from The Essential Paradise, series sourcebook
Doc. 7.91.01. Edit
Carousel is the private cottage of Lady Susie Cavaliere, on her family’s estate of Camelot, in the British Paradise Islands, featured in the Two Paradises fantasy/fiction realm as devised by author Jonnie Comet.
The elegant, romantic little cottage stands about 100 m west of Lady Caroline’s on the lagoon beach of Treasurers’ Cay. Built after a design for a sleepout found in an Australian architectural magazine, it comprises square sitting room, bar kitchen and compartmented bathroom in the central core, with a bedroom projecting to the front and a wider room, containing four-footed bath, chaises and the dining table with chairs to the rear. The house features nine identical sets of 40-inch double-leafed French windows giving out onto a verandah, 2.5 metres deep, that wraps round almost all the house, lending the look of a carousel and inspiring 11-year-old Lady Caroline to so name it when it was completed.
Construction is of 8-inch block, swathed in beige stucco, with lath and planking or wallboard for the inside finish. The roof is in the pinkish clay tile typical of Paradisian construction; the verandah roof, which extends over the front of the bedroom and the back of the rear room, is of a lower pitch and done in shallower tile, to inhibit lifting in high winds. The main floor is level with the verandah, which is only three risers (about 48 cm) from the grade; but the grade is elevated by almost 3 m above the crest line of the beach which is in turn about 1-1/2 m above the hightide line; and the cottage has never flooded. Each set of French casements is fitted with a weathertight threshold to keep out driving rain water.
Access to the cottage is via a gravel driveway extending up a mild incline from West Beach Road. Island purslane and heliotrope shroud much of the 40-m approach. Lady Susie usually parks her car directly in front of, or a bit to the west of, the bedroom wing; visitors such as Lady Caroline have been known to park at the base of the steps leading up to the verandah. Of the two pairs of casements facing the lane, the ones to the left (west), nearer the bedroom, are most typically used as the entrance. All the casements are fitted with overhead shutters, swinging up to recess into the ceiling of the verandah and closing securely via slide-bolts from inside. The shutters on the doors to the left in front and to the right in back (both nearer the west, towards the centre of the cottage), are fitted with door-handles so as to be turned from either inside or outside.
General arrangement Edit
The house, like much of the estate, was built according to English, not metric, dimensional conventions and stands 44 ft wide and 32 ft deep, including the verandah, with a 12- by-4-ft windowless protrusion in back, representing the enlargement of the rear room and corresponding to the width of the bedroom wing in front.
The window casements, 40 inches wide and 84 inches tall, of epoxy-coated aluminium, having double-glazed glass mullioned in a 2x7 pattern, are the same as those used throughout the Camelot secondary accommodation and for most of the windows in the castle itself. They latch via lever handles activating vertical bolts in the frame and can be cross-bolted from inside, typically in the face of heightened security concerns and subsequent to closing outside shutters in preparation for major storms.
Adaptation from plans Edit
Toilet facilities were altered from the original plans so that the bowl sits in its own compartment with doors both to the dressing room/lavatory and to the rear room with the bath. A stall shower stands in the section of verandah off the dressing room/lavatory, having an opening in the roof to admit sky (and rain, as it cannot be closed). Also not included in the original plans was the rear room, which was added to permit the dining table, at which Lady Susie often hosts friends for afternoon tea.
Originally the plans meant for the kitchen to be open to the sitting area where Lady Susie’s counter is, and for a dining table to be somehow accommodated in the smallish square sitting room.
Decor and furniture Edit
The motif is traditionally tropical, falling short of the campy by virtue of Lady Susie’s conservative preference for simple elegance over ostentation. The sitting room is papered in natural rice paper, finely textured, with the trim of pine clear-varnished. All the casements, including those to the bedroom, are dressed in full-length sheer white curtains. Two stools at the kitchen counter are raw bass or poplar with natural-rush seats, matching the four chairs of the dining table. Pretty rose-andmaroon covered chair pads are held to the seats with ties. The sofa and two armchairs, placed in the centre of the sitting room having casements to the verandah on three sides, are blond-finished beech with soft, buttoned cushions upholstered in a bold floral pattern of black, peach and pink upon white. The floor is covered in a wide round grass mat. A low tile-topped cocktail table of dark-stained mahoganystands in about the very centre of the room; one armchair is adjacent to the sofa and the the other stands aside in the front corner, flanked by a pale-finished etagere cabinet and a round wicker table with green-glass lamp. Several prints of paintings in nautical or tropical themes are about the few places of uninterrupted wall.
The bed is full-sized, standing with its rattan headboard against the windowless front wall, and is flanked by matching dressers of wicker, with varnished-plywood tops and lamps having rice-paper shades. On the wall above the bed is a wide, airy watercolour of a beach with multicoloured starfish, crabs, trees and shells. The doorway to the lavatory, a full-height mirror, and the double-leafed door to the wardrobe complete the opposite wall. French windows to each side, fitted with opaque white curtains, lead to the verandah (west) and to the sitting room (east). The walls are done in a pale mauve, the trim being left clear-varnished pine. Lady Susie ordinarily keeps a soft off-white summer blanket above the finished-cotton bedsheets with no other covers.
Her bath and table linens vary amongst pale beige, maroon and white. In the rear room, the table is wood, painted white, but the finish is either old or artificially aged so that much of it appears worn-off. An angled curio cabinet stands in the corner between two pairs of French windows. A chaise with well-faded darkred canvas seat extends out of the other corner.
The four-footed bath, of maroon gelcoat over fibreglass but meant to look antique, stands perpendicular to the front wall of the room, which is the plumbing core; the water taps protrude from the wall but turn to enter the bath from the side, allowing Lady Susie to recline with her back to the wall in order to permit a view of the room and, through the French windows, the verandah, beach and lagoon. She often receives friends and family from this position. The bath empties through an open pipe into a drain fitted in the planked floor that also receives water and suds from splashing and drips.
Systems and amenities Edit
The rear room, sitting room and bedroom are fitted with ceiling fans, each having five speeds controlled by wall-mounted knobs. An electric hot-water heater is located in one end of the bedroom closet, nearest the plumbing core. The cottage fireplace is small, added to the original design on the centre of the sitting room’s western wall, between the bedroom door and the kitchen counter. Lady Susie rarely uses it.
All ceilings in the three main rooms are open to the rafters; the underside of the roof is planked in reddish stained pine, resembling red cedar. Above the kitchen, toilet and lavatory spaces is a very compact attic fitted with a (necessary) passive exhaust fan.
Typically for outlying facilities at Camelot, the kitchen is modest, meant for only occasional cooking of and more for quick service of cold drinks and snacks. The refrigerator is set into the cabinetry and rising to create a 100-mm-higher counter above it. The sink is square, deep, of stainless steel. The cooker is electric, having three rings on top and a mid-sized convection oven; a microwave oven is built into the cabinetry above. Lady Susie keeps an espresso machine on the counter but it is not often used, as she prefers tea.
Toilet and lavatory Edit
The lavatory counter is in white cast resin, a full metre wide with a full-width mirror with side lamps above and small mirrored cabinets in the flanking side walls. There is no door from the bedroom. The doors to the toilet from the rear room and the lavatory are half-louvred, lending only sight privacy. The bowl itself is like those at the castle, heavy white porcelain with a high wall-mounted tank, connected by a polished-stainless-steel pipe and flushed via a chain with decorative pull. One overhead lamp permits reading; quite often Lady Susie (and even some guests will leave one door open to whichever end is not being used by others and sometimes even both open.
The door to the shower is effectively only an outside door (shutter) opposite the lavatory, hinged out in to the shower and usually left open even when Lady Susie is not staying here. The shower stall has a second door leading to the verandah outside the rear room’s west-side French doors; this is usually kept closed. The shower stall includes a seat about 1-1/2 m wide and a mirror on one wall that has been considered ‘too big’ by several who have showered there. Hooks to one end hold towels and clothing out of the stream of the water. The floor, though fitted with a proper drain, is a teak grating like that on a yacht, giving the look of a purely-outdoor facility. As the ceiling is open to the air, bird droppings are often a nuisance.
Carousel is frequented by Camelot Palace household staff who change linens and clean, restock food and supplies, collect laundry for the washing (typically done back at the castle) and maintain the cottage as circumstances warrant. Lady Susie claims to prefer doing much for herself; but she is not known to ever refuse their help when to admit them is not inconvenient.
Lady Susie left a pot of soup on the cooker too long in mid-1993, causing a small fire when the pot boiled over onto the ring. She was able to snuff the flames and to clean up the evidence and made no report of the incident till some weeks had passed, upon which notice her father chastised her, not for the mishap but for for being insufficiently prompt about informing him of its occurrence.
In early 1994 the cottage suffered shattered roof tiles and other minor damage when a limb fell atop the rear room during a hurricane. The damage did not admit more than a nominal amount of water, most of which found its way into the drain under the bath, and was repaired within a week, during which much else was tended-to about the estate. Lady Susie was weathering the storm at the castle at the time.
Appearances in the stories Edit
The cottage is mentioned in several Paradise One episodes taking place in 1994, but it is more fully described in The Seduction of Susie and in All In The Game. It appears frequently as a setting for Lady Susie’s adventures.
Author's concept Edit
According to Jonnie Comet, the concept of the carousel-like cottage came through his then girlfriend, who with the Author was an enthusiastic fan of the rock band Queen and encouraged him to compose a song, in the style of Queen's 'Seaside Rendezvous' or 'Old-Fashioned Lover-Boy', to be called 'Carousel'. The two spent much of the summer and autumn of 1977 on the idea but the song was never completed. Comet paid homage to this girlfriend, on whom the character of Lady Susie was based, by recalling her song idea as the name of Lady Susie's airy, lighthearted cottage.
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