Number 21

There are several different ways I can walk to or from work, and oftentimes in the morning, I take the quickest one, almost on automatic pilot.

But on the way home particularly, or if I am out and about in the day, I like to go the slightly longer way round (and it is only a matter of minutes) so that I can walk down the row of terraced Victorian cottages, and take a peek at number 21.

Structurally there isn’t anything to distinguish it from it’s sisters, but the people who live there take such care of it and have such lovely taste that it shines out like a beacon. The tiny front garden is beautifully kept, with shoots from bulbs poking out of the freshly-dug over soil in front of the window. Ivy climbs the brickwork, and it looks so inviting, you almost want to walk up to the front door and let yourself in.

I content myself with peeks through the window into the living room, with just a glimpse of the kitchen beyond. It is a cottage that has exposed beams inside, and an armchair backs onto the window. Quite often there is a cat laying sleepily on the back of it, occasionally opening and eye to watch you walk past, and pretend you weren’t looking in. My impressions are always snatched from fleeting glances, but the room is lit by lots of well-positioned table lamps. It is old-fashioned in the nicest possible way, and looks like you would just feel at home there. In the evening, the lamp-light makes the room glow softly. Peace and comfort seem to drift out through the letterbox like cooking smells being carried on the air.

I keep toying with the idea of putting a note through their door, just to let them know what a pleasure it is to walk past their home…but then I worry that this may sound very strange, and as though I have my nose pressed against their window all the time!

When I am creating our future homes, this sense of cosy warmth is definitely what I am going to be aiming for. And in the meantime, I will continue with my editing and curating of possessions, so that our next home is not too full of good things, but instead has just enough in it.

And while I doubt for a single minute that they will ever know I have written this, to those who live at number 21, thank you…

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