I keep looking up at the flat blocks opposite. There are three of them and they represent something alien within the wealthy townhouse landscape of Maida Vale. From my living room, through slit windows at the top of the building, I see the flicking lights on the high rise's midriff.
One woman, who to me is just an ant in its nest, turns every light on and off as she leaves and enters rooms. Such discipline, I think, as I click my switches wastefully and without need.
Our street cleaning has not died following the move. The high rises often have old sofas and bits of junk lying around at the bottom, near the waste skips. The other day we found a Chaise Lounge (accent needed but unavailable) made from fabric apparently spun from cigarette butts. Part of my house husband status means that a good portion of my day is spent Neautradolling the furniture. Shake and Vaccing.
Tobacco now gone, I can move my attention to a shelving unit we found, shaped like the boat they burn Boromir in at the end of Fellowship.
My arm aches as I type because I just had jabs for a trip to India. A flustered nurse, who seems stranger each time I see her, used an injection method I was unaware of. She told me to put my music on my headphones, because I claimed to be nervous, and then rapidly injected me thrice. I commented to her that the second injection felt thicker, more glutenous, than the other two. It did. It seemed thicker in the blood, whereas the others were of a more watery consistency. She found this interesting, as did I, though neither of us spoke about it for more than a minute.
I installed a cooker. The building is 'three phase,' which for non electricians out there, means it has three separate circuits or something, meaning that if you turn one off there is a chance the other is running. I had to shut down the entire building; wrenching out these huge, 60's fuses that look like liquorice strips. Daniela held a wooden spoon against my forearm as I drifted the screwdriver toward the metal screws of the wall plug. I was sweating. There was a real chance I could die, which certainly filled the act with some interesting tension. Naturally, I did not die. And an oven now cooks our food. It also boils eggs, and, or so I am told, can grill cheese on toast. I am yet to explore that culinary avenue with our new family member.
Before I sweated with the spoon checking my pulse, I ran around the car park of the High Rise looking for a builder who might have a device used for checking live wires. A man, in a van, who fitted bathrooms for a living but today was clearing the house of his dead cousin, was the only workman I could find. He had no volt meter, but swung open the back doors of his transit to show me the Tetris'd belongings of his recently deceased. At the front - beside a beautiful armchair I did not have the courage to ask him about - was a record player. Flanked by two charming, wooden panelled speakers. I told him I was on the market for a deck. He offered me a complete patio package (with balustrades) for around four grand.
I told him not to make light of the situation.
He gave me the record deck for the price of a pint, which in London was around four grand.
"You know what's in that pile of records mate?" He sidled up to me with a hushed excitement.
"More Records?" I responded.
"Nah mate, nah. An original Elvis Pressing. The first of a small batch they made, apparently. "
Fuck. This was big, though I couldn't decipher between wive's tale and find of a lifetime.
"I mean I'dunno nofin'bout Elvis mate, but that's what the cous' told me, been going on about it for years. None of us believed him. "
"Do you think it's in there? You think it's real? If it is it's probably worth a fortune?"
Without a second. "Yeah I've already had it priced, couple of hundred quid up at auction.....if I'm honest it's the only reason I wanted to clear the house. I barely knew the bloke."
And with that, I wish you a good day.
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