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Showing posts from December, 2019

On Snooker

When I was ten my parents bought a dilapidated house for cheap in Normandy, against their own better judgement and the advice of everyone they consulted. The place was a noble ruin, with a huge wild field to the front, an overrun vegetable garden fenced off by rusty chickenwire to the side, a well at the back, a frigid outside toilet, and, in the kitchen, a magnificently vast brick chimney with a fine wooden beam, which the owners had cupboarded off to prevent drafts. There was a basin in the kitchen, a small table and two chairs. My folks moved an old gramophone in, and a Victorian bed, and we played old 78s of Little Richard and Eartha Kitt after dinner and slept on mattresses among the sawdust and tins of paint.

At Christmas my grandparents and uncles came to stay, and we set out deckchairs by the fire in the sitting room, whose curlicued antique wood panels had been massacred bile-green. On Christmas Eve after dinner I retired to bed with my brother and sister while the adults wra…