I wake up to a house of warmth. In fact, it is so warm that I am almost stripping down and thinking about whirling meter readings. I climb a chair to get to the thermostat and try and turn it down to 18.
Ridden Row is a nice house, particularly now it is warm, but in a horrid and lonely area.
I want to move to a place where I can have human contact, of my own class. This is funny because I am too much of an individualist to fit in with the middle classes either, but I know now that I do feel more at home with them. In terms of our economic approaches to life, I have much more in common with van man. I admire the way my neighbours, one heavily goaded by his wife, get up earlyish six days a week and get out with their vans. They work reasonably honestly and truly or at least the gardener does. I am not quite so sure about the glossy Plumbers Van and web site, Ridden Row’s answer to Pimlico plumbers.
I have been absolutely delighted with British Gas’ Homecare Service. It has taken five visits to get my boiler going, it was going on Friday and then it went out again on Saturday and it has been a cold weekend. All three men and five visitors have turned up when they said they would, have left things clean and clear, been workmanlike and very cheerful and pleasant.
My evening student comes. Why is it that the minute I have a visitor my Nosy Neighbour finds a need to put her rubbish in the bin? The other day, I saw her miles down the road, so I rushed out the back with my compost and she still managed to race back home and get out the back with her washing, to give me an aggressive ‘Good Morning’.
But I have to admit that I can be a nosy neighbour too. While I am teaching I notice that she and her husband are climbing into their car and driving off somewhere. Unusually his blue van is in their back garden, he is not at work. Perhaps it is a doctors’ visit. He would probably put on a martyr expression about working hard but I don’t think he would know what to do if he wasn’t. Having worked six days a week outside, come rain or shine, and since I have lived here it has been very wet and windy, he usually spends his one day off, Sunday doing just the same in his back yard. This has the effect that I never dare to use my garden on a Sunday and once I have got back from my bus trip to church, I am imprisoned inside my house.