It's been a fruitless week, apart from this blog. Found a small fold out coffee table in a skip and so fixed it, painted it, and positioned it outside the french doors of the care home - transforming what is, at it's core, a piss stained, crack grouted concrete mess, into a Mediterranean style mid morning retreat. Beneath the dying light that falls between the break in the dying, summer leaves, you could almost believe you were not stationed beneath a prolific drug den.
Speaking of which, the den has been relatively silent of late. A few weeks ago I saw some suspiciously normal looking cars parked on curbs, round corners, looking falsely at their phones instead of the first floor windows they were clearly surveilling.
I put my key in the lock of the door, and turned to one of the cars.
Like a startled fox trawling the abandoned pram for Donner scraps, it bolted. Another day in paradise.
It could be the addicts have all died, or that the drug lord himself has changed his life. He might work for TFL now, which many hold with the same level of amoral disgust. Or it could well be that Baby David, our new housemate (and Baby) has disrupted the flow of the bass-lines that rattle their way through the supporting walls, rats in the drainpipes, snakes in the air ducts, the man above me's piss in the zinc overflow pipe beside my angle pillow.
The arrival of Baby David - a 2 week old Nigerian brought to life by our two Tribal Nigerian Housemates - has sparked new life into the dull air of the care home. His constant cries now complete the urban symphony that rolls merrily along, daily and without warning. If it's not the sirens, or the cat meowing at the door, then its baby David, or the man above's stream of Piccalilli piss rotting the midnight quiet.
We were invited to the naming ceremony, which was an experience. Around 10-15 very religious, very African, very friendly people filled the living room. The mother, Jane, who has barely spoken a word since moving in, retold the story of the birth.
"I was in the Hospital and they are all in pain, but I am not, I am not in pain, because the lord is with me, my god, he is with me, and I am laughing, laughing, as they are crying, because I know that Jesus christ is in me"
It was a compelling night. Jane's speech the most hypnotic piece of religious propaganda I have ever heard - and I was born a catholic.
As the only "White" People in the room, and all non believers, it was a treat to be welcomed so heartily into a world which was not ours.
Baby David was named by way of the room repeating his full name seven times over. What a beautiful way to name a child, I thought, pocketing that ritual for use in my own contradictory, hypocritical, humanist faith.
Now, the faux electric fire roars on. It's orange light bulbs glowing against the flickering strips of plastic flame. Cold feet has been watched, as has Westworld - perhaps the finest Hopkins performance since the direct to DVD one he did with Ryan Gosling, where he plays a clever murderer who has a giant steel ball run in his living room.
Another day. Another fight for freedom against the tides of comfortability.