December 22, 2011

On Christmas and Murphy's Law

Okay, so this post was originally going to be about the pre-Christmas rush to prepare the House on Chambers for the arrival of my husband's relatives. I was going to tell you all about the very clever three step plan I had developed to make everything respectable (Step One: Complete any renovation jobs that time and budget will allow; Step Two: Do a cheap and cheerful temporary makeover where it counts, and; Step Three: Tidy up whatever can't be improved with Step One and Two). All accompanied with lovely (though probably slightly blurry) images of our progress.

And then things didn't go quite as planned....

First, the hardware for our new front doors never arrived. So (sans handles) our new doors are unusable, and remain closed only by the weight of a hefty bronze horse statue. Our guests will be greeted on Christmas Day by me leaning out the laundry window and shouting 'Come round the back!'. Not quite the elegant arrival I was hoping for...

Our Chinese bronze horse, valiantly holding the
new front doors closed against the wind

Then our garden, in what can only have been a planned act of sabotage, has decided to begin dying en-mass. A  large topiary English box that sits prominently beside the new (handle-less) front doors has turned up toes. It is one of a pair, of course, and I have been assured by the nurseryman that I have absolutely no hope of  finding a matching replacement. Meanwhile, five very large London Planes decided that they'd seen one gust of hot wind too many and promptly dropped dead. Farmer Joe and I have redirected part of the Christmas budget to replace three of the trees and are now spending each evening soaking the newcomers with a farm fire fighter unit - (as the nurseryman said "Remember, London's a swamp. You've gotta drown them!").

One of the replacement London Planes. Possibly the
most carefully tended tree in Australia.

The commissioned painting that would have hung in the entrance and greeted our guests as they arrived is no where to be seen, despite having been commissioned in August with many assurances from the artist that it absolutely would be ready for Christmas. But as our guests are no longer coming through the front door, I don't suppose that one matters anymore, anyway.

Considering these events, I've decided that Murphy's Law is nature's way of balancing out slightly obsessive perfectionists like myself. A bit of a reminder that some deceased plants and absent home accessories is not actually the greatest disaster that can befall a Christmas celebration. The crayfish is ordered, our relatives are still coming, and we've got enough good wine in the fridge, pantry and buffet to stock a modest sized liquor store. So at this point, I'm going to pour myself a chilled Sauv Blanc, head to the kitchen and get baking. Sincere warm wishes to you all for a wonderful Christmas, and thank you for sharing this second year of our House on Chambers journey. See you in January!

When all else fails...

Merry Christmas!


  1. Oh, Brooke. What a pain! But, all things that are out of your control and will, no doubt, not make any difference to your guests. I am sure everyone will have a fabulous time! And, if they feel like they have anything to complain about - just serve more wine!!

    Merry, merry Christmas to you and Farmer Joe. Enjoy your celebrations.


  2. Sounds like we live by a similar rule; when the going gets tough the tough start drinking!!!

  3. A gorgeous post, Brooke! It's refreshing to realise that even the most well planned Christmases can come unstuck . . . I'm just glad I can still pull the 'I'm just a kid' card at Christmas sans partner, and enjoy all that my mum and aunties have slaved over this year! To be fair, I do help with the table set up and cooking on the day, but can't promise I won't be a little seedy after a Christmas Eve session with my besty who arrives from Melbourne tonight. I figure I can get serious when I'm locked down with a hubby and little ones!

    Have a fabulous Christmas x

  4. You have a good life..cute those stripped slip covers.
    Have fun.

  5. I am sure you will have an amazing Christmas regardless of those little unexpected surprises <3


  6. Should I be honest and tell you that your post made me laugh out loud? You conjured such an Aussie image of shouting your welcome from the laundry window...Aaah...the 'plans of mice & men!' Glad you have a positive attitude to that inconvenient bloody Murphy (he was with me earlier in the week).Oh yes, that well stocked wine fridge helps too! Looking forward to journeying ( there such a word?) with you in 2012!
    x KL

  7. I can totally relate to this one. I can once remember being upset that my new curtains didnt arrive in time for a dinner party I was hosting. The party ended up being the most fun ever and who cares about silly curtains anyway. :)

  8. Oh B, your post did make me smile! Best laid plans and all. I know exactly what you're saying. We're doing some work on our place at the moment and it looks like a construction site. I have no idea how we will have things ready in time for Christmas. And for one who likes to be organised, I'm feeling very out of control! But like you say, just have to go with it - life's like that :)

    Have a wonderful Christmas!

    Abbey x

  9. I wouldn’t even notice the doors had no handles if I was greeted by that beautiful bronze (valiant) horse! And yes, if all else fails, a comfy chair and a glass of wine always does the trick for me. I’m sure the day will turn out perfectly anyways, how can it not when you have such beautiful surroundings? Wishing you and farmer Joe a very Merry Christmas on the farm! 

  10. Oh! The dying plants. . . I hate it when funds have to be re-directed to the garden/fixing cars/insurances & all of those 'more important' expenses than soft furnishings! I bet u had such a good Christmas day anyway did you! I'll admit. . . Sometimes I get anxious over my To Do At Home list and then if u think about it people spend years collecting & curating their spaces. . . We'll get there! Happy holidays! Looking fwd to a door handles post!! LovT

  11. Look forward to seeing some photos :))))


  12. Chin up Brooke, It will all come together for you. I love your last photo.

    Also a quick thank you for joining our little blog during our travels to Queensland and our reno journey. We have now landed and have internet connection.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    Have a great day.

    x Jode

  13. I was just dropping by to wish you a Happy New Year and thank you for visiting my place and your special comments. I look forward to engaging more with you in 2012. Cheers SpecialK XoXo

  14. Oh yes...Murphy's Law...wishing you a wonderful 2012!!

  15. Happy New Year!!! I mentioned your blog in my post today.


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