The view from my window is dominated by the trees that tower over the row of terraces on the next street. The branch ripped from a tree by a gust of wind last week, lies just feet away, having narrowly missed the window. The roof of No. 3 is carpeted with moss, leaves and twigs. Occasionally birds peck for insects hidden within the greenery, squirrels and mice scamper over the nooks and broken tiles.
I view this scene through a film of plastic sheeting which is what passes for double glazing in my place. Downstairs’ washing hangs over the line, beside a handful of unused pegs, underlining my neighbour’s non-conformist nature. A dog howls from a nearby garden, there’s a bark from elsewhere by way of response. The sunlight never reaches this room, leaving it dull and gloomy all year round.
The Elder is overgrown again, obliterating the view of the tenfoot, the border between the gardens, that invariably becomes a dumping ground for fly-tippers. On Tuesday evenings, strains of fiddle music can be heard swirling below, mixing with the song of the Jenny Wren that has taken to nesting nearby every year: both are carried on the breeze to my window.
I recall numerous times I have sat gazing at this view, respite for tired eyes after hours shifting in three stripe originals – gifted many moons before – hunched at my desk writing. As I look up a blackbird is busying himself, beak buried in the clumps of moss, gathering grubs for a brood of chicks, secreted in the thick undergrowth nearby.
The domestic scene quietly unfolding outside my window is interrupted by a view shot from inside that blackened tower forever on the news. The image prompts a nagging concern that my home is all too susceptible and should a fire ever break out I’d be left with no escape route, save dropping on to the roof.