I used to live in a house opposite an electricity pylon. Named the house by the pylon by all who knew her. Later affectionately renamed the flat that time forgot. Renamed as a consequence to the amount of hours lost huddled on the sofas during Greek nights, dancing in the loft on girls nights, and standing in the kitchen with half the customers of the local pub on Friday nights.
It was not a quiet place to live. If you were looking for a quiet life, the house by the pylon/the flat that time forgot was not the place for you.
Quite a few people have lived in the house by the pylon. My ex purchased the top floor of the house from The Neville family. The Neville family who hitch hiked from Greece to England - we think Mr Neville gambled his money away before he could bank it, or he was mugged, we’re not sure which. What I do know for sure is they sold their story to The Sun newspaper, for much needed cash and for their five minutes of fame. My ex and I used the newspaper clipping, which contained a photograph of the family, for a cloak and dagger type adventure along the Greek harbour. We pointed at Mr Nevilles toothless smile and asked, “Have you seen this man?”
Mr Neville had returned to Greece when his finances improved but he‘d failed to sign important documents for my ex. Hence, my ex, myself, and my ex's friend who was wheel chair bound as a result of a nasty motor bike accident (the same friend who insisted on accompanying us on our first date) searched the streets of Greece for Mr N. I needed a holiday and I’d always fancied visiting Athens. Mr Neville’s sister had reported her brother was in Greece once again, and my ex needed him to sign along the dotted line.
Unfortunately we didn’t find Mr Neville in Greece, it was a long shot, but we had a nice holiday. Luckily we bumped into him in the UK, and the top floor of the house by the plyon was legally my ex's home.
When I first moved into the house by the pylon my friend Claire was renting a room, along with our friend Kia. Well, she was our friend at the time. I introduced her to a guy from Brighton and we never saw her again. I think she was looking for any excuse to move out of T.H.B.T.P and that was a good enough one for her.
Scaggs was the next victim of the flat that time forgot. That’s not his real name, his real name doesn’t sound half as bad but he doesn't mind answering to Scaggs. Scaggs also lived with Amber. Amber was a dog, the puppy of Blaze, my ex's pet. Blaze had two very large litters and you can see most of her daughters and sons trotting around the local area.
Darren was another lodger. Darren who had a wooden leg. He fell out of a moving train when he was a youngster, and tragically lost one of his legs. Sadly Darren is no longer with us. He died in his sleep a couple of years ago. R.I.P. Darren.
My ex's daughter also moved in, briefly, to the house by the pylon. That was fun to have another female to share the house with, and we would drink wine and watch programmes on hair dressing and footballers wives. Very girly.
Lenny, who used to draw on toast and had a major operation to cure his epileptic fits, also lived with us. He’s a very talented artist and I recently read a story in OK magazine regarding Lenny and his art. It was accompanied with one of his toast pictures, this particular one was Simon Cowell's face. Apparently Si offered Lenny a very large sum of money, for the picture which bared an uncanny resemblance to him. Perhaps Lenny is living the high life these days? Perhaps he can afford all the toast in the world now?
Heartbreak hotel could also have been another name for the house by the pylon. It was a well known fact that when relationships broke down, the heartbroken partner would move in, to forget their troubles and lick their wounds, until their partner forgave them or they’d grown tired of the flat. Which ever came first.
Sometimes I even struggle to remember the names of some of the lodgers. There was Lesso, the bouncer/courier who all the girls lusted over. Johhny, the one who was convinced strangers stood in the garden watching him. Mad John, who was actually mad. Oh hold on, I don’t think he actually moved in, he was just permanently attached to the sofa for a very long time, with his poetry book and his stories of madness. Sometimes I would return home from work to discover another body in the lounge, with another disaster story, and a musical instrument in their hand.
There would be frequent jamming sessions in my humble home. Guitars, bongos, keyboards, and all sorts. It was lucky for us that the man who lived downstairs was deaf and our joining neighbours only complained once, and that was after I played George Michael at a ridiculously loud volume one night. (I don't think they were George fans.)
The house by the pylon was a very lively and unusual place to live. It was rather like a magnet, a magnet attracting chaos and disrupting any kind of normal life. Of course there were times I loved living there. I would enjoy playing the hostess with the mostess, I liked cooking for ten thousand people, and I was happy arranging Greek nights. I even became accustomed to the crazy people and some very strange senoras.
But sometimes I craved peace. Normality. Dullness even. This was not possible with the house by the pylon. Eventually, like all the others before me, I moved out. When you have a family living in your loft who are being attacked by hammers (incidentally the father is now serving time for murder) and a couple living in the spare room, a man with a glass eye and a woman full of constant tales of death, depression and diabetes, you do question what kind of life you are living.
Leaving the house was compared to saying goodbye to an old friend. But a friend who you know is not healthy for you. A friend you know you can’t be around any longer, for your own sanity. A friend you know you have to leave behind, and you wonder if they were really a friend in the first place?
So I packed my bags, shed a few tears of relief and sadness all mixed into one, and I shut the door behind to my old life and to the house by the pylon.
It was odd at the beginning. The calmness of my parents house was the parallel universe I’d craved for so long but it took a long while to adjust to.
I dreamt about the flat. I thought about the flat. I laughed about the flat. I despaired of the flat. Part of me even missed the flat. Other times I despised the flat and I blamed it for everything that had gone wrong in my life.
Then the funniest thing happened.
Four years later, when the flat was a distant memory in my hazy mind, the magnetic force was up to it's old tricks. The force was too strong to resist. To my astonishment, I found myself walking up the beige carpeted stairs again. Sitting on the brown leather sofa again. Staring out the window and looking at the electricity pylon again. How on earth did that happen?
The house by the pylon was back.
I danced in the flat's loft at the weekend. The familiar loft with the walk in wardrobe that isn’t a walk in wardrobe and the spiral stair case that isn’t a spiral stair case. (I now realise that not everyone who say they are a carpenter are in fact a carpenter.) A few of my friends were in the loft too, and we were all wearing wigs. Marge Simpson type wigs, afro wigs, bright pink wigs, and blond plaited wigs. We screamed with laughter and spun around to the rudeness of Lilly Allen lyrics, and placed balloons under our dresses/tops to impersonate my friend Eve who is 5 months pregnant.
It was as if I’d never been away!
I'd returned to the house. I was in a time warp. The magnet was stronger than ever. I remember shaking my head in bewilderment. Smiling at the newly painted terracotta coloured walls.
I'll be honest, I’d had a few glasses of Pino Gricio, but what happened next seemed real enough whilst I was dancing in the loft at the weekend. Whilst I was spinning around and laughing loudly, I'm sure I saw something out the corner of my Marge Simpson wig. If you promise not to laugh shall I tell you what I saw? I was convinced one of the terracotta walls winked at me. That's right, a big, cheeky, you're back in my life kind of wink. And guess what I did?
I winked right back.