Although I don’t have any access to any decent PC now, namely my own notebook, I still do like to take pictures on my camera; all the taken photographs are still on my memory card and have to wait for me to come back to N’Castle – but it will be, in the end, unexpectedly soon.
I didn’t wanna let slip away one photo opportunity these days: we own an old, far more than 100 years old, house in the same town we live now, and the old house is left empty already many years; nearly twenty now.
We used to live there for a short while, I mean we as our current, recent family; I have some memories tied to the place still. But before us, long time ago, there was living the previous part of our family, my dad, my grandmother, even grand-grandparents.
And the house was left alone those nearly twenty years ago, in the same state we used to be there; there are books, furniture full of clothing, dinnerware, in the bathroom is even left old shaving stuff and a toothbrush; it looks a bit like left after some kind of disaster, surprisingly full of all the personal stuff, like if a war or earthquake or something came and the people in had to leave in a big hurry, letting everything rot behind.
But nothing happened, really, we just moved few tens of metres away, not even in kilometres. From the windows facing south west we can without problems see the old shack.
So I took my chance to try the 50mm lens in there, since last time I had only a telephoto one; and I went those few tens of meters to the old, wet building – if statics came across it, they would probably order us to tear it down.
But they didn’t and the house is still standing, as left in 1990′.
I entered the shack meaning to snap few pictures and go away, and I did, in the cold wet bathroom, where the iron bathtub doesn’t even have proper drain, it’s just opened and when we used to bath, once a week, the water was left to pour on the concrete-stone floor and there it went to the only drain in the middle of the dark room.
I remember I hated the weekly bathing, the room was big and dark and really cold, especially when winter came and the door from the bathroom go right to the storage without any kind of isolation from the outer snow and freeze. Where we live, in winter with some luck can come days with -20 or even more degrees of Celsius.
There was a small kind of fire stove and from above the iron bathtub the “heating-lamp”, when a man pulls the string like on a toilet and instead of bulb it has a strong spiral which heats up to the orange-ish kind, almost melting down; close to it, it might be a bit warmer, but in such room it wasn’t really for any good, maybe just a psychological effect: “Look, the heater is on.”
But as I moved more to the heart of the house, the actual living areas, I stopped taking pictures and started to go through stuff, wondering why my parents leave such things to be destroyed by water and termites and fungus; many photographs of our family from before the World War I, personal correspondence of my grandparents, pictures with politicians of the time; and many, many old and nice books.
I am the book person and seeing such a number of small paper treasures laying around, some covered by a white layer of mould, was almost painy for me.
I dug from the very stomach of almost destroyed cupboard a small box, completely rotten, but in it, under several layers of baking paper, a Bible from 1911, with true golden, tough black cover, real pearl of books; I took the Bible home with me as I really couldn’t leave such a thing behind.
I found German books printed in Schwabach, a special kind of lettering, left as hard to read on the beginning of 20th century; I found poetry printed in 1895 and 1900, and took all those small and very wet and smelly books home. Now I’m hoping for them to dry up a bit, so I can take them later to Kuwait, when we – inshallah – move there, to start the family library we always talked about.
Because my father and mother maybe do not want more junk at home, but I find some prints nowadays very astonishing and worth of preserving.
There are much more things rotting still, and I plan to drag my father soon back to the house to go systematically through the stuff, to save and preserve the worthy one, such as personal letters, a work on a book from my grandfather, many other photographs I couldn’t take with me, even maybe some of the dishes. In my eyes it’s a big shame to leave those things engraved together with past and wait for the house to collapse by itself…
I took some pictures and I will hopefully present them later on when we fly back to Newcastle, back to our pseudo-Victorian row house, where I will have time and software to get them out of the camera.