Monday, July 21, 2014


Can you guess what this is for

Never mind, I'll tell you. 

Wood expands in hot weather and certain doors refuse to close quietly as usual. They have to be grasped by the hair, if they have hair, pulled hard and slammed hard.This doesn't always work on first attempt and so must be repeated, causing considerable ruckus on the premises. I live on the top floor of a house with three flats and do not like giving or receiving ruckus. Fortunately I have good neighbours and alleluia! quiet as well. So I can no longer sit back and wait for cold weather to restore my door's good manners. 

The problem is that there is nothing to grasp. There's no handle on the inside of my front door and that's why I make so much noise when trying to close it. In hot weather. 

Simple, you say, buy a handle and screw it on. Ah, yes, precisely. But I only decided an hour ago that the problem must be solved immediately and it's too hot to walk to the hardware shop which will be closed at this hour anyway. I had a cursory look through my extensive collection of bricolage materials and couldn't find a single handle. The only thing which looked remotely handle-ish was the round hole brass thingy (what are they called?) you see above. And the only thing which fitted tightly inside the thingy's hole was the handle of one of my oil painting brushes.

So, improvisation being the mother of invention, I screwed the thingy to the door at a convenient height for my hand, sawed off the thin end of the brush, pushed the fat part into the hole and presto! A graspable handle which is also, you must admit, original. And it works. I can now close the door quietly. Well, less noisily.


Ellena said...

And were you amazed to realize that this creative power of yours continues to make itself known?
I love this kind of cleverness.
Bravo on you, Natalie.

marja-leena said...

Ha! Clever and humourous! Very Nataliesque.

But, maybe a stupid question.... how did you open or close that door without a handle?

Tom said...

Perhaps the door can be opened and closed, under normal conditions, by inserting a key into suitable hole? Just a thought!

Oh that such ease of opening could be achieved with a door that expands because of wet weather, like during the winter months.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Ellena, I must admit I'm always pleased with the unexpected results of a bit of non-lateral thinking. Whether that thinking would work if I were shipwrecked on a desert island, I'm not sure!

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

There was never a problem opening it because there's a handle on the outside and also my key in the lock can pull the door open. And on the inside I can open the door by simply pushing it outwards. In cooler weather the door can be closed from the inside by just pulling a bit on the security lock. But in summer the door frame and the door no longer line up so you can no longer close it that way.
I know, I should just have the whole thing changed! But I'll keep my brush handle for now.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Tom, you're right, but read my reply to Marja-Leena. Key-in-lock doesn't work for pulling inwards on the inside of my door: nothing to grasp for the amount of pull needed to overcome the mis-matched edges of door and frame.

Adam said...

Thought it looked like a handle! If it works, then do it!

Catalyst/Taylor said...

Ingenuous. But we could have expected that from you, Natalie.

Lucy said...

I bet it'll still be there in ten years time now.

Never took our Natalie for an ingenue, Bruce!

Roderick Robinson said...

This has almost nothing to do with opening and closing doors or hot weather/cold weather or being kind to your neighbours. No, wait a minute, I'm going to excess as I usually do down this neck of the woods. It has ostensible links with those three matters and if it works and continues to work (the brass doodad looks a mite fragile) then it is - whether I like it or not - a door handle. But much more interesting is its unstated rationale. I had in mind to say "subconscious" rather than "unstated" but rejected that option; the distance between your subconscious and conscious states is measured in millimeters if not microns. You are custodian of what used to be called "a hard gemlike flame" (look it up if you aren't familiar with it) and this is merely the most recent proof. A few hours earlier further proof emerged when you dropped a comment in Tone Deaf, ostensibly (there goes that word again) referring to my post but overtly to insist that I read "Hot weather trivia". Which I didn't mind at all. There should be more up-front behaviour in blogging.

Reflect for a moment on the mechanicals in Midsummer Night's Dream. How are they identified other than by their names? I don't have to tell you do I? The tradition continued into the post-WW2 era in Wales with oral references to Dai The Milk, and Bryn The Bread. And now in a London suburb that tradition is reborn with Natalie The Paint. With hardware to underline the fact.

Now before your reach for your keyboard (you have a bad habit of grabbing hold of a single fact in my reasoned - and time-consuming - tirades) keep reading. I sympathise with this physical gesture towards the outside world. Nah, that's too feeble; I applaud, I clap my hands until raw. You are entitled and you would be underselling yourself if you withdrew it. Remember "gemlike". Trailing in your wake, somewhat, I'm inclined towards similar behaviour. Since all I do these days is write - as here - why shouldn't I call myself a writer? Actually there are several reasons why not, but you get the idea. I'm with you.

And this brings me to why I didn't comment on your Blaise Pascal illustrations. I felt sure I'd be misunderstood. So let me foolishly now do what I previously avoided. You are already aware of my regard for your abilities as a painter, etc. If not, let me say you have fused continuing imagination with digital skills of execution and come up with a style of your own. No more need be said since this is, I assume, every painter's aim.

Thus the problem with the BP illustrations in my not-so-humble opinion was not that they were in any way deficient - simply that they were too good. That they were in competition with the text rather than complementary to it. Now this is quite a fine judgment and you may say I, a non-graphic asshole, am not qualified to make it. I accept that, my only defence being that half of the BP project was text and text is my bag. Also I didn't issue this judgment at the time for the reason already stated. Which reason still stands.

Does the door-handle work well? I must rely on you to keep me up-to-date on this and that would require a certain amount of intellectual honesty. But if it does pull away I can say in yet another subjective utterance, that it did the other part of its role just fine.

If only words were judged by greengrocer's standards (ie, avoirdupois). Why I'd be a Golden Delicious.

natalie said...

Adam, it does work and I like its je ne sais quoi nonchalanc and Dada influence. Okay, it sort of works and is sort of fun.

Bruce, thank you so much for making me an ingenue, a genius and ingenious all at once. Flattery will get you everywhere, my friend.

Lucy, but will I still be here in ten years time? And if so, still able to grasp that handle?

natalie said...

Roderick!! I'm so glad I had the hutzpah/chutzpah/cheek/impertinence to demand a comment from you. You are always good value, if I may put it so crudely. Seriously, you have a talent for response: considered, attentive, appropriate response. That's quite a rare talent. I don't know if it's also manifested in your off-line human interactions but as a blog commenter, you could give classes! You are not a Golden Delicious (least interesting member of appledom) you're a Jazz, Pink Lady or Russet, the elite.

Now to reply: you hit a lot of nails right on the head (except for "Blaise Pascal" whose name was Blaise Cendrars, though this was a pseudonym for Frederick Louis Sauser). I too have been worried that perhaps I'd over-done my role as illustrator to this text. However, there's another aspect worth considering. The final form this book will have is in the "livre d'artiste" and/or Fine Press genre in which text,image, typeface, hand-printing, paper, binding, format etc. play complementary and carefully balanced roles. If you look up the Old Stile Press website and the kinds of books they have produced over the years, you'll see what I mean. That's not to deny the validity of the point you made but I hope that our book, when it eventually emerges in its intended form, will do full justice to the text. I tried to give a visual sense of its rhythm and passion.

Since I can now claim to be (one of) the keepers of the hard gemlike flame, I gratefully salute you.

Roderick Robinson said...

I live in Hereford the apple heart of Great Britain. Golden Delicious was deliberately chosen.

natalie said...

As they are neither golden or delicious I wonder how they acquired that misnomer? But bravo to Hereford's apple heart for attracting the Robinsons to its bosom.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

oops! mixed metaphor.

Ivy said...

I love this, Natalie. Really, it's perfect.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Ivy! It's you! Welcome back here and thanks. How's life in Australia? Hope all goes well.