Well, where do I start. Today has been an incredible day. I finally did some writing, which has made me feel a whole lot better - and thank you to those of you who have been providing me support through my three or four days of writing drought (even you, Bryan, who encouraged me with visions of my own mortality!). But that was earlier today, and I really need to tell you about last night.
Reading over my last blog I left you last night with the door bell ringing; it was, indeed, the Laird. He had to ring the doorbell because he'd left his keys in the hall of his house - he could picture
them, picture precisely
the place - and so had no means of access to his own house. I say his own house because, and I wasn't told this by any of the rest of the set, the Laird owns the house and is the landlord to whom all the others pay rent. I don't know why the others didn't tell me this before; they acted as if the Laird was just another young renter like them, trying to survive on a shoe-string and find enough cash to pay the rent.
The Laird has never, it seems, had to live on a shoestring in his life. Although his clothes and hair are messy - he has a shock of blonde hair that sticks out at all sorts of unlikely angles and which he is constantly, and unconsciously, pressing down onto his head - he has clearly got lots of money. Even if I didn't know about the mansion-like property in Wales and this beautiful little town house in the country I would be quite certain that he was prince-like in his riches. He has the air of someone who has money, he sits expansively and walks busily like he knows where he's going. If any of you know the British Conservative politician, Boris Johnson, the Laird reminds me slightly of him, 'though he doesn't have his constantly confused attitude. Rather he is very direct, very crisp; he speaks as though he's reading from a script (maybe something written by P.G. Wodehouse). He's also very funny.
The set in the house - me, Carly, Darren, James and the new man, the Laird - all sat up drinking wine. It seems to be a regular event in the house, these intense talking sessions that go on for hours over wine and - in this instance - ready salted crisps. The Laird picked them up between two fingers, holding them aloft like a dandy might flourish a pen, before slipping them into his mouth - not breaking the stride of his conversation as he did. He certainly is a character.
Obviously the Laird was a little surprised to see me - a stanger in his house - and I had to explain how I had been effectively homeless in London (because of my ridiculous attempt to write this novel) and that Carly had taken me in like the little saint that she was. 'Little Saint' was the Laird's name for her, 'My little saint...' he said it like a character from Evelyn Waugh. However, I assumed that the conversation was tacking towards my eviction from the house - and this is understandable. I have, after all, been on their sofa for over a week now and I am a stranger who none of them really know. However, this is not how it turned out...
The Laird pointed to me, mid-conversation, and summoned me to his rooms, he wanted to show me something - the others ohhhed at this. I had the feeling that there was a private joke that I was not privvy to but I followed anyway. The Laird's room was actually two - on the ground floor at the back of a house, he has a separate sitting room to the main one and an interconnected bedroom. In his sitting room is a stand-up piano and the whole place is strewn over with marked-over stave-sheets (you know the kind with four musical lines, that composers write music on).
The Laird sits me down and explains to me that he owns the house - this is how I found out - and that he is very particular about who lives in it; he's not an ordinary landlord who doesn't care as long as the rent is paid. I think this is going towards me getting a telling off, how I dare I come into his house! etc. but it doesn't. He says he collects artists, he's not very artistic himself, but he's always liked to be around people who could draw and write. He was always like that at university. So, he says, he wants to see my writing.
I say, "Excuse me?" and make I don't really understand noises. He says that he assumes that I would like to stay here long term - "You have nowhere else do you?" - and that he wants to see whether I'm the kind of person he wants around.
I'm getting a bit flustered at this point, because - as I've complained here enough - I haven't written anything yet. I tell him so, I tell him I've got plenty of ideas, but I haven't yet put pen to paper. He looks skeptical, like my tutor did in college when I gave some excuse about not handing in my essay on time. He asks me to tell me what my ideas are. I'm started to get that flushed uncertain feeling; I really didn't like the idea of telling him my ideas - what if they sounded stupid. Eventually, however, he got them out of me.
Anyway, the long and the short of it is: he was interested enough in what I was doing to let me stay! So I am now a resident (non-sofa) of the little house where I've been living. I asked the Laird how much the rent was and he said, "How much do you want to pay?" I said as little as possible (I've got no work as of yet and am living off my savings). He offered £40 a week. Now, I don't know if any of you reading this are from London, but £40 a week is a pittance - its like paying nothing at all. So I took it immediately. The Laird smiled his foppish smile and clapped his hands like he was applauding me. He has a very young face, I'd imagine he's about 25-27ish, but he looks much younger, almost like an adolescent.
So, now I'm living on the top floor - across the landing from Carly's room/studio. There's not much furniture in here; a bed without a mattress a desk that looks like its falling apart, but I can get used to that. So, life is good!
I'm getting to the end of my time, so I'd better go. And I haven't even got on to today, yet - when I started writing my novel! How exciting! I'll have to tell you about today tomorrow, and then hopefully catch up the time lag in my blog somewhere down the line.
PS - I'm so excited about the future!