Bananaman’s house opposite is indeed still uninhabited, and has been since we last saw him some eighteen months ago. Not only has K. been over on the pretext of leafleting, and looked into its empty, uncurtained rooms, but the garden gate spent all last night banging in the wind. The fact this has only just started happening made me realized that the weather really has changed; if you’re thinking of a birthday present for me, though, I’d prefer a simple barometer.
The gate is brand new, but of course the latch is a bit bent and so won’t connect in order to keep it closed. Things which are broken by design always seem like catnip to workies. They must love nothing more than being able to fit the broken component and make the sense of newness overpower the actual fact of duffness, for long enough to be paid and get away.
A practically derelict building to tinker with must seem like a kind of paradise of non-oversight; nobody will be around for weeks afterwards – say, in a gathering storm – to hear the new addition, stupidly designed and stupidly fitted, bang and whack against its casement like a workie in a van repeatedly trying to close his door on his own seatbelt. By the time anyone spots it, who can demand it to be fixed, the workie can claim it had been fine when they installed it.
The gate added an extra element to my usual pre-dawn chorus: Brian Quietchap next door doing an audible wee at 6am; followed by an hour of him pulling and re-pulling the bathroom light cord until he revs his motorbike for five minutes or so just before 7; then followed by a bit of blissful silence before my alarm clock goes off at 7.30 and Brian’s moody daughter’s boyfriend parps his horn like an incontinent beef at around a quarter to eight. It was further augmented by the fact that Brian seems to have installed some sort of mechanical switch next to our wall, which fires randomly during the night, sounding like someone whispering the word “chick” right in your ear.
… In comparison, the blackbird going mental at 5.45 felt like a welcome and naturalistic touch.