
Household with toddler use books beautifully as side table.
Coastal living - hallway
A theme in all aspirational homes – rooms must contain a wicker basket with colour coordinated throw leaping out of it
Pastels country bedroom
Floral country kitchen
Except in kitchens where they are a guest at the dinner table

Now, I jest, but this is the very principle applied fashion magazines but with a homemakers twist – a guide to domestic airbrushing if you will. Not that I mind this unapologetic display of make believe, indeed I still choose to subscribe to such publications, and readily lap them up each time they fall on my doormat.

But that is part of the problem. A large part of my personality (for good or bad) has given itself over to being a dreamer – I crave unobtainable perfection. Yes I know in reality, living with a DIY enthusiast and toddler, my worktop is more likely to boast a collection of drill bits interspersed with rusk than a rustic hand tied posy, but it is a little difficult to accept.

Social media also seems to be having an impact of similar proportions on my being. Occasionally I am forced to ply myself away from the likes of Instagram and Facebook which often make me feel I am rather falling behind on my cocktail consumption, or that my life is missing necessary *sparkle* given that my only celebrity siting of late was Alan Titschmarsh purchasing a strawberry cornetto, and in such hot weather, a request for a selfie seemed rather unreasonable.

Indeed I do need to remind myself that most of the lifestyle accolades portrayed are a matter of perception and interpretation – (an ad man’s currency).

Still, I have always been taught to follow my dreams, so I have ironed my pinny for my next outing to Londis, a bag of easy-peels adorn my counter top, and I have popped a hydrangea head that the cat decapitated on my whirlygig.

It’s work in progress. See social media for updates.

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