Home is where the heart is but what if your heart is broken? In the last 5 years I have lived in 5 different lodgings even having to move from place to place within the same year. I have deliberately refrained from referring to these places as ‘home’. On the contrary they were just a necessary evil. I wasn’t tough enough to rough it on the streets so it was my shelter from the rain and cold; a place to wash, eat, sleep and somewhere for my daughter to come visit.
But now I am glad to announce that my upper flat in the village house feels like I’ve arrived at last. I think of it as ‘home’, a cosy sanctuary where I can start afresh. A willing accomplice. It is a work in progress. Due to the heat and humidity the floors are sensibly tiled but makes the flat feel a bit bare and unloved. I have attempted to remedy this by adding a doormat, houseplants and a double fitted sheet over the sofa. The cotton sheet not only keeps the couch clean but has succeeded in softening the harsh and cold ambiance.
I would love to have a large plant in the corner but alas getting it home is the eternal problem; damn those concrete stairs and the 10 minute walk from the bus stop. Likewise a full length mirror would be great. At the moment I am making do with a teeny weeny bathroom mirror which only shows my face and neck. No knowing if my outfit is hideous and will give the neighbours nightmares. I could of course get a taxi but will they fit in the boot? Should I arm myself with a measuring tape before I board? Mmmm I doubt the taxi driver would be too impressed. Wasting their time and no fare is a definite no no here, unless you want to be blasted to kingdom come.
The prehistoric air con has been resurrected not by Jesus ordering it to rise and walk but by D.I.Y. loving landlord with a mere higher amp fuse. Though the problem of it beings on its last legs and puffing out barely cold air is still unresolved. Landlady, not wifey but older sister’s answer was to sew me a curtain to hang in front of the entrance to the open kitchen. Ah I don’t think so. One, it wouldn’t trap the cold air in the lounge and two aesthetically speaking it would be horrific. Who hangs a curtain in front of their kitchen, not to mention health and safety. I live in the back of beyond, closed to all vehicles, so the lovely fire fighters would not get to me in time.
Then she called after my curt text and we begun the dance of negotiation. Final deal was I would put up dark and thick curtains to shut out sunlight and she would fork out for a UVC folding door. I had to twist her arm as she is I swear the most miserly person I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. Her brother and she would do anything themselves to save a bob or two. My sister had given them a lump sum to decorate the flat before I moved in. Instead of getting painters in they did it themselves and took forever, forcing me to stay in extortionate hotels.
Anyway Sunday DIY enthusiast turned up as usual, armed with tape measure, pencil and pocket notebook. He measured my windows after offering to sort out the curtains. Bless him, he even asked me which shade of blue I wanted, pointing to different objects round the lounge. We debated whether to have curtains over the bedroom window with the air con. No problem a hole can be cut to let the cold air through. Won’t this look odd? No, very normal. Well, in HK do as the locals do. I look forward to meeting this pair of curtains with a made to measure hole.
On his way out down the stairs, he stopped to measure the window there. I hadn’t even thought of it. No, he insisted, this window will make a difference to how well the air con works. Is this going to go over the $1000 quote he gave me? No, don’t worry. I’ll throw in a pair of wooden shutters. How generous. Perhaps he is pleased by my compliment; that his wife is lucky having a man who loves fixing things! Turns out he installs shutters for a living. These must be very wealthy clients living in the Mid-Levels no doubt, as I have not seen any shutters on my travels.
Free door and shutters. Maybe an auspicious time to go buy a lottery ticket. I can’t wait till I have the curtains up and meet my new shutters and door. It will feel even more like home with soft furnishings rounding off the hard edges. And I won’t have to hide in the corner in case Topless and Co. can see me undress.i’d thought it was the heat ruining my sleep but in fact it’s the light. So curtains would be doubly welcome.