How I wish I had photos to post today. Every day, I drive past an old green, dilapidated farmhouse. There’s a vintage, rotting pick-up truck parked beside it and behind the house several tumble-down outbuildings and a quonset hut. Sometimes clothing is pegged out on an old-fashioned clothesline. Cows wonder all around. I’ve always wondered who lived in this place, and thought how lucky they are. Well, today when I was returning home from work I noticed a ‘garage sale’ sign outside the house, wanted very badly to turn in but dared not risk not being home when Boy 2 arrived. I was wise not to risk it, because Jennifer was just arriving with Boy 2 when I pulled in and so was Mr W, he’d come to collect Miss W and Boy 1. But he asked me politely if there was anywhere I’d like to go, before he took off with them. I said yes, and told him about the garage sale, of course one whiff of a garage sale and my ex is panting so off we went.
It was just an amazing place. Cow poop was everywhere though, up the driveway and all around the path leading up to the house which had a sign on it that said ‘stuff inside!’ An old man came out to greet us and I followed him into a house that probably hadn’t seen a lick of paint since 1950. The entryway was a strange, small high-ceilinged area with 3 steps that led up into a small kitchen with original cabinets and torn-up linoleum. There were worn wood floors, peeling wallpaper and 2 old ladies seated in an empty living room, I told them how I drove past this house every day and how charming I found it, one squinted at me and said, “well I guess it is kinda pretty.”
There was nothing for sale except mildewed cookbooks and broken appliances. I did find a tin with a picture of Elvis on it, I thought it had marbles in it, but when I opened it to my astonishment it still contained chocolates! But they wouldn’t part with the box of fifty year old chocolates, I ended up just buying these food shields (out of politeness really but they will be useful in the summer). I walked slowly out of the house into the cow-poop covered yard and around the outbuildings and said hello to the cows, they were looking at me and Boy 2 very curiously. Me and Miss W talked obout how we could grow tomatoes here and fix up one of the old outbuildings and keep chickens. The old man took us into the massive quonset hut, which contained abandoned, filthy broken furniture, old bits from cars, toys, all pieces of his life I expect.
It was a nice, unexpected thing to do today, visiting that old farmhouse. I know my fantasy of having chickens and growing things is exactly that – a fantasy – I know the chickens would probably all get TB, my crops would fail and I’d have a breakdown, but it is such a lovely fantasy, and I love old houses, and I loved that house. The old man told us he’d just sold it, plus the surrounding 600 acres.
There’s another meeting next week and I’ve been trying very hard not to brood and worry but I was bristling yet again yesterday when I opened Boy 2’s back pack. There was yet another form for me to fill in ( the previous one asked me ridiculous questions, like was Boy 2 capable of painting trim and inviting guests over for supper? ) This one came with a snotty little note from the OT, ‘could you fill this in and return it by next week? I gave you a copy last week, this is the second copy I’ve sent home.’ Actually, it isn’t. I check Boy 2’s backpack each night. Before Christmas when I was told to please return forms and responded that I hadn’t received any, it turned out that the para had forgotten to put them in Boy 2’s back pack. I wrote a snotty note and put it with the completed form, but changed my mind today and put a more politely worded note in, merely pointing out that I try to be prompt about these things, and there had been no previous form sent home. I am so fed up with this lot! But I don’t want to descend to the level of exchanging snotty notes, even though I am itching to write nasty things in his back and forth book, just as I was itching to lunge across the table at the IEP and scream swearwords.
I could watch a movie tonight but I’ve got a more tempting prospect – my library book! I’m reading The Radleys by Matt Haig. He is the UK author who gave my short story first prize several years ago, but I have to admit I’ve been dragging my feet about reading his latest book because it’s about vampires. However, it is quite brilliant, the story of your typical, restrained, dysfunctional British family, but with the added issue of a terrible secret. Because the parents, Peter and Helen Radley, are abstainers – vampires who haven’t had fresh blood in years and want to live as normal people. They have never told their pale, sickly offspring the truth. This is a novel about families, secrets, and doing what is right, a darkly humorous pageturner that might make you quite relieved you have a head of garlic in your fridge.