Yesterday’s brain, under surface calm assertions, sounded like this:
‘Oh. The twenty-sixth day of May? We could be moving house in four days. Four days, or five? Five years since I started stripping the bedroom wallpaper, but we never had the money for paint. While Boy is doing his exams? We have no boxes. Will the big cheque clear in time? To give notice requires 30 days. Where did I leave my coffee? Stop eating sheep poo, Fat Beagle!’
Farmer Landlord phones that evening:
‘That’s fine dear, you sort yourself out. Take your time over it- that’s fine, yes, no, don’t pay us any more rent, that’s fine. Longer someone stays in the property, the better for us, if you see what I mean.’
Quick words construct sentences. Regret in every pause.
Assuming, self-assuredly, the sought cottage is rented to us, between there and here, a buffering state is mapped. Out comes the elderflower champagne, it flowers effusively all over the kitchen floor.
This morning’s brain, dredged grudgingly from dreams, sounded like this:
‘6am? Please stop snoring, Mr… Why can’t I sleep through this? Coffee… 6.30am? That nudge would have woken a stone, yet Mr can sleep through… Coffee!’
Take brain down to sit at the kitchen table, set up laptop, steam up kettle, make a dark tower in the cafetiere. The table has splayed legs, which I forgot once, and broke my toe.
Drink coffee. Only two bottles empty on the draining board. Hob is stacked over with supper plates. The steel gleam of the double oven goes on the list of things I will miss.
When Farmer Landlord first moved to Rosehill, he was 11 years old. Previous occupants had painted the interior with red, lead based tractor paint and ducks lived in the middle porch. His mother had the kitchen renovated, he told me:
‘What was that year called, when England won the World Cup?’
‘Twas that one, yes.’
The table was crafted by the local undertaker: I imagine coffins made of oak and Formica. The work surfaces confirm that Mother was short. She had a new fangled cooker, coal powered, which caught fire. Mother went straight to fetch the axe: she broke that home wrecking iron oven to pieces.
‘Tiny little pieces, it was.’
Behind the broad gas oven there is still a scorch mark.