This is almost like holidaying in a ghost story. The house we’re in is very noisy, in the wrong way. When you’re with other people you don’t notice. When you’re alone you start looking over your shoulder. And the house is only 35 years old.
I have a desk in a wardrobe here. It was all that was left when we’d allocated the bedrooms for sleeping in. So, I was sitting peacefully in my wardrobe just now, waiting for Daughter to get out of bed, when I heard her walking down the corridor. But she walked awfully silently, so when I wasn’t assaulted with a hug I decided I’d only imagined it. Then I heard unmistakeable bathroom sounds, and deduced she had simply been very quiet. Except she didn’t come out again, and on investigating, the bedroom door was still firmly shut.
All who have stayed here alone have found these spooky sounds very unsettling. A couple of years ago Daughter was left alone in the house for the first time, while the three of us went out to buy paint. This took longer than expected, so whilst in the middle of talking to someone in the shop, I had to throw my ringing phone to Son to answer. “Yes, we have all heard those sounds”, I heard him explain patiently to his sister. The Retired Children’s Librarian and Aunt K are amongst those who have suffered. But you get used to it.
My hands are shaking, but that’s because I have just taken the lawnmower for its ten minutes of slaughtering knee high grass. Then its battery dies, and you have to wait until tomorrow. High grass on a very slopey slope is no laughing matter, unless you fall down with the mower on top, which might look funny to any onlooker. This is behind the house, as the front of house grass gets cut by BMW-man. I let his ancient, pale green BMW sit in my garage, and in return he cuts the grass. I have no idea why, as he does all the work, and the BMW just sits there. I didn’t even know him when the BMW deal was arranged, although Mother-of-witch borrowed a pram for Son from the family, many years ago. So, maybe I have to get used to the idea of helpful neighbours.
We went into town yesterday (I’m sorry if this sounds like very long and boring postcard) and it’s got that small town feeling, and we saw the watch repair man and the dentist, and narrowly missed running into the optician. Waved to BMW-man and wife. The dentist plays tennis with BMW-man, of course. And the watch repair man spent an hour showing Daughter cogwheels and things from the insides of clocks, including a clockwork from 1750 that belongs to the Carl von Linné family. Perhaps I should send him a copy of the Philip Pullman book?
Will attempt to get back to more bookish subjects tomorrow.