The House

Do you have any of those fleeting, pixelated memories from very early childhood, which you’ve not necessarily been able to place into the context of anything else?

I have a vivid one in which I’m stood in the doorway of my grandparents’ house in August 1989 (I only know the date because my mum has kept a family diary for decades). I’m saying goodbye to some relatives as they leave a family party. I remember it because I heard the word, “fortnight” for the first time. Through a wound down car window, they said they’d see us in a fortnight, as they drove away in their beige car. It made me think about forks and knights, and I needed my siblings to explain its real meaning. There are many other memories – all just as fleeting and fragmented as that one – from that particular house, and they always seem so mysterious and magical. Maybe just because the wider detail, and explanations, are missing.

Over thirty years later I often walk past the same house, and from the outside it looks exactly the same as it did then. The same front door. The same lion-shaped door knocker. Same bricks, same roof.

I expect, and want, to be able to ring the doorbell and be embraced by my grandad – still in his ’70’s – and a plume of sweet tobacco smoke from his pipe. Behind him, I expect to see puffy maroon sofas, wooden cabinets stacked with crystal sherry glasses and toby jugs, and pale green lampshades with tassels on the end that I can jiggle between my thumb and forefinger. I expect to smell a joint of meat being roasted in an oven.

But I won’t, because it’s 2021 and somebody else lives there now, and they probably wouldn’t take too kindly to a random 35-year old woman knocking on the door expecting to find 1989, turquoise walls, a cream cake, and some relatives who left us a long time ago.

Plus, I need to hurry home and send an e-mail about an urgent matter. One which I doubt I’ll be recalling within a pixelated memory in thirty-two years time. And what time does Morrisons close during the week?

Time is a very, very strange thing. I am always pretty mesmerised by old buildings such as this. Those which have seen so much, and changed so little, plonked within a society that zips along and changes so frequently by contrast.

They’re building more and more new houses here in Faversham. But I’m glad they’re keeping the old ones too.

What buildings make you feel this way?

A beautiful drawing by my very talented mother

Song of the Day: Smashing Pumpkins – Beautiful

My challenge to you is to listen to this song and not fall absolutely in love with it. Beautiful by name, stunning by nature. It’s the final minute of the song and it’ll do things to you. And even if you’re not a massive SP fan (I’m not) you’ll be so thankful this band exists.

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