Thursday, January 27, 2011


There's a line in one of our old Christmas news letters that goes:

Mummy is the dog being sick again?
No Jon, that's Daddy's new record.

So I guess I'm the last one to talk about the soundtrack of my life but this is about the music of my house. 'Your house makes funny noises' said a guest at today's Quiet Day.

Indeed it does. I noticed it when I moved in four and a bit years back but now it's just normal. The expansion and contraction of the various joints in the frame of the house as temperature changes. The whoosh of the heating system. The normal working noises of a fridge with a personality defect. The feet of birds on the conservatory roof, trying to get traction.

We all live in noise environments which are, to us, reassuring. Holiday cottages are often hard to sleep in because the background noise is unfamiliar. As soon as we recognise the soundtrack - that click was because the heating was meant to come on then - we feel comfortable.

Changing the noise makes our lives rattle.

I use music like a dog marks its territory. I like it to soak into the walls. But when the sound system goes to silent I find the cracking of my cooling bricks and mortar a comfort. The reassuring melody of normality which a quiet day reveals more clearly than others.

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