Writing 101, Day Eleven: Size Matters
Today, tell us about the home you lived in when you were twelve. For your twist, pay attention to — and vary — your sentence lengths.
Rug in front of the fire
The council house. Yes, that is where I was. Salford, Manchester aged twelve.
As council houses go it was quite nice, I think. But of course being that age I had really nothing else to compare it too. Saying that, I did go to friends’ houses sometimes, but they all seemed to have living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, what else was I supposed to notice? Not all of them were council houses though. But it did not seem to matter or enter my brain back then that it might.
The thing that does stick in my mind though, is the rug in front of the fire. We used to have a coal fire when I was younger. My dad would load it up every morning before work and then we would benefit at night. I would sit or lie in front of it, burning my legs. Sometimes coals would leap out at me or miss and end up on the rug. My mother would go mad.
Then the council workmen came and changed it to a gas fire. The rug in front changed colour; texture and size frequently as my mother desired. But there was always a rug in front of the fire.
The reason why I remember the rug is that I spent a lot of time there. On my tummy, watching TV, or playing with the house tortoise. Yes, I did say tortoise. Tommy arrived when I was seven because my sister’s guinea pig had killed mine. My dad was being kind, buying this unusual ancient creature for me. Tommy has outlived my dad. We have had him for almost forty-six years. He is the longest pet I have ever known anyone have. I am certain he will outlive my mother and then he will come to live with me.
Aged twelve, we were still playing on the street, cricket or rounders. The estate was still quiet enough to do that even though we lived on a through road. Not everyone had a car back then. We would set up our gear in the middle of the street and we would play. It used to annoy some of the neighbours with our shouting and balls ending up in their gardens. In hindsight, it was really only harmless fun. I had lots of friends in the adjoining streets who went to the same school. So there was always somebody to play with. It was quite a community. My mum knew everyone and it took ages to get to the shop sometimes, as everyone would stop to chat.
I go back often. I was actually born in the upstairs front room. My mum is still there in the council house. There is still a rug in front of the fire.