I forgot to clean my Ear Plug whilst taking a shower. It has been itching a lot over the last few days and I had planned on cleaning it this evening. I am going to wash both my ear and the plug separately. I have to fill the sink with hot water.
I fill the cheap, basic kettle to half and test the sides are warm by touch. I then flick the switch to cancel the boiling action, take the kettle to the bathroom and fill the sink.
I have thought often, how best to describe my family home. The most common is the term ‘Eco-friendly’, but that often stirs up images of my family in baggy trousers and tie-dye. Whilst living in either a static caravan or some futuristic house in the middle of nowhere. We’re not; we live in a small, proud and pompous town called Sherborne.
Acres of green and luscious land, beautifully circling a town with a wealth divide of staggering proportions. From the notoriously prestigious public schools and the Lord’s estates, to the pockets of borderline poverty, within a two mile radius.
Our bungalow is shin deep in all this. We are between a council-run estate and an avenue with houses worth no less than half a million. My childhood was spent constructing fires and having BB gun wars with my friends from the estate. This meant that the curtains in the avenue were often twitching with overzealous residents waiting; telephone in hand, for an excuse to call the local police constabulary.
We were a group of children that were doing what came natural, while the other kids stayed inside, playing video games and watching music videos.
Being escorted home with smoke scented clothes and ripped jeans was a pastime. My parents regularly saw the funny side after the enacted ‘telling off’ for the officer. Although we all rarely agree on things and often argue, no matter the situation, we always realised that there had to be a funny side.
“If I didn’t laugh, I’d cry’. My mother used to say. Whether or not that meant I was severely upsetting her is something she will never admit to.
My father washes his favourite, military issue fleece, once a year. My mother will always, without fail, get an early bird ticket to sunrise festival and my brother once fixed a hole in the oil sump of his Yamaha R6 with an aluminium lager can and araldite for cost effective maintenance.
It is an Eco friendly house but I would say that ‘Eco’ stands for ‘Economy’. We are, an economy friendly house. For example: My brother does not own a suit, so I have just rented him mine upon receipt of a small cash deposit. (Harsh, but chances are I won’t see the money and he has a history of destroying my clothes; it seemed like the sensible option).
We have no boiler, so the only source of instant hot water is the rather old electric shower. It has been clogged with limescale for many years. It’s like being urinated on from a height, for it to then run down the roof of a building, into the gutter and onto one’s hair. Facial cleansing in the sink requires either water from the kettle during the summer months or from the wood burner over the winter. Doing the dishes requires this method also. It has been like this for a decade and it was surprisingly easy for the family to adjust to. To my younger self, a rather grubby 12 year old at the time, it was simple.
The wood burner is connected to all the heaters in the house, via exposed copper piping. Going from the radiator directly up into a hole in the ceiling. The water is circulated by convection but also with the aid of a water pump. This has been installed for the last 5 years. My father never did get round to fitting a suitable cap on the wood burner release valve and has kept the old bath tap; the nearest thing to him at the time that was the suitable diameter and fit the pipe.
My father has also recently installed an industrial-sized air conditioner to the side of the house. They are connected to the solar panels so naturally it can only be used in daylight hours and isn’t the most hidden of systems, but nevertheless it is intuitive and practical. When I think about it, it’s probably the best way to describe him.
In contrast, my mother will always find a way to beautify the often invasive and crude plans with all sorts of cost effective methods. A set of interesting chairs bought at auction for a pound and some plants in various vessels such as kettles or shoes bought at a jumble sale. A creative mind partnered with a practical one can be turbulent, but is a union that produces forward thinking and beautifully different ideas. I am lucky to have traits of both of them.
I am thankful for where I have grown up. Through all the bullshit and youthful ignorance, to treating the place like shit sometimes and being a ‘lodger’. Over the years i have come to realise that these walls will always be my ‘spiritual’ home.
I hope to encapsulate the principals that make this place what it is, into my own home, life and attitude one day. Tie-dye and bright colours will be banned.
Its been a while since I cleaned my plug-hole out. This is filthy.