Thursday, 7 March 2013
At home but not....
If you didn’t know the calendar or you’d been in a coma for years and suddenly woke up this very morning you’d have sworn it was a summer day, perhaps in a month like July or perhaps early August. The dawn had that clear, bright and shimmering blue sky that always seems to make summer mornings so fragrant, happy and welcome. It was as if someone some place, perhaps a deity if you believe in that sort of thing had mistakenly flicked the wrong switch this morning and in place of a moist March morn we had a sensational summer start. However, it wasn’t long before the day itself said a variant of ‘hold on..wait a cotton picking second….this isn’t right’ and from summer beginnings we were plunged back to a more seasonal soggy sea mist creeping gently in from the distant place where sea mists live. It’s been hovering around all day and floats by in pockets, sometimes thick and dense, otherwise weak and wispy, yet always clingingly moist, unenthusiastically damp and very nearly oppressive.
Does that sound like I’m complaining? I’m not, I rather enjoy days like this, you know when it’s neither one thing or the other, or as my granny would have said, a day ‘that can’t make up its mind’. I guess I like days like this so much because it is like a weather manifestation of myself, I’m neither one thing or the other at the moment and decisions take a long time coming. Although hopefully I’m not quite so cloying or damp, well except at certain times when a little dampness comes in handy!
I’m in a state of flux at the moment, nothing is as it seems, I’ve moved into a new flat, yet it isn’t a home, for a start I have so little furniture, a bamboo two seater sofa and a matching chair snagged from a charity shop for £20. A square wooden patio table and folding chair borrowed from an ex, that really has truly been a life saver and its those few items that make up my lounge. The bedroom is just as sparsely furnished, I lay may head on a foam sofa bed from the mid 90’s given by the aforementioned ex, a disposable cloth and pole wardrobe affair that contains my two holdall’s of clothes and a couple of cardboard boxes that make an ideal TV stand. The kitchen has the essentials, a cooker, a kettle, a toaster, a toasted sandwich maker oh and a purple chopping boards and washing up bowl. There isn’t a refrigerator, mind you there isn’t any room for one in there, so I’m making do with things that don’t need chilling, like UHT milk and those little plastic squares of synthetic cheese that don’t go off if not eaten within a hundred years of their ’sell by’ date! The flat is a one bedroomed place on the ground floor of a converted home in a Victorian terrace up a hill. The building itself has seen better days, it creaks a bit and the plumbing shakes, rattles and makes more noise than a late running 9.35 express train. Oh yes, that’s another thing, there is a railway line in a tunnel not far away under me, which causes some sound and vibration. It isn’t really noticeable during the day, but at night when the ambient noise is so much lower the distant rumble of a passing train sounds like the earth grumbling and moaning below. Think of distant thunder that repeats itself or has the shh shu shh shu shh shu of train wheels going down a track and you’ll probably have an idea of what sound tingles my ears in the wee small hours.
I have a television, but no TV aerial, although there is a satellite dish outside, so I’ve not really watched the box for sometime, other then when doing laundry at my ex’s house or peering in shop windows during the day. It is odd to me how much I miss the relative relentless garbage telly offers as well as not missing the constant stream of news that used to fill my days so much. How can you miss TV and yet not miss TV at the same time? I don’t know, but it’s true and even as I type that I know it sounds so conflicted and contradictive but in my head and to me it makes perfect sense. I’m not sure I even want regular television anymore, although I wouldn’t be without my old telly set, complete with its inbuilt DVD player.
I’ve no pictures on the walls, no photos of people or places commemorating happier times or locations adorning the mantelpiece or my singular table. There are no shades around the lights, just the bare bulbs hanging down, which burn down with a ugly harsh glare that is either aesthetically inhospitable and callously unsympathetic or starkly comforting in true minimalist form, I’ve not made up my mind yet, it doesn’t matter anyway, for I’ve no money to do anything about it either way.
The painted wallpaper upon the walls is neither new or fresh and carries the stains, marks and evidence of many a former tenant, which to some could be both soothing or alarming depending on a point of view, I fluctuate between the two on a regular basis. The paintwork around every window is chipped, cracked and in one of two places a little flaky, apparently it’s because the new doubled glazed windows have only recently been installed, although judging by the aged look of some of those chips and cracks, recently could mean up to two years ago. I suppose when I have some money I could do something about it, like do some painting, but that’s the thing with rentals isn’t it? Sure you want it to look nice and be a home, but at the same time it isn’t yours and you do you really want to spend money doing up somebody else’s property?
So here I sit, on a folded wooden garden chair gazing out of the window at a strange and mysteriously misty landscape and whilst this is my home at the moment, I’m not at home!
© 2013 Copyright to Jason Shaw
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