Sunday June 25, 2006
When I walked through the door this morning the house smelled noticeably fresher than it has on any previous visit. One of the first things I did on completion was to go round and open every ventilation slot in all the windows; some of them were hard to open, indicating that they’d been closed for a long, long time. Combined with the banishment of all the plug-in air fresheners, the steady trickle of fresh air is beginning to have its effect on the way the house smells.
It’s a matter of taking the task in small steps. Each of them has a tangible effect, and each one advances the time when we’ll be able to move in properly.
I dropped my bags and bits on the kitchen counter and opened the french door in the dining nook wide, wedging it with the inverted black plastic recycling box that’d been left for us. Then I put the kettle on, and walked up stairs, opening a window wide on each of the two upper floors.
By the time I got back downstairs, one step at a time, sideways, because my hips have been troubling me today, the kettle had boiled and a healthy stream of clean fresh air was flowing through the door, up the stairs and out of the open windows. I mixed myself a cup of strong coffee, sat down, carefully, in the remaining cheap-o chair, and heaved a big sigh of relief.
I busied myself for a while tidying the pile of cleaning and painting materials in the kitchen, and set up the digital radio I’d brought with me on Graham’s insistence. Digital radio reception is very good indeed in the new house, and I was presented with a crystal clear transmission from BBC Radio Three, the premier classical music station. Good. The house seems to like classical music.
I pulled out my sandwich lunch, brewed another cup of coffee and sat down again. All was well.
I sat there for a little over half an hour, enjoying my lunch, the sunshine and the music. Everything was right for me, the absolute definition of all’s well.
And then, as I’d planned, I tidied away the remains of my lunch, rinsed my coffee mug, packed my bag and left it at the foot of the stair while I went round to close and lock the french door and the upper storey windows. When I snapped the radio off the house reverted to its own silences—when external doors and windows are closed the place is very quiet. Last of all, I sent Graham a mobile phone text message:
ON MY WAY BACK
Tomorrow we’ll both of us spend as much of the day in the house together as we can manage, getting to grips with the project, working slowly but surely, step by step. And that’s another definition of the meaning of all’s well.