Thursday, September 28, 2006



Sometimes Julian and I are the thundercloud and the turtle: One obliterates the other or the other hides from the one. Whichever way you look at it it’s not very creative. However, at other times, probably when we are not both trying to be right, our differences morph into a perfect yin-yang thing.

Julian is a dreamer: He mulls. He tinkers. Sometimes for years. Sometimes things never get started and often they don’t get finished. An apple in the corner of a three thousand dollar painting is, apparently, five years later, still imperfect. The layers of dust accumulate. It really pisses me off. Then, one day, something like postcards; something that could never have been achieved without a great deal of mulling, or humming for that matter, is born.

I, on the other hand, am a doer: Julian can be talking vaguely about one of the things on which he is mulling, and I pick up the phone and speak to the guy and he’s round the next morning and we have a quote. Trouble is sometimes it’s the wrong guy or, because the mulling hasn’t quite matured, the thing is in the wrong place. Sometimes it all has to be knocked down. Sometimes someone gets hurt. It really pisses him off. Sometimes, however, something happens within seconds that we didn’t think would happen for years; something actually materialises.

“I hate it when you’re not here” The Muller has been saying during a summer of absences. “There is so much to do and I can’t do it without you.”
"Bah" thinks The Doer.

I had been home for a month. Nothing much was getting ‘done’. I was available but life seemed to be trickling on in just the manner it had been trickling before except that the mulling was a bit more verbal, the humming louder, and the desire for action was bursting in me. It was beginning to piss me off. Then, on, my last day, the endless fantasies about the kitchen – moving tables to be flush with windows, posing with knives in front of imaginary countertops, discussing whether it would be a sin to cover the ‘original’ cement tiles (yes it would but hey, in the end, we just don’t really like them and you cannot get them clean) – blossomed. Julian had the idea, I made the calls, we made the trip, I wrote the letter. Two more hemp floors were booked and material ordered, terra cotta tiles checked out (and a dinner invitation received from the delightful
cabinet maker), a decision was made about lighting and doors and windows. Maybe before Christmas we might even have a kitchen!

What would happen if we learned to act like such an amazing team all the time….?! Scary.



Anonymous Anna said...

So Ruth, I'm curious - whose idea was it to relocate to France? and who got it sorted?

6:16 PM  
Blogger MB said...

Oh, hold on ... to something! I hear kitchen remodels are very trying. But this sounds wonderful!

7:31 PM  
Blogger ruth said...

anna, julian was living in France when we met. he got made redundant and came to visit his best friend and stayed. we then bought a house in England, lived half here and half there and hated it so then decided to sell up and go full time in France. A great decision and one of the easiest ones I've ever had to make. just felt right.

11:11 PM  
Blogger ruth said...

oh and by the way, the cement tiles are selling in Paris for €160 a m2/. Maybe we should keep them after all....

11:14 PM  
Blogger Lesley said...

For me, it's like living on sand. You think you've just found the perfect equilibrium and then something in the dynamics of the relationship shifts very slightly and you have to start finding that ideal modus vivendi all over again.

9:09 AM  
Blogger Debre said...

Is it possible to have someone remove the cement tiles so they may be salvaged for reuse by someone else?

3:24 PM  
Anonymous James said...

I'm a 'muller'... Fiona is a 'doer'... I highly recommend this combination! There's something exciting about being pissed off followed by 'wow, that worked out really well'...

1:51 AM  
Anonymous Natalie said...

Ruth, this could be an almost exact description of the dynamic between my ex and me (he as the muller, me as the doer). It was the source of much of our friction but also much of what attracted us to each other. In the peculiar way that we often re-create our original family dynamics, in this marriage I was playing the doer role of my father (who was really a muller) while the ex was my mother (really a frustrated doer).Ach! It's so damn complicated. But I think you'll work it out together and your beautiful environment helps too.

4:57 AM  

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