House of the rising sun
As a house guest, I thought I'd contribute towards my stay by scrubbing the toilet floor while the cleaner cleans the rest of the house.
Unfortunately, the cleaner didn't show up. So I ended up scrubbing the floor and hoovering the rest of this big old house. Once I got going, I couldn't stop.
Although my friend only inhabited the ground floor, he had access to the bathroom upstairs and another room for storage. The large room upstairs was empty but in a poor state of repair. The attic was equally impoverished.
I have a thing for attics and basements, old houses, and unoccupied rooms. It all started the summer I spent in Ithaca, New York. I stayed in an old house next to a gorge. My room was the largest in the house. Facing the setting sun, it had an ensuite bathroom. It was the beginning of a series of adventures in sharing old houses.
In London, I once lived in a five-bedroom house above a French restaurant. My room faced north and away from the high street. During the three years there, I transformed the house from a dirty, smokers' dump into an orderly household of MBA and PhD students who followed a rigourous house chore schedule.
As I removed the old wires and cleaned the empty room upstairs, I couldn't help recalling what it was like sharing a big old house. If I could, I would like to live in this house, one which the owners kept for emotional value but never bothered to fix up. It's got so much character and so much potential. I can just imagine holding lavish concerts here, partying late into the night. The high ceilings are perfect for accoustics. And as the sun rises, so do the guests who had to stay over.
26 September 2002 Thursday
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