Sunday, June 3, 1984

Grey House

I came back on the noon bus which reached Watermouth a little after eight in the evening. It was a boring journey down, with all the customary stops, and when we finally came upon Watermouth the sun was setting in a golden blaze, painting the hills with light.

At the Vicarage I found a message in my room from Lee telling me that they’d found a new squat  at 66 Maynard Gardens and that I had a basement room and should “Come and Join the P-A-R-T-Y.” Most people had already moved their belongings out of the Vicarage. Gav’s room was empty, scattered with paper and litter, and Lee’s room was almost empty too . . ..

So with a little trepidation I walked down Albany Mount to Maynard Gardens. Number 66 is a tall grey house with black window frames and a plain wooden door in a terrace facing the main road. Everyone already refers to it as the “Grey House.”

Lee and Pete were both enthusiastic about the new place and quick to point out that I’d made an error in going home when I did. They noisily showed me round. Below pavement level is a basement that’s very dingy, filled with clutter and thick with cobwebs, and the view from the window is a procession of feet and wheels. There’s a back room down there also, which is equally choked with rubbish and looks out onto an overgrown, mossy and dank high-walled yard. On the ground floor are two main rooms (occupied by Alex), a narrow front hall leading to the stairs and a long narrow kitchen illuminated by a skylight. Beyond the kitchen is a toilet.

Gav lives on the first floor in the best rooms in the house. They’re carpeted, with bookshelves and tidily decorated, and there’s a small balcony overlooking the roar of traffic in Maynard Gardens. On the second floor is Pete’s room, also carpeted, and Lee’s room and a bathroom are on the third floor. There’s also a toilet on the landing between the ground floor and Gav’s room.

All the rooms have sinks with taps that work and the toilets flush. There’s running water in the kitchen, and even hot water!

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