WordPress asks us to describe our dream home, and it won’t take long to see where I’m going with this.
My dream house would be a bungalow. It would have four bedrooms, enough for each child to have his or her own bedroom. This would be achieved by having each room too small to swing a cat in, though this wouldn’t matter too much since (a) I don’t own a cat, (b) I’m pretty sure they don’t like to be swung and (c) they have claws with which they can make their feelings known upon this point.
The house would be getting on for 40 years old, an astonishing achievement since it would have been built by County Wicklow’s best known firm of
cowboy respected builders, and will have been so badly built that someone (perhaps some blogger) would once have described it as “having been built out of Weetabix held together with snot”.
Just as George Washington’s axe supposed had both its handle and its head replaced often, yet still remained the same axe, this house would have few parts of the original still in place, yet would retain the essence of the original house.
This house would be occupied by a couple and three wonderful teenage children, which would occasionally cause a bit of an atmosphere, such as when one of the teenagers, say the young girl, wants to get one earring at the top of one ear. Generally though it would be full of clutter, full of laughter and full of love.
It would look something like this:
It’s not my dream house. It’s my dream home.
A conservatory and a Jacuzzi would be nice, though.
About a year ago we got new neighbours on our road, Americans. We know this because they drive a camper van, because they have a Ford Mustang in their driveway ( I hope they call it Sally, we all do) and because we have, very occasionally, heard them call to each other in American accents.
We would not know it in any other way, because they keep very much to themselves. So much so that the blinds are always closed at the front of their house. Always. Because we live in bungalows that’s not a lot of windows – just one bedroom and the living room, but their glass front door has a blind on it as well and this too is always closed.
And that’s still not all that remarkable, but their direct next-door neighbour can, of course, see the back of their house from his back garden, and he says all the blinds at the back are closed too.
Three neighbours and I have discussed this in the pub. The obvious explanation, as I insisted, is that they are vampires. To my surprise my neighbours pooh-poohed this idea, by which I mean that they said it was a load of shite. Clearly I am the only Buffy fan in the group.
As Sherlock Holmes one said, whenever you have eliminated the ludicrous, that doesn’t mean that you can’t think up something equally ludicrous.
We have decided that they are in the Witness Relocation Program.
As further proof, one morning one of our neighbours noticed that their wheelie-bin fallen over. As she was standing it upright the woman of the house appeared at the door and ordered her to leave their bin alone (remember, all the blinds were closed, they must have CCTV). Clearly they suspected that she was going through their rubbish looking for evidence of their true identity, since, as anyone who has ever watched thrillers knows, people on the run will always dump envelopes with their real names on them in their bin instead of the wiser options of burning, shredding or even eating the evidence.
I know many of you will scoff, but the fact is that WRP people must live somewhere, so why not here? And I know that you may feel that I am exposing them to danger by relating this tale, but don’t worry.
Our estate was built in stages. the first 18 were built in a Π shape (thank you WordPress), and numbered from No 1 at the bottom on the right around to No 18 directly opposite . Then six more were built to the left of the top bar, but all the residents refused to change their numbers, so 19 to 24 are up there. A final five were then added (WordPress has no symbol to help by this stage, the symbol to the right, that of the Artist Formerly Known as Prince, is as near as I can get to describing our road now) and again the new houses simply took new, higher numbers.
Thus I live in number 6, the house directly opposite is number 13, and the one beside him is number 24.
Pizza delivery guys can’t find people on our road. The Mob haven’t a chance.
As you all know, I am older than those of you who read this. This has its obvious disadvantages – I don’t play sport anymore, I’ve had to get a pacemaker (you have a pacemaker, Tinman? You should have said), my memory’s not what it used to be, I get slagged by all the young people at work, and my memory’s not what it used to be.
(And half-way through that sentence the time reached 16.56, and my pacemaker turned itself on, so the muscles aound it are now pinging away as I type).
There are one or two good things about it, though. Well, actually, no, I can only think of one. I bought my house before all of you did.
And tomorrow I’m making my last mortgage payment.
My house is far from perfect (I described it in a recent post as constucted from weetabix, held together with snot) but the fact that it will now belong totally to us has made me feel all nostalgic about it.
Mrs Tin has lived more than half her life here, I’ve lived almost half of mine, and as for the Tinkids, well, they’ve never lived anywhere else.
It’s where we’ve celebrated birthdays and Christmasses. It’s where we’ve come home in joy with new babies, and where we’ve come to grieve in private after the funerals of parents. It’s where the children have come to find comfort and support after hard or hurtful days at school. It’s seen laughter, rows, love, silly in-family jokes, snowmen, kids’ parties and far too many episodes of Coronation Street.
Like me, it has not aged particularly well, and has had to have several parts replaced. Like everyone else’s house it has dropped in value by about a quarter. But that doesn’t matter to me today.
It’s our home.