There’s a house I’ve noticed every day for about three years going to and from the school run/dog walking/trips to the shops and it’s getting inside my thoughts.
It is a part of a neighbourhood row of unassuming bungalows and, occasionally, attempts at a two- story existence involving sloping ceilings.
At first this house was stripped back, no roof, just the foundations about two feet high, enclosing a concrete floor indicating possibly fire damage.
Then, slowly, a man started working on it, adding foundation blocks until it reached one full story. That took about a year.
Slowly each pallet of blocks was woven into the framework of the home until it was gone. I could tell when work was planned because a pallet appeared in front of the house about once a month.
The next year involved adding the blocks for the sloping second story.
The third year involved the wooden bits. This is the picture as it stands now.
At first I thought it was some guy who had been screwed by an insurance company.
Then I came upon the theory (in my mind) that it was one those magazine subscriptions – you know, “build a model clipper ship” where they send you a part every month, and the first issue is 99p. Then a whopping £6.99 an issue after that, making the overall cost of the model something like £800. These offers generally start just after Christmas only. Now, in my mind, they had graduated to houses – month after month of a pallet of foundation blocks, then blocks for walls, then wooden parts, then plastic parts, copper for the plumbing, wire for the electric, until you had build a house! Half a million for a two bedroom.
But rather than look at the seedier side of retail, I came up with a new theory all because I had had a stroke (“How fortunate,” he remarked with a sardonic grimace).
What if building the house I had seen was just a life lesson, an analogy, for applying yourself to coming back from the effects of a stroke? Slowly building what once was a home into its former glory: start with the foundation (speech and physical rehab), build strong walls (continuous rehab), roof it (accomplish some goals), work on the plumbing and electricity (the stroke affected both of those) and decorate it.