Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hinged and hung

Newly carved window frames and doorways hang suspended by ropes from the rafters of the stone built arches in the farmyard. I watched them breeze swing awhile. Hung out to paint. Hung out to dry. They frame space; miss panes of glass and wooden doors. You think, not of hanged men, that would be macabre. You think of possibilities. You could step through the empty door to find a finer world; open a magic window on to a sunnier life. Gordon Brown has something similar, hanging in his attic. The frames hang like a promise."Open this window and you will see the view is of a beauteous Britain, more beauteous than the one you've known. " My house in well-plastered tatters, walls now just memories, the frames say: "The future is walking through our doors any minute now. Keep faith awhile and see. "

I know I can relax. Where there was a wall along the back of the kitchen, there will be doors to a courtyard garden. The builder placed a penny coin, as shiny as could be, beneath the first stone of the door surround to wish us luck. Is that not kind and noble? A well-meant wish for luck. Can a house fail to be happy when founded on another person's kindess? He does the same in every house he builds. Mine, of course is not a new house, though I could argue it is a new life we are building up here. The house though, the house is a renovation, restoration, knock through. Not new. More noble yet then to wish me luck. He made an exception. Perhaps, he thought we needed more luck than most. I did not ask him which way it lay. Heads or tails? I wonder, if he cannot quite remember, will he lift the house to check?

13 comments:

PjD said...

I love your writing, I check in everyday.
The coin for luck - what a kind thought.
We had major renovations last year while we still lived in the rest of the house - nightmare! - to see them finally leave was the best moment :)
They didn't leave any coins for luck! but took our every last dollar!
Thank you for your writing.

occasional northerner said...

We have had builders working in our house for the last six months. I was very sceptical about the whole process, but it has been worth it. I almost miss them and have already forgotten the inevitable "disasters". Its great that you are bringing life back to your new house and I hope the builder's penny works.

Norman said...

Looks like daylight at the end of the tunnel at last, huh?
Its all lking hopeful. I remember when we moved from Northumberland to Lancaster, we bought a house "ready to move into". We need it as we were both working and could do without starting again from scratch.
But the house needed a few "minor alterations"....
....six months later we were still camping in a building site that passed for our new home. But it DID get sorted,- eventually.

mountainear said...

24 horses' heads were found 'buried' in the fabric of an old house not far from here - presumably like your builder's coin - for luck. Or to ward off misfortune.

Having things painted is definately progress. You'll get there.

Cathy said...

Your builder sounds like a lovely man and I'm sure his kindness will be reflected in both your new home and your new life. You are on the home straight now.

@themill said...

I'm amazed the builder had any spare coins left after ten years of Graspin'Gordon.
When my brother lifted rotten floorboards in their 17th century house they found the most exquisite embroidered shoe. My sister in law made the builders put it back

Gorilla Bananas said...

"You think, not of hanged men, that would be macabre."

Although hanged men would be less likely to give you a nasty bruise. Hard pieces of wood should not be allowed to swing in their air. Hanging is too good for them.

Kaycie said...

Hope springs from the oddest places. It is good to read such peace in your words.

sunshine said...

At their best, houses have a conversation with us. When they hurt, they leak (that's what those pans in the cabinet are for), or they creak. When we sit quietly, they surround us with an "it's all okay" message. When we walk in the door after a dog of a day, they say "welcome home -- I'm just the way you left me; I don't change on you. Breathe deeply..."

Since you are having the rare opportunity to take structures with previous imprints on them, and alter them in such ways as to overlay your own imprint on them, I think you will find living in your new home a very rich experience. With your sensitivity, I think the conversation will be wonderful!

I'll bet that once the confusing settling-in process is over, you will find your new home will provide you with the transition from London living to Northumberland life that you've been looking for!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Happiness surrounds you. I wish you lots of it in your new life & your renovated home. Things in Northumberland can be so relaxed but it sounds like progress is happening. I sometimes wonder if jobs will ever get done here but they usually do, in the end.

mutleythedog said...

I still have that truckload of breeze blocks from the public toilets we demolished in Prestatyn should you want them? Some of them smell a bit odd - but it would please meto know they were back where someone has spent a penny....

**Runs of roaring with laughter**

Newmania said...

Hey you must know the woman of the moment "Melissa Kite". Enemy to bloggers and right wing ones especially. She used to be at the Times , hunts , posh , close friend to Mathew D`Anconna( as in grovelled to the boss I guess)

What she like ? Where did dhe come from?

wife in the north said...

re sunshine: I love the idea of a "conversation" with a house
re newmania: the problem with not moderating comments, is you don't always notice ones that drop on blogs late. Always delighted when you drop by. As for Melissa Kite, I suggest you stick to The Sunday Times.