…back pain, that is. I woke up late today to find I couldn’t turn my head without a sharp pain in the dorsal spine and round the shoulder blade. Made myself go swimming in the hope that it would help, but it didn’t. Now sitting here with an air-activated heat pad on my back, and hoping I will be fit to go to Harry Potter six with GB and a couple of his friends tomorrow.
Most likely cause of pain, apart from weird sleeping, is having sat on a square high wooden stool at a long refectory table last night to eat dinner with my sis-in-law and her hubby. It was worth it however, not only to see them, which we don’t do often, but also to see the extremely weird house they are house-sitting, which is what brings them to London this week.
Apart from the old square pillar box on the front wall and the wire ‘screen door’ operated by a Heath Robinson sort of counterweight arrangement, it looked from outside like a normal Victorian/Edwardian London suburban house – until you got inside. Then you were confronted by a vast collection of hunting trophies in the form of stuffed animal heads, staring from the wall with their glassy eyes and crammed so close that in the living room alone, there must have been forty or fifty, including a vast rhino head and a water buffalo amongst large numbers of gazelles, eland, okapi or whatever they were, plus lionesses, leopards, zebra, and a giraffe. In other rooms there were many more, some just lying around and not mounted, including a camel with a hat on, and some heads of pike in the bathroom.
As well as all this livestock – maybe sixty or seventy heads in the whole house – there was plenteous other Victoriana, including church pews, a piano with candelabra, a collection of hassocks and collection pouches, a number of fire buckets full of rounders bats, and some school lockers in the hall. Oh, and an original, not repro, Victorian loo and cistern with Thomas Crapper imprinted on it, as well as a collection of old enamel kitchen equipment and different coloured enamel coffee pots (about ten) in the kitchen. And the lounge stank of mothballs which presumably came from the various taxidermy.
The whole thing was redolent of a scene from Dickens, and definitely worth driving down to Sarf London to see. Even if it gave me a backache. It was good to see the in-laws and the young cousins too.