With a blog title like that you could be forgiven for thinking you’re going to read a blog about a Castle much like the Playboy Mansion, where men in long dressing gowns, with hairy chests and medallions are wandering into rooms filled with buxom honeyz spread about the place, waiting for a session of luuurve in Castle Luurrve…
Erm no. Sorry ; ) Wrong blog. Though if enough people ask me, I could write one if you like? I could write about a macho stud called Brando with an incredibly…
Okay I’m going to stop now. So off topic! Bad writer!!
No, this a love affair of a different kind. Hopefully, one you’ll be enjoying too with your own four walls. Your home, my loves, your home. Do you love your home? Mine isn’t perfect. My kitchen is ancient. I have no gas central heating. The corner of my bathroom needs a session and a bit of attention with a scraper. My loo seat never stays up, men have long learned to pee sitting down when they visit, I suspect, through fear it will snap their willies off mid-flow. And everything, and I mean everything, hangs in a precarious balance ALL the time.
But it’s my home. The first home of my own I ever had. I was a relatively young home owner and buying the Castle was the smartest though most terrifying move of my young adult life. Handing that deposit cheque over. God. So scary. There is no way I’d have been able to get on the property ladder, had I bought it a year or two later, even though, crazily, I was earning much more in my Marketing career back then, pro-rata, before I decided to focus more on being a writer. And we all know writers earn millions don’t we?
I feel desperately sorry for folks, especially singletons looking to move out and buy a place on their own. Unless you rob a bank, work in legal or finance or are at the middle or top of your profession, in London at least, it’s nigh on impossible. There needs to be the two of you or you need to heavily compromise on the location. I live on a truly great street, but the area for me at least has been a bit sucky. My friends have heard all the stories of me being followed, grim people exposing themselves, chavvy brats a thousand times. And before I learned to draw the curtains when I exercise in the lounge, I once spotted a man sat on the grassy bank opposite drinking a beer and eating a packet of crisps enjoying the free show. He jumped up most hastily when he twigged I’d clocked him and hurried away. And I’ll spare you the story of the man in the bushes on the night I came home from a particularly good Hush The Many gig back in 2006. Proper grim. Could have done without seeing that.
Put it this way, I usually dress down a bit when I’m out for my own safety ( see blog on Breasts for background) unless I am placed in a car or accompanied by someone. Though I am challenging that. I wore some lovely vivid colours last winter and had a man wind down his car window and sing ‘ ‘Laaaady in Red!’ at me from the Uxbridge Road, that was funny and sweet, that is allowed : )
But the armpit of the universe also has some pockets of unlikely but extraordinary beauty tucked away, and I am blessed with the loveliest local library, were I’m on first name basis with the staff and my travel links are pretty brilliant. My postman knows my name and always invites me to his plays. Nicest of all is that I live on a good street with good neighbours.
I love my street. It rocks. From Joan down the road, well into her eighties, cultivating the most colourful wee garden outside her flat and around the back, to my Sikh neighbours whose daughter is fascinated by the feather boa string of fairy-lights curtain in my flat and always wants a hug when she sees me, I am really, really lucky. This won’t be my home forever. I couldn’t raise kids in this flat or fit in a man, unless he came with the clothes on his back! I’d lose my children under a pile of books and Marie Claires in minutes.
I once lost a cat in this flat, there are so many nooks and crannies, it’s not funny!
But it’s an extension of me. If I got knocked down by a bus tomorrow, you could walk in and go, ‘Ah so this is what Yasmin was like. Interesting… Erm are these walls finger-painted? Wow she really liked her hot chocolate didn’t she? She’s got about six varieties on the go.’ And, ‘Bloody hell, have you seen how much tartware she’s got in the bathroom??’ But I love my flat. It is my Castle. It is The Castle. Even my friends address letters to me under that that monicker.
So when this topic came up in my writing class about what your home would say to it, if it could talk, I smiled. I had 10-15minutes to write a piece and this is what I said:
If These Walls Could Talk 26 March 2012
If these walls could talk, this is what they’d say:
I sing all day, I have music permeated in my walls and the songs I sing reflect how I feel. Sometimes when she’s in the bath, I hum instrumentals to soothe her soul and calm her down, to help her think straight. I’m a colourful soul, passionate and I have plenty of energy, but I also know how to be calm and dial down the intensity.
I am a flat of variety and depth and I have hidden corners filled with old stories and experiences from my past. I have witnessed and encouraged love. I have comforted when I’ve felt tears fall on my floor. I’ve earned lipstick kisses on my surfaces when she’s been especially happy to see me; kisses of joy, sticky and deep red brown that I’ve carried for years. She adorns me in paint, she’s proud of me, but she’s often too busy and carried away with her life to clean me.
So I have dust bunnies and pockets of cobwebs galore, but I don’t mind the spiders. I’ve got used to the way they tickle my skin as they deftly pass through me and over me in the silent night. I do wish she’d clean me more often and that she was a bit tidier. I’ve often had to conceal my laughter behind a song when she suddenly panics and sweeps all the contents of the kitchen table off into the biggest carrier bag she can find.
This is always a sign that she’s got a group of friends visiting and it won’t do this time to eat off laps while seated on the lounge carpet. That it’s a Mexican spread or a big curry being cooked. Her friends tease her about the clutter, but the clutter keeps me warm.
I love how cosy my corners are and how much stimulation and attractiveness I possess. I am an artistic, bohemian home and I wouldn’t want to be any other way. The girl often jokes that when she has the money, she’ll hire a cleaner to come and rub me all over, but I suspect that day will never come, but as much as I am her and she is me – we like each other just as we are.
I just wish there was more of me so she could fill me up the way she regrets she currently can’t, but wants to. She is always looking for new, undisguised nooks and crannies to tuck a new book or pot of face-cream into.
Each book makes me brighter, each new piece of art another gift and offering to my walls, an act of love.
Age doesn’t wither me – it just makes me more fascinating and the greatest compliment I receive is when a new soul steps over my threshold and cannot help but take pause, to take in all I am, and the sights I have to offer : )