I am woken by a ringing telephone, and at the end is my mother. Who tells me to stay away from trees, and something about a weather warning closing bridges on the South coast. And as I try to listen, I find what looks like the remains of a leaf under my pillow, and partly in my hair, and dryly swallow.
The wind is tormenting the sash windows, racking them in their rotting wooden frames. And as I stare across the blackened room, what used to be a palace is nothing more than a collection of material objects. Most of which I can no longer find a use for.
And in my mouth, the taste of nothingness. And the light on a small digital watch flicks on, and several minutes pass before the LCD scrolls around to 1851 and the Compact Disc alarm starts, and Remembering Sunday Plays from the speakers. And I think there really are very few trees here.
And from the window, in the kitchen, the Christmas lights in the street warp with the rain. Like dying candles. And I think of home, and Christmas. And although it's never an eventful time, I am looking forward to it, more now, than I ever have before. And the coast, and mould wine, and candle light dinners, and beaches on new years, and old friends, and college, and Berry Estates.