I’d come home from the holidays to discover the house locked up, dark and undisturbed but cold, really cold. Unpacking the car, quickly dumping the bags in the hall way so I could get into the lounge, put on some tunes and get the fire going. The burner gulped as I opened it, a small sigh of air escaped from the chimney and the aroma of the stale sooty embers permeated my nose, ash rose into the air and hung motionless.
I put Yagya on the record player; ambient, Icelandic tunes to suit the ecosystem of my unoccupied house, “God it’s like Greenland in here.”
The Fire took 2 sides of the triple album to really get going, without fear of the wood not taking, burning itself out, i’ve ash and oak as well as some larch on the log pile in side, so it was dry but cold to the touch, like everything, even my tea was only warm inside the freezing cup. Old houses are not hot, fact, theres too many holes and gaps in the walls and under doors and windows. I turned on the Christmas tree lights which sparkled and reflected in the curtainless french doors in the lounge, another reason the house was so damn freezing. So I hadn’t seen the garden in a week or so, the dog shit would still be there, the grass will not have grown, but there would be more twigs and leaves to rake up, pile up and try to burn. Sometimes I wish we could start all over again in the garden, wouldn’t it be amazing to have enough money to begin-egin again? Less grass, more mirrors, more patio and comfier patio furniture.
That night unmoving in my bed, I dreamt a kind of musical dream in which the protagonist, an enemy of mine, had visited my garden over the Christmas holidays and had sprayed sticky viscous mud all over the grass, the fence and the log store, so the logs were damp and dirty so I couldn’t burn them, the mud was up all the fence panels, it had coated the windows and the brick walls of the back of the house, so much so that I couldn’t see out of the downstairs windows. When I woke at the witching hour I looked out side of the bedroom window and saw nothing but the back gate open and a figure holding a massive hose, a vehicle behind him on the road playing the theme tune to chariots of fire quietly, as he swung slowly from left to right coating the entire garden in darkness, blanketing the trees and bamboo. The figure tilted its head upwards, featureless, then carried on spraying. I closed the curtains and went back to bed.
In the morning I went down to inspect the damage, I had to walk round the house from the front as it was quite impossible to open the back doors, and through the gate into the garden. It was then I saw what the figure had done, it was like a landslide had occurred in my garden, the shape amorphous, the colour brown and grey, the garden wiped out under an avalanche of mud. I looked down whilst stood in the gate to see two footprints, barefoot where the figure had stood, and next to the left foot a biro, with the name of a tyre firm in Stoke on Trent.
I know no one in Stoke on Trent, apart from Bible Bob and Rachel the Scouser from Stoke; I hadn’t spoken to either of them for over 26 years, at least. So this remains a mystery to me.