The Bubblegum Chronicles . ( snatch one ) .
I moved house last year , from the cathedralled splendour of Canterbury , where quietly drunken and sandalled monks padded the back street flags , to the cattle market town of Ashford , where Polish seems to be spoken more than English on the streets , and my local Asda has started selling such ethnic delights as jars of pickled cabbage and tins of beetroot soup , not to mention some dangerously intriguing varieties of sausage . I may have to learn the Polish language , although that might be a tad difficult as it sounds to me as though you have to have your tongue dislocated first , and then also perfect the art of spraying the person you are talking to in a shower of saliva droplets . I think I may have to ease myself in gently , start with the sausages and beetroot soup and develop the language skills at a later date . Nothing quite like entering into the spirit of things .
So I moved house , it took three days , and the help of two friends and a hired van .
I didn't realise I had amassed so much in the way of belongings , my friends couldn't believe I had amassed so much in the way of rubbish . The hired van laboured up and down the A28 , drank large amounts of diesel fuel and coughed blue smoke in a protesting manner.
I am one of lifes great collectors , books , magazines , vinyl records , house plants , interesting newspaper articles , old photographs and postcards , half price coupons for beetroot soup . You name it . My friends kept making remarks about Wombles , and still do .
I have been happily installed for several months now . I say happily because it's not often that one is availed of the opportunity to buy a dream house , and this is most certainly my dream house . It's an old terraced house near to Ashford international train station , and I do mean near , very near , in fact I can easily spit on the train station from my creaking front door . Marvellous , I just love trains . If I open my front window I can hear the announcements coming over the station tannoy in that wierdly wonderful triple echo effect that no one can quite understand , except maybe all Polish people , and seriously drunk business men who don't much care if they get on the wrong train and end up in Lille instead of Bromley .
My house was quite obviously built by the BBC special effects department as it has the same illusory qualities as the Tardis in the Doctor Who television series , small and unassuming on the outside but large and pleasantly complicated internally , a bit like the Hampton Court maze , but without all the bushes , or those blokes with name badges , who ask , " are you lost ? " whilst grinning condescendingly just because they work there and know the way out , but won't show you because it would spoil the fun .
Anyway , living right next to the station is my dream come true . What a wonderful architectural monstrosity it is . I think they ran out of money though as it still looks half built to me . Exposed girders that look like whale ribs and a roof that bears more than a passing resemblance to Sydney opera house after an earthquake .
I have always liked trains , although I was never a train spotter . It stems from when I was a child in the sixties . I used to stand at the side of the track , not far from where I lived , as the Glasgow to Edinburgh locomotive thundered past . This was not a lonely pastime , sometimes the Kilbride brothers would be there too , and occasionally Jumbo Burke would join us , as ten million tons of train whizzed past at about three hundred miles per hour , less than twelve inches from the end of our little noses . The sense of exhilaration was quite something I can tell you , although I do remember the strangely worried looks on the passengers faces in the carriages was something I never fathomed out . Personally I always found train travel a thoroughly enjoyable experience , and still do . But they always looked so worried in those days .
I share my house with an Australian barge dog called ' Bankrobber ' , ( because he has black eye patches and I once tied a neckerchief round his mouth to see what the effect was like and he is definitely a robber of banks , and he comes from the land of Ned Kelly originally , plus it's just bloody good fun taking him out for long walks on Romney marsh and shouting his name at the top of my voice ) .
I also have a tom cat and a tawny owl . The cat is called ' Charles Bronson ' because it has a death wish and plays double dare with the traffic on the main road every day. The owl seems to have ball bearing swivel joints in it's neck and is called ' Bishop ' ( after the android of the same name in the Alien 2 movie) .
I also have two lodgers in my house , both are twenty-five year old Japanese girls , called Mishimi and Yukio ( Yukio has moonlighted as Asher Khan in the recent past , which causes both of them much merriment and coy Japanese girly laughter behind cupped hands whenever it is mentioned , which is quite regularly at the moment ) . They both pretend to be political history students at Canterbury university , but really they are pole dancers at the night club in town , run I might add by a charming Polish fellow with a completely unpronouncable name . Before they go to work of an evening their limbering up routines are quite something to see , although my glasses tend to steam up half way through . They also seem quite superstitious with clothing and never get dressed properly untill they go out , preferring to walk round the house all the time in what can only be described as extremely scanty underwear . I have to turn the central heating right up to ensure they don't catch a chill for heavens sake .
One or other of my sons drops in from time to time , mainly to empty my freezer and use the cooking facilities . My girlfriend drops by regularly , to restock the freezer and thrash my credit card , and to cook me kai-naam-kaow , which she does very well because she comes from Thailand where stuff like that was invented .
I am deeply in love with the Pakistani woman who lives next door , she cooks the best goat curry this side of the Khyber pass and brings pots of it round for me on a regular basis . I told her husband , who bears a disturbing resemblance to Spike Milligan , both in appearance and mannerisms , that I loved her , and he said that I could buy her from him if I wanted to . Buy her for goodness sake ! We have entered into negotiations and I have recently upped my offer to twenty-five quid but he is resolutely holding out . He comes round most evenings to barter with me , usually just as the Geisha girls are going through their limbering up routine funnily enough . I think Spike will fold next week though , I have a plan to up my offer to thirty quid and allow his wife to continue living with him as long as she regularly brings curry round for me at least three times weekly , and I will let him continue to visit me after negotiations are closed and the deal is done , which he will not be able to refuse , in the sure knowledge that he is interested in the pros and cons of Japanese warm up routines .
Life goes on , day to day , more soon .
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> A day in my life