Coming home

Thursday 10th May 2012

POOL of water on the kitchen floor. Have I been sloppy at the sink? could a puddle that size really have come from the sides and bottom of the weekly-scrubbed green waste bin? or is the radiator leaking?

Ah! It’s coming in through that crack, under the skirting-board: rain water, exploiting gaps in old stone and flaky mortar; like children darting through throngs of adult legs.

These things happen. That’s why towels were invented.

I’ve lived here for almost a dozen years. The plan was to try and survive financially until my younger daughter completed her GCSEs. She sits her university finals this month and no doubt many of her friends will be popping in when she returns home for some of the summer.

I can’t think of anywhere in the world I’d rather be.

Like the leaning tower of Pisa, it is a listed building – a poor joke, too often repeated, but I can’t help occasionally telling camera-pointing passers-by about the sloping floors and ancient beams.

The attic has defeated the central heating, willingly admitted the drip-drop of melting snow, provided shelter to nesting wasps, and may well be sub-letting to families of woodworm and death watch beetle.

The boiler often needs re-booting; the windows rattle in strong winds; we need new dining chairs; a bigger bath would be nice; the cupboard under the stairs is too small; everything needs a fresh coat of paint; I really ought to get the piano tuned.

But from the moment I moved in, it felt like coming home.

Perhaps it has something to do with being called Marcus and (what are now) two Classics scholars living in (what was) Corinium, the second largest town in the Roman province of Britannia; or the proximity of adequate shops, pleasing architecture, and abundant countryside; or that I am renting it and therefore don’t have to lose sleep over puddles of water appearing in the kitchen.

I like getting older: it’s easier to find a perspective.

And you place a greater value on history when you start becoming part of it yourself.

 

 

 

 

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