Damn, I am having to keep the place tidy. I was reminded of this when the estate agent rang at the ungodly hour of 9.30 am to schedule in another house-viewer. I have been going around dusting with old vest, feeling like one of those women from Last of the Summer Wine or Mrs. Ogmore-Pritchard, telling the cat not to breathe on the furniture. I lit a sandalwood joss stick and the place smelled as though someone had just been smoking dope. Hippy chic, makes a change from coffee and freshly-baked bread. Vacuuming is out of the question. But I have emptied wastepaper bins, cleared surfaces and stuffed things under beds. Someone came with baby in the crook of her arm. The house spoke to her, I could see by the way she looked out of one of its windows. Imagining.
“It’s lovely,” she said. I nodded glumly.
“Yes, I think so.”
“But the stairs are steep.” We went back downstairs. “The stairs are really steep.” I couldn’t disagree. It’s one of the reasons I need to move.
“You get used to them,” I said. It is sort of true. They are a pain and I am used to them, it doesn’t make them any easier.
“Why are you moving,” she asked.
“Work reasons and, you know, time for a change, children at college (don’t mention illness).
“Must feel like such a wrench after all this time.”
“Um - ”
Outside, she cocked her head and listened. Only the faint sea-roar of traffic in the distance.
“It’s quiet here,” she said. “What kind of tree is that?”
“Apple,” I said. We make apple jelly in the autumn.
Of course, she probably won’t come back because of the stairs. And this will pass.