A wild night of storm and rain, the wind still gusting round the house-top now as the sky slowly lightens toward dawn.
Up here in the garret where the Badger and I have our small apartment is a wonderful place for skies and weathers. Seagulls swoop and glide close outside the skylight windows and perch screaming on the old brick chimney framed in the window there – though today is too rough for any bird to attempt a rest on the ridge tiles.
I love this room, its sense of separation from the rest of the house, love watching the clouds scudding by, the moon crossing the night sky, and the stars and the rising dawn.
The Badger has gone back to Oxford for the working week after the Christmas holidays. I cannot recommend weekending; it is emotionally disruptive, and the continual adjustments create a psychological irritant. But being subsumed into coupledom is probably unhealthy, and the spaces between us can be creative.
Today Joe and Kevin, the team of builders with whom our decrepit old house has forged so close and abiding a friendship, are back, this time to gut the kitchen. It was cunningly designed, in the 1970s, in such a layout as to ensure that no matter where anyone sits, or stands, they will inevitably be in the way. And the worktops come to part of the way up the window, and a large blocky cupboard obscures the shafting light of the morning sun. We are about to change all that. But there is a complication. The previous inhabitants of this home had an interesting approach to DIY. Not long after they had the kitchen installed on the original floorboards, they embarked upon ripping up all the floors downstairs and replacing them with chipboard (in vogue in the 70’s). What to do about the lovely kitchen units they’d just put in? Simple! Cut round the floor boards they stood on and floor the spaces between with chipboard! Sigh. Therefore once everything is ripped out the dual-level flooring will also have to go. Underneath it, furthermore, there is a sort of basement – only 4 feet deep, a crawl space, where there previous owners of the house used to store their wine, accessing it belly-down on a skateboard. Every time they wanted a drink it necessitated a re-enactment of The Great Escape. However I think it would be handy to have a hatch into this space, to check for under-floor timber health, moulds, and presence/absence of rodents from time to time. Today (supposedly) it all begins (Joe and Kevin are about as predictable as the coastal weather). We shall be without a cooker and a sink for a while, and have migrated into the back sitting room with our fridge-freezer and a mini-oven and hotplate. We can wash up Amish-style and chuck the water on the herb bed just outside the door there. The kitchenised sitting-room looks homely and rather charming; it feels as though we’d gone away on holiday.
If I remember I’ll post pics of our progress.
365 Day 3
I have another hairbrush, so I took this one to bits, washed it thoroughly, reassembled it and sent it to the charity shop. Sometimes I take bits to the Shelter shop – Shelter, as its name suggests, works to provide accommodation for homeless people. Most of my 365 chuck-outs that go to a charity shop will go to Barnardos though. Dr Barnado set up orphanages, and I have known people brought up in a Barnardos home; they did not have a wonderful childhood, but a decent one at least, and spoke well of the care they received. Nowadays Barnados work for children has a broader scope. Their charity shop here is in a the town centre right by the bus stops, making it next to impossible to pull up alongside in a car. This may be why they are sometimes desperate for new stock – it’s a handy place to make purchases and a lousy place to make deliveries. I’ll go down there today or tomorrow with a bag of mixed items from me and from Hebe; we are all in the mood for a New Year clutter purge.