The Old House

On a cold night there is a certain pleasure in stepping out of a warm bed in bare feet onto polished oak floor-boards, feeling the contrast against my skin as I reach for the chamber pot in the darkness. The floor is uneven, sloping back from the window towards the centre of the house, a soft glow of the light below filtering through the gaps. It is an old house, built in 1530 they say, it has settled slowly onto its rocky outcrop at the top of a hill, a gentle slope on one side, a precipitous drop into the ravine on the other. The house creaks and moves, I am not alone here, there are rare bats who  flit silently through the shadows leaving only the tiniest traces of their visits. There are other diminutive  creatures sharing my little blue bedroom and its red framed window. Moths fly up when I disturb the covers, spiders extrude their sticky webs across my brushes left unused on the window sill. Now and then I think I hear scamperings, perhaps my brother’s dog or a mouse searching for spilled biscuit crumbs.

The fine white sheets feel smooth as satin, the crumbling blue plaster reminds me of half forgotten dusty corners from my childhood, I feel at peace, protected from the outside by the warnings of the quartet of geese. At last the sun edges in through the un-curtained window, filling the eaves with warmth and the raking light revealing the layers of distemper and plaster stretching back in time.


At the other end of the day as the sun is setting, the last rays snatch the chance to seep through the play of leaves and leading in the window to charm me with a display of dappled fire on the rough plaster of the living room wall. The spiders have been here too but have scurried away into the dark alcove where Puss escapes for some peace.


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