a grand piled high with music scores that 'needs tuning'
above it hangs an ethnic fabric
on the windowsill a multi-coloured candle
the sitting room next door is chaotic and eclectic
two giant armchairs and an oversized sofa shrink the room
a bay window with patio doors overlooks an unkempt back garden
vertically-striped wallpaper and cheap-looking door frames jar
the woodle's piano-playing spills untidily through the dividing doors
upstairs a well-spoken man's voice resonates
regaling a disembodied interlocutor at the other end of the phone line
a half-read book rests on the arm of one of the giants
'enemies of god - scottish witch-hunts of the 18th century'
on the wall opposite a striking colour print
the temptation of st anthony by grunewald
peopled by grotesque demons and plague victims
an odour of pharmacy and cat urine permeates
i seat myself tentatively on the sofa
its cat blanket thrown aside
and peer timidly upwards
where perilously overburdened bookshelves threaten impending collapse
alan garner stories
volumes full of colour plates of mediaeval paintings
over the mantelpiece a rusty old french horn holds centrestage
an ugly electric fire occupies the grate
altogether an unprepossessing but characterful house
who lives here?
what is their story?
i am about to find out