Enthusiasm du jour

I blame my new entrancement on British television’s strange and profound talent for producing fascinating property shows. I could spend hour upon hour gaping mindlessly at the mundane but intricate strivings of perfectly ordinary people after the house of their dreams. But now I have encountered the pinnacle of this genre, a series (called Grand Designs) so entrancing that I am already laying plans to watch new episodes online when I return to the “Homeland” next week and am deprived of my Channel Four property-show fix. Each week new owners, some rich but many not, embark on the lengthy and always financially ruinous pursuit of an innovative home they have built, designed or shaped themselves. This evening the episode featured a couple who were determined to practice self-sufficiency in a giant octagonal hobbit-house built virtually single-handedly by the carpenter husband and roofed largely by the very able wife. By the end of the episode, despite ample evidence of the extreme hardship of the house’s birth pains, I found myself fighting back wild cravings to build my own residence out of straw bales (The house material of the people! Cheap, durable, replenishable! Anyone can learn to do it!), acquire a dry compost toilet (Not stinky at all! The man on television said so!), and invest in wind turbines. I am, I sometimes think, somewhat too suggestible.

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