The rain woke me up today. Having a bedroom in the loft means this happens more than you would think. In houses, without lofts, you have a buffer. Your roof space, which is full of all the stuff you should really throw away, but you don’t want to, is a cushion absorbing all the noise. In a loft, the roof is directly above your head. You hear the magpies and pigeons, hop, hop, hopping above you as they go about their daily business and you hear the rain. I wouldn’t change it. I hear everything above me but nothing that goes on below, I am in a bubble.
As I lie in bed with the window open, I can hear the aeroplanes taking off in the distance, the low whirr and hum. Once a day the big two-story Emirates plane takes off. If you watch it, it seems to move so slowly, in my head, I am shouting, ‘Come on, come on!’ Worried that at any moment it will just fall from the sky. Plop. Belly flopping onto the ground in an ungraceful lump. It never does.
At night the police helicopters fly over, the Facebook group for the local area gets into a panic, ‘What’s happening?’
‘I saw a white van, with someone foreign-looking inside’.
‘It must be for them, they looked well dodgy’.
‘There were a group of lads down by the shops, I don’t know what they were up to.’
The helicopter flies away to the other side of the city and the pings from Facebook ease up.
Another helicopter flies out of the airport, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh. Loud blades defying gravity, displacing air, this one is a Royal Airforce helicopter, taking a wounded soldier to the specialist hospital, where they help amputees. As the helicopter flies over I wonder, how bad is it? How much pain are they in? ‘I hope they have given them all the good drugs. Another victim from a war that no one talks about anymore, a war against zealots, a war with no country and no end in sight.
I have lived in my house for a long time and there have only been two times the planes stopped flying. The first time was in 2001 after 9/11. It was eerie, silent, adding to the complete horror of what had happened. It felt like the world had stopped turning.
The second time was in 2010 when that volcano in Iceland was erupting for ages and a cloud of dust made it impossible for the planes to fly. There were no flights to anywhere for six days. What was odd, though, was when that happened, the air cleared by us, it seemed brighter, cleaner. Frightening if that was more than a feeling, frightening if our air is that polluted by the planes. I think it is. But I’m not a scientist, I’m just talking about my loft.
The aeroplanes don’t wake me up like the rain, I’ve grown used to them, they are part of the rhythm of my home, there but not there.
From the window of my loft, I see tree’s, if I look down, I can see back gardens, mostly they are just patios and fences. There are hardly any hedges or trees, nowhere for the hedgehogs or the foxes, or the bees and the butterflies. My garden is an oasis in a sea of cement and stone.
In the summer when the windows are open you hear all sorts of things, music from barbeques, dog’s woof, woof, woofing. There’s been a lot of woofing lately. Too much woofing. I think about sad dogs who want to go for a walk but instead are put out into a stone garden that gives them no room to run and play. I think I live near lots of sad suburban dogs, with busy owners, who didn’t realise or take the time to learn, how much effort and time a dog needs to be given. It’s like buying a toddler to come and live with you, and like a toddler, you need to keep an eye on it; entertain it, feed it, give it plenty of fresh air and fun and teach it the rules, so it knows what the boundaries are. Woof, woof, woof.
The smell of barbeques will waft into the loft, with snippets of conversation from below, when the wind carries it, ‘Oh yes, I’ll have some ketchup on that’
‘Oooh this kebab is gorgeous Janet; you’ve outdone yourself.’
It’s only a matter of time before the smells make me leave the loft to go and find something to eat.
Sometimes I get the whiff of a cigarette, less now than ten years ago when the loft was first built, but occasionally. I quite like it. As an ex-smoker, it’s a little gratuitous sniff of something I miss but will never do again. Nice.
When I get woken by the rain, I don’t hate it. It reminds me of rainy days camping when you would be stuck in a stuffy warm tent and the drumming of rain would be a constant beat to whatever you were occupying yourself with. It’s comforting. Whilst it’s wet outside it’s warm and dry in. I am safe and cosy in my loft.
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