Sunday, 7 July 2013


Still roughing it in crawl-space tents and sleeping bags? That’s so last century. Luckily Leah McLaren (Globe,6 July) brought me up to date on the deluxe trend in camping in Englandpop-ups with floors, beds, mirrors, and throw rugs.

Which reminds me of all the neglected areas in our lives here that could do with some glamour.

Dog houses, for example, are deplorably plain and without architectural appeal. No glass and steel facades, no studio space, no landscaped patio -- nothing at all for the esthetically minded dog.

As for the main house: utilitarian garages and basements have, thank God, been converted into man caves and entertainment centers, but attics and chimneys remain an uncharted wilderness. This shocking state of neglect was brought to my attention when a raccoon decided to take up residence in our bricked-up chimney. I was deeply embarrassed when I thought of the dusty chimney lining that greeted the new arrival. To no one’s surprise, she willingly left those dingy quarters for an airy cage offering a gourmet meal of tuna and a trip to another neighbourhood. Learn from my experience, people, and do not disappoint visiting squirrels and raccoons. Spruce up your attic now!

Driveways are another bleak area, a blind spot in our decorating scheme. We must make more of an artistic effort. Invite your local graffiti artists to bring out the spray cans! A few gang symbols will show that you are actively involved in your community.

Newpaper boxes and garbage receptacles are now called street furniture and an effort is under way to beautify them. But traffic lights are still embarrassingly drab. I’m so tired of that same old colour scheme. Can’t they think of anything except red-amber-green? It’s time the city gave citizens a choice. I for one would prefer softer pastels, but rainbow colours might be appropriate along the Pride Parade route, and dignified shades of grey and pinstripe would be great for the financial district.

Now that the construction season is upon us, and stop-and-go traffic during rush hour allows us to contemplate the paint on cranes and heavy equipment at leisure, I think we need something more soothing than alarmist yellow  – moss green or aquamarine might have a calming effect.

It takes years for condos to be completed. Has anyone given thought to the construction workers who are forced to use ghastly blue port-a-potties day in, day out. There is definitely room for improvement here: a little teak would go a long way. And pagoda-style towers might add a nice touch.

Which brings me to the most neglected of all public areas – the farm country we pass on our weekend outings. The arrangement of cows at pasture has always struck me as totally unsatisfactory – clumps in one corner, nothing in another. And don’t get me going on trees -- they have no fashion sense whatsoever, bringing out the same bark and leaf pattern year after year.

Yes, we have a long way to go, converting cows and trees into suitable landscape furniture. Join me now in petitioning your local member of parliament to remedy this appalling situation.

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