Well – this week finds me yet again in my second house/home. And the beauty about being in this enormous rambling creaky old house for brief (too brief) a period is that here I have no bills to worry about, no meals to prepare or beds to make, no cleaning to be done, no washing – endless bloody washing to be put on, put out, taken in, sorted and redistributed; then the whole bloody cycle starts again.
I love this place. I love the people who work here. I love the laughter with them - the slagging and the inevitable smutty chat. Smuttiness is good. Almost as good as flirting. Flirting and laughing and smutty talk make the world go round.
I love the silence and the space. I love the erudite conversation and hilarious discourse around the table at the evening meal. I love the food. Good food. Great food. Almost as good as sex food. Even almost as good as chocolate food!
This time I’m billeted in the Morning Room where I write with a morning cuppa for an hour or so. I don’t know why it’s called the Morning Room as the sun never quite reaches it at any time of day. After breakfast I take a stroll, the length of which depends on how well the work is going. So far it’s been going well. After another hour or two I take another break. Maybe wander down to the sitting room (where I sprawl as I’m writing this) and gaze at the lake which can be either still and eerily flat or glint with dancing sunshine. I am quiet. The house is quiet. The silence here is really extraordinary – it has a quality to it I have never felt (heard?) anywhere else – not even in my beloved Donegal. They say the earth hums in B flat. Well, the Big House definitely hums a different note.
At lunchtime I might run into one or other of the guests who are here – one’s rarely bored with people staying in Annamak – all with fascinating tales to tell. Someone should write a book set in this place. A good old murder mystery maybe – g’wan all you crime-writers out there – double dare ye! The house is an ideal place in which to set a ghost story – and the story of the ghost in one of the rooms here invariably comes up. People believe what they want to believe – its called faith.
The early afternoon I dedicate to a little thinking and reading, then try to write for another two hours. Then dinner. Oh! Annamak dinners! Depending on what stage people are at there might be long chats over glasses of wine. Or, as happened on my first night her, a few songs from musicians – what voices they had! What songs they knew – wonderful. On another occasion some years ago there was an art exhibition and story reading from other guests.
When we wind up for the evening I sometimes stroll in the grounds or if I have some detail on my mind return to the desk and write again. I give no time to mundane tasks – barring showering of course! In Annamak I simply am.
The other Evelyn Walsh will be back here next week.