Accidental places..

Houses, I have noticed, have people in them, but only become interesting when people have their houses in them as well.

Some houses are good to visit and some houses are inspiring. The reason for this variation is hard to pin down. There are homely homes that are furnished with unremarkable bits and pieces, in a variety of unconsidered patterns, and yet you think that you could just hang out there a while. Perhaps the ambience is just the way it happened, it just is, perhaps "can't be fussed" is a new designer trend. To say that homes can have no spirit of place, because there is no such thing as spirit, is absurd.

If you were to set out though, to find this elusive quality then, sadly, you would visit many churches and chapels without getting a whiff of it. There are some that seem to say that if you return when there are people about then you would get a welcome. Why are all churches not like that? The one on the main square at Tenby manages to hold signs of human life rather than just dead-cold air and stark, unfeeling neatness. That abandonment of heart is not just the way it is.

Wealth can ruin cosiness, as it does other sufficiencies. Stately home owners throw money at items as functional as a thing you plonk your bottom on. The result is gilded curlicues and furbelows in celebration of the posterior. I could not be doing with it and would be off to the servants' whitewashed accommodation for a bit of steamed pud with Mrs. Dumple, the Zen Buddhist cook, and Old Stanshall, the wrinkly retainer. More is not always better; otherwise those fevered Faberge eggs would be worth a second glance.      

Homes occupied by well sorted, all together, people can be desirable in a very different way, all squareness and straightness, with lots of no frills storage units. Houses for control freaks who like to look out of glass walls and across the gnome-free gravel   to the edge of the chaos world of nature. If you can't do the arty look, then live in a machine. It definitely has its attractions, for five minutes at least.

Lots of light enhances simplicity by making everything clear and honing edges. One Dutch master painter, at least, used some trick of lighting to get the crystalline perfection of their works but, am I alone, in sensing that clarity has a cool nature? It's the sort of cool you sense when you open the fridge. No need for any emotional response; that is just the way it is. The same quality is mixed into those cold blue on icy white Delft tiles that can affect the feel of a room. They evoke imaginary scenes of stark landscapes, grey skies, windmills and geese. That's just the way it is; something like parts of Holland, or the A47 road to Yarmouth, without the candy floss at the end.

Everything has its own intrinsic quality, of course, though it can't be seen by thinking hard.  If that quality did not exist, cars would just be tools of transportation, houses would not need makeovers, and L.L-B would be out of work. It's a dreamy aboriginal thing for relaxed