We had already sold and moved out of our Edinburgh flat a couple of times – and always ended up buying it back again. There was something about the sensible dimensions of the rooms, as well as the flat’s convenient position in the neighbourhood. We simple could not find anything we preferred elsewhere.
Now, with the possibility that my mother might come and live with us, we really needed somewhere with a little extra space. Was it really sensible to sell again?
Then we remembered the suite of unused rooms in our sub-basement. It was the time to check their state and redecorate. If we put in a stair-lift, my mother would have her own space downstairs, yet still be able to pop up to see us whenever she wanted.
The main issue was access to the basement through the hall of our next door neighbours’ house. Even though it was breakfast time, we felt that we should act immediately. So we walked through the small ‘human flap’ in our neighbours’ front door, then made our way to the internal stairs that led to the sub-basement.
SO, still in her nightdress, stopped us in our tracks. She was not happy to hear our plans, largely because she was currently (illegally) renting out the space downstairs to several students. She also disputed its ownership.
On the basis of our initial enquiries, it looked like we would need to call in our lawyers to confirm that the additional accommodation was indeed ours, and to evict the squatters.
My sister-in-law S and her husband A had a reputation for buying ridiculous properties. Their most recent purchase was a cottage in the woods. Our first impression was of isolation and inaccessibility along a rough track through hazel trees. However, beyond the house was a scruffy trailer park, so it was not as isolated as we first thought.
On our approach we stopped to pick some hazel nuts. They were absolutely enormous – the size of potatoes.
After our visit, TPR made my mother cry when he told her that he thought her homemade pickles were revolting.
RB was worried that she had left her children in the hands of an unreliable babysitter for the evening. Due to her work commitments, there was absolutely nothing that she could do about this now.
I offered to help out. If EH could give me a lift in her car on her way home, I would walk the around the corner to RB’s house and check that all was well with the children.
EH, however, could not take me. This was because there was no space for me in her car: it was already fully laden with stockpiled butter.
I knew the identity of the murderer, but for the time being was keeping it to myself. After all, he was a nice young man. Why should I pass on information that would ruin his career?
Eventually, however, I knew that the detective would exert a sufficient moral pressure to make me speak out. So long as she was patient, I would eventually spill the beans.
I found two interesting things in the (old) University of Birmingham main library.
First I saw TT, all the way from Denver on sabbatical, accompanied by one of his sons, heading into a meeting room.
Second, I spotted the library cat. From a distance, he looked like any other ginger tom. However, on approach I realised that this was no domestic pussy, but a small leopard. At first I was terrified to come face to face with such an animal, but his minder assured me that he was tame. I then spent a happy half hour stroking him in the stacks.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged animal, Birmingham, cat, Denver, ginger, library, meeting, petting, pussy, son, stacks, stroke, stroking, tame, Tom, University of Birmingham
I returned to the shopping parade near where I was brought up and was delighted by the new shop that was selling hot cross buns the size of pouffes AND pouffes that looked like hot cross buns.
Former University of Birmingham astrophysicist Keith rented out rooms in his shared new-build house (with tiny kitchen).
When we paid him a visit, I was delighted to discover that the flowery sitting room carpet was almost identical to the one that used to cover the drawing room at my parents’ old house.