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A Shout From The Attic: Goings On At 121

"The windows were set half above and half below ground level, so that even when the sun streamed through the rear windows in the afternoon the room was never brilliant. It could have been cosy, but it never was...'' Ronnie Bray tells of his dreary childhood home.

* *
A well-written Life is almost as rare
As a well-spent one
.
Thomas Carlyle


One of the things I most remember about 121 is the designer lack of stimulus. The faint sepia pastoral scenes on the mirror were the only pictures in the house. There was no music, and no conversation that involved children. The walls of the downstairs were gloss painted in a fashionable dark green and yellow.

The windows were set half above and half below ground level, so that even when the sun streamed through the rear windows in the afternoon the room was never brilliant. It could have been cosy, but it never was. The dining table was a long wooden one that was kept scrubbed. Its kitchen end served as an ironing board with the application of a blanket and a sheet remnant.

I did not know then just how dreary it was. The alarm clock on the mantlepiece above the fireplace was always ten minutes fast. I hate timepieces that are not accurate. This one was clockwork with a huge bell atop of it loud enough to wake the dead. Its tick penetrated the room like nails when the talk fell silent around the fire of an evening.


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