Mornings in my home are noisy. Five thirty AM and duty, in the guise of an alarm clock, drags me inexorably from the comfort of my bed to start the day. The sun has not yet reached into the kitchen when I put the kettle on. I stare unseeing out into the mist- wreathed street, taking this quiet moment to brace myself for the rush The next couple of hours are a blur of packing sandwiches and making breakfast. The radio keeps me in touch with the world and the weather and the traffic situation; all noises that are over ridden by that of the increasing traffic outside, the loud rushing of water as the washing machine fills up and the drone of the vacuum cleaner being moved from room to room. Curtains are flung back to let the day stream in.
In the afternoon, the light in the room darkens and becomes shadowy. As I sit at my writing table next to the windows in the lounge, I can hear the bubbling of the fountain as it spills endlessly into the swimming pool The sun is slanting towards the west and it highlights the lemon-patterned cloth on the patio table. Faithful Thandi, plump and kind, comes through with her arms full of freshly ironed clothes, her slippered feet whispering on the carpet as she passes me. Little freckles of sunlight escape through the trees on the west of the house and run across the carpet with dust dancing in their rays. It is time for tea and chocolate cake.
Evening comes, “with smell of steak in passage ways”. As I put the dinner on, my husband’s cheery hello from the front door prompts me to put the kettle on for tea while supper’s aromas waft through the house. The television can be heard speaking to no one in particular in the next room. Curtains are drawn against the gathering dark as we sit in the peace of the sitting room discussing the day’s events. I love this room with its deep yellow walls and standard lamps casting light and shade onto the richly-coloured paintings on the walls When all is done, quiet descends as bedtime comes. All that can be heard is the loud ticking of the railway clock in the dining room, as if it were the very heartbeat of the home.
I have often thought of what the house must be like when we are out. I have the sense of suspended animation; a breathless waiting for its humans to return and give the contents meaning.