Thursday, September 7, 2017

Stripey House

I've been meaning to photograph this house for the last few years. It's on a tiny side street and it's not the kind of place you'd happen to wander past -- you really need to try to go there. So I never made it until last weekend, and unfortunately, I missed seeing the house in its heyday.

It's covered in plywood now, and not very photogenic, but before the plywood went up its owner -- who has the fantastic name Zipporah Lisle-Mainwaring -- painted it with bright white and red candy stripes. That was in March 2015, and it led to a very public legal skirmish with her neighbors. They accused her of painting the house out of spite, because they fought her plans to demolish the structure and build a new home.

Lisle-Mainwaring denied that was her motive, and recently won a court battle, allowing her to keep the stripes. Unfortunately they've since been obscured by the plywood, which appears to have gone up in anticipation of some greater renovation.

The stripes are only visible at the top of the exterior wall, where they match beautifully with the next-door neighbor's trailing geraniums. Personally, I thought it was a pretty cool paint job.

I'm watching Hurricane Irma with dread. My mom and brother live very close to its projected path, up the Atlantic coast of Florida. Mom says she will evacuate if necessary, but for now they can only watch and wait. The storm is still far enough away that a wobble in any direction could make a big difference.

For a while it looked like Irma might follow the path of Donna, which went right up the center of the state in 1960 and is a legendary storm in peninsular Florida. My great grandmother, who lived in the small Central Florida town of Avon Park, said afterwards, "I wouldn't name a dog Donna."

Meanwhile, things are pretty calm here. Dave came to my desk a couple of nights ago, as he was leaving work, to ask what he should buy for dinner. Ever thrifty, I pointed out that we still had leftover cheese slices in the fridge from the Sally lunch a few weeks ago. "Let's have cheese sandwiches," I said. "Or Welsh rarebit! We could use up the soy sauce!"

He mocked that suggestion, and it was only after he left that I remembered Welsh rarebit uses Worcestershire sauce, not soy sauce. Oh well. I knew it was something brown.

And then I got home and, lo and behold, he made grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup! Thriftiness wins! (And by the way, that meal is hard to beat -- which is good, because we have more leftover cheese and now leftover soup as well!)


  1. Nice to learn that at long last you are bringing Spendthrift Dave to heel. Clearly he is now absorbing your more economic approach to culinary matters. My fingers are crossed that Irma doesn't devastate the Atlantic coast of Florida. She appears to have obliterated Barbuda. Perhaps that was her worst.

  2. I read in the paper this morning that Florida already has a gas shortage due to people filling up their cars in preparation for this storm. I'll just be so damn glad when it's over. I hope your mom doesn't have to evacuate. It's all so damn scary.

  3. This leftover business could go on forever.

  4. Something brown - hahaha! And that's why I'm rarely allowed to experiment in the kitchen :) Grilled cheese & tomato soup sounds FABULOUS.

    We're potentially going to have to batten our hatches too - we're remembering Hurricane Hugo from 1989 - it totally devastated the area where we live now. Well, I guess it was more tree damage than house damage. Many folks were without power for two weeks.

  5. Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup: one of SWMBO's specialities. Sounds like Dave is a pretty good cook, too. The hurricane looks awful and now I hear there are two more behind it. What a season.

  6. I worry about everyone in the path of Irma. Nature's power is without compassion. Hope your family stays safe.

    Leftovers for the win! I do love a good thrifty TASTY meal.

  7. I love the stripes but I wonder what she is up to now.
    There is a nice little restaurant within walking distance from my house that does an excellent grilled cheese and tomato soup combo. Of course, I can make a decent grilled cheese myself but that tomato soup is the best.

  8. I am intrigued to follow the further chapters of that striped house. And grilled cheese and tomato soup, yum. I think I will do that for dinner tonight. Thanks for the inspiration.

  9. I remember reading about the stripey house, love it! Too bad they are going to make it more suited to it's neighborhood.
    Also , you can not go wrong with that dinner! A crowd pleasing feast for any age!

  10. I like the look of those stripes there. Very creative. It'll be interesting to see what she does next. Grilled cheese and tomato soup is the very definition of comfort food. Yum! Wishing your mom and family good luck and safety during this monstrous hurricane heading their way.

  11. The flank wall of the house to the back of us was painted rusty red once and I loved it, the reflection in our kitchen was so lovely, but we were the only ones who liked it, the neighbours complained to the council but didn't get anywhere. The new owners have repainted it white and it is so dreary now.

  12. I want to be best friends with the person who paints her house with red stripes, but I've read that she is rather prickly. She's demolishing the house as she originally wanted, to build one that will accommodate a pool in the basement. I can't wait to see what's going to go above ground.

    What the hell. Pool in the basement. I'd still want to be friends with her no matter how bad her personality was.

    There is nothing, nothing on Earth better than a good tomato soup. I had a great bowl of tomato soup in Edinburgh in 2006 that I still recall vividly with great pleasure. When I went back in 2008, the restaurant was gone so I have to hold on to the memory as the tomato soup against which all other tomato soups will be judged.

    HERE is where I wanted to say that your grandmother is funny.