Saturday 28th January 2012
Confined with Colin and his collections
“YOUR friend rang again. Be here in twenny minutes.”
I thanked him and continued with my writing. He went back into his bedroom and closed the door.
Colin was not talkative. For him, words were like the more precious items in his collection of antiques, knick-knacks and gewgaws: only to be brought out on special occasions and on the strict understanding that you were seriously considering making him a serious offer.
He was serious about everything. He did not smile, did not get excited, did not sing, dance, cook, read, wash or play games; mostly he slumped in front of the thing called television… oh, and did something called ‘car boots’. I knew that because he had announced it as we entered the flat after completing our journey from the Royal Oak into town, during which time he had said nothing at all.
He lived on the ground floor at the rear of a building with a small yard, which allowed him to stop the van right next to his door.
“Don’t park in the garage. Full up. Keep furniture in there.”
His flat depressed me. Everything was dirty, dusty or dilapidated. Black bags lay scattered on the floor; engine parts filled most of the greasy table; stacks of crates, laden with chipped crockery, rusty cutlery, and assorted electrical items, lined the walls.
“Car boots, house clearances, antiques. That’s me. And window cleaning. Get you anything?”
“A cup of tea, please.”
“Oh, right. Make yourself comfy.”
And he went straight out again, returning five minutes later with two very hot plastic cups of tea and several tiny packets of sugar.
“Caff just round the corner. Always go there. Get us pie and chips later, if you like.”
I used the bathroom, requested writing materials, chose the least encumbered chair, cleared it and an area of the table, sat, slowly drank my tea and waited for him to… er… well, say something, anything… or at least do something, you know, decisive… but he merely grunted and disappeared into the adjoining room.