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Saturday 14th April 2018

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A rare Saturday off, so I got to play tiredly with my kids and watch a film with my wife on Netflix before bedtime (Annihilation - thought it was OK, but maybe people had built it up too much). Days like this are still passing in a blur and I wish my life away and dream of a time when the kids won’t need such 24 hour supervision. But I know I will miss these days more than any others when they’ve gone. The dichotomy of babies is you both want them never to grow up and wish they were 23 simultaneously. But what will I do without the unguarded delight of my son and the spontaneous silliness of my daughter?
I mean, I will sleep. Obviously.
Hopefully by the time the tour is over we will have had all the remaining work done on our house (though I suspect it will be an ongoing project). I have become stalled in the bits and bobs I’ve been trying to get done. I got half my books on to the new book shelves about 6 weeks ago, but haven’t had the time or the energy to complete this relatively simple task. The dreams of having a life or order and everything in its right place are still dreams, but perhaps we will get there over the summer.
I like living in an old house and occasionally I look at some of the brick work or the beams and try to imagine the people who put these here 300+ years ago. Imagine making something that will still be standing in 2330. You are gone and anonymous, but the ghosts of your fingerprints will still haunt the bricks and the wood. Like you are turned into stone.
Hands up if you’re reading this in 2330. I see no hands. Alas all digital media was destroyed in the nuclear war of 2018. And even if it hadn’t been, my ego is sad to admit, these ramblings shall not stand the test of time (even if they are in the British Library - hands up if you’re reading them there after my death - this is embarrassing).
But I wouldn’t be surprised if my fireplace is still there then.
Apparently the bannisters to our staircase are actually older than the house, having presumably been brought in from another property. What happened there? Did they bring it with them from their previous house, or was it just being sold off because the original house had fallen down. It would only be about 50 years old when it was moved, so it seems unlikely that it was not still necessary. I thought the previous owners of our house were a bit mean to take the grate to the fireplace with them, but imagine turning up at a new place to find it had no bannisters.
It’s not a particularly grand staircase and you might not notice it unless someone pointed it out to you (I didn’t until the previous owner told us about it). Someone in the 1600s took a good deal of time carving this beautiful thing. Tonight I looked at an uglier bit of it, where the joins were made to attach the bannisters to a beam. It’s not a bodge job, it’s just more practical than the ornate bits, but I like it just as much as the staircase. Maybe more. Because you can more or less chart the decisions that were made to make this alien staircase fit.
It’s amazing to own something that is 300 to 400 years old. Not that we can really take it out to show anyone, or sell it on or take it with us (though I would quite like to be buried in it - if someone could make me a grave with a vast underground vault that needed stairs to get down to it. 
I wonder whose hands made it and whose hands moved it into my house and where those hands are now. I mean, I know they’re not making any more bannisters.


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