Gilding the condensation.
An old film on the television
Gets less old.
Feel like a ghost, given another corporeal chance.
Walking in the kitchen,
With the radio as welcome as birdsong.
Spring, with new found motivation.
The meaning of life is to live it.
I’m up after lunchtime, again.
The cat is too. Sitting at the window,
Watching the early birds.
Starlings. Darlings flocking past
Me and the cat, our eyes
Like a tennis crowd, watch the passing
Birds. Not sure what the cat thinks
About the clouds. He’s facing me
In the flat across the road.
Across the parking lot. I should get a pet
A dog lends itself to petting,
A cat, maybe, wants to know what it’s getting.
Depends on the dog, my dear
They have different personalities, like you and me.
Who are you, how did you get into my flat?
I used to live here, in the 1960s,
I must say you’ve made a mess of the place.
That bathroom is appalling.
Get out! You got in, so you know the way out!
That’s the trouble. I have no idea how I ended up
Back here. I’ve spent the night hiding in fright myself,
In the bath behind the shower curtain. You really should shower,
It’s past the hour of midday. I heard you up earlier,
I thought you were going to work, but you went back to bed.
Are you a ghost, maybe?
I don’t know, I pinched myself to see if I was real
And it hurt. Can I pinch you? To see what happens.
Of course not. You can prod my shoulder, and that’s it.
Well, you seem real. Although standards have slipped since
So if you aren’t a conventional ghost, maybe
You are a lunatic… So can I ask you again
Please leave, I’ll walk you down the hall,
Slowly, and you can walk back to 1969,
The high street architecture is roughly the same.
If you take a right at the lights near Specsavers,
There’s a doctors as well. I suggest you introduce yourself
To a doctor. Of some sort.
You don’t understand, everytime I try and walk into the flat lobby
I end up back in here.
Ok, prove it.
Ok, but if you were scared before it might scare you more.
The door’s open. Make your way…
Ok, by the way, if I end up somewhere else I’ll be
Happy, as you will be if I’m gone.
Where were you before you were here?
I don’t know, that’s the other worrying thing.
I’m trying to be brave.
Well, wherever it was it can’t be worse than hiding
Behind my shower curtain.
Are you sure, what if I’m in limbo?
You are about my age, and your knees seem healthy
You’ll have fun in limbo, pretend you are on holiday abroad
One of those resort game nights.
I’m scared, I don’t want to be in limbo,
And I’m kind of getting used to the old place
With your home improvements. That red feature wall
Is really special.
Let go of my hand.
I want you to come with me, into the hall.
Okay, I’ll lead you out. Here we go…
Hello, hello? How strange, she did disappear.
Oh God, I can’t believe I was hoping that she was a lunatic.
What a shitty Hobson’s choice.
Ghost (shouting from kitchen):
Coowee! It’s me again. I’m back in the kitchen
Is this modern music? It sounds a bit like the stuff from 1969.
Oh, you are back here. Nobody says Coowee anymore.
Yes. You know, I used to dance to the radio,
Radio 1. I was young then.
You still are young. You are about my age, 34 or something.
Oh thanks, I’m glad. I wasn’t sure. The thing is, I can’t see
My reflection. I looked in your bathroom mirror, and there was nothing.
Except the towel smears you left some other day. You really
Should clean this place more often.
That’s a few times you’ve criticised me,
Usually it takes a friend a while before they do that.
Maybe I’m some sort of fairy godmother?
Dream on. I’ve got a godmother, and she doesn’t
Criticise my decor or slovenly habits.
At least you admit you are slovenly.
I’m love-el-y, not slovenly.
Is that man in the photograph your social worker?
No, it’s my current boyfriend, as it happens.
He’s keeping you at arms length,
And has a pained expression on his face.
I read about body language in Vogue magazine.
Or at least I used to.
I have a few copies of…wait. Are you trying to ingratiate
Yourself, so you can stay longer. A bit like a kid
Hoping its parents don’t notice that it’s bedtime.
No, I’m just spinning out the time.
Truth is, I’m worried how I’m going to get out
Of this situation. You don’t want
Me here. I want to be alone, in 1969,
With a blank cheque book for a DIY shop,
That I can’t get to. Because the high street will have changed.
Look out the kitchen window,
What do you think of the cars?
They look like Fanny Craddock’s jelly moulds to me.
Or if a car from my time had melted a bit.
Ha! That’s a good image, I like that.
Yes, you are right, how are we going to resolve
All of this?
I get a feeling a higher power is responsible,
Maybe it’s not our place to resolve it
And it will resolve itself, eventually.
I’m not leaving this up to fate, I don’t believe in it.
Could I ask you a question?
I suppose so.
Where do you keep the tea bags, I’m parched.
My mouth feels like it’s been in storage for 30 years.
Ok, I’ll make you tea, is Typhoo alright?
That would be lovely, I’m surprised they still make it.
You know, before you woke up this morning
I was listening to the radio. I was enjoying the music,
And I saw in your paper that it’s 1999.
You know, after the moon landings and all the rest of it,
I’m sort of disappointed that the cars are still like cars,
And the clothes you are wearing, and that people walking by
Are wearing look quite sensible. I thought it would be like Star Trek.
Just as well I get up late,
Gave you a chance to acclimatise with the future.
Are you a housewife? The man in the picture has a nice
Haircut. He looks like someone that went to San Francisco
With flowers in his hair.
Unfortunately, he’d rather go to a hard rock festival.
Hard rock, what’s that? Something in Blackpool.
Kiss me quick?
No, think of Black Sabbath.
You’ve lost me. I wasn’t brought up religious,
And on the Sabbath I like to read a book…in my flat.
Well, you can get that idea out of your head,
It isn’t your flat anymore, it’s mine.
You don’t pay the rent, you don’t pay the council tax.
There, drink your tea, and sit down in the living room.
Could you put the television on? I was trying to switch it on
But there were so many channels I got confused.
I flicked through, and it was all about murder and Hitler.
To be honest, that’s when I thought I might be having a nightmare
And would wake up at some point. But if this was a dream
I would have woken up by now, I would think.
The television programmes were so awful I went back
Behind the shower curtain.
It’s not a dream. We’ll just both have to be stoic and try and
Reason a way out of this situation. I’ll put the television on,
Hopefully we can find something you’ll like.
Oh, what’s that? The people seem so relaxed
Everyone was uptight in my day,
But this looks marvellous.
It’s a party political broadcast by the conservative party.
Really, they look so young and friendly. In my day all the politicians
Were old, and would sell their granny into slavery,
If she was still alive. Which was unlikely.
I’ll try one of the music channels, you said you liked the music.
Oh, what’s this? That’s a lovely melody.
What it is is the dying embers of Britpop, a music scene
Which began in 1994. But if you like it, you like it.
I must say, the televisions are massive now,
And the colour picture. It’s like some kind of wizardry
I’m glad you think so. My life is a downward spiral
Of existential angst and ennui, but seeing you enjoy
Things I take for granted makes me appreciate them,
A bit. Although talking to a ghost from 1969
Isn’t doing much for my mental health.
Your mental health? My dear, I thought it’s not the done thing
To talk about that. Stiff upper lip, that’s how we won the war,
Although with all these programmes about that mad man
With the daft moustache, I’m beginning to worry.
If Hitler had won the war, the buses would run on time
But everyone would be dead, so there would be nobody to
Hop on… or hop off, for that matter.
Well, if everyone was dead,
Maybe I wouldn’t feel so lonely.
I’m not even sure I did die.
What’s the last thing you remembered
Dancing in the kitchen with my big dog,
It was so funny,
Its paws on my shoulders,
It was a big dog,
And I’m not the tallest as you can see.
It’s the memory of that that has kept me going
Through all this awful stuff.
Come on Ghosty, there…the music videos
Concentrate on the men. They were handsome, no?
This is the 1980s.
Oh, I like men, but I prefer women. If you must know
Although saying so wasn’t well received in 1969,
There was no hand holding in the park
Like my relations and friends could do when they were
In 1999, it’s meant to be more tolerant,
But I’m not so sure. Although you could have
A girlfriend, but people would still be snide about it.
Snide about what? All that fuss over nothing.
People should just live and let live,
That’s what I say. Although me being 34
And living with my dog made tongues wag
Some thought I was frigid,
Some thought I was a witch or an old hag.
That’s terrible. I get the same comments myself,
The picture of my boyfriend is an old one.
I just don’t have the heart to take it from the top
Of the bookshelf.
Will we try walking into the hall again?
All this talk of life is making me feel miserable
I’d rather be back in limbo or wherever,
Anywhere but here.
Ok, but you can take my hand this time.
I don’t mind.
Oh, that’s a lovely gesture.
Right give me your lovely wrist,
And get ready to open the door.
Ok, door opened,
Let’s step into the light,
Of the hallway.
I’m getting nervous again
It’ll be fine, you’ll probably end up back in the kitchen.
Yes, probably. Maybe if that happens you can make us some
Hot buttered toast. I see you prefer butter to margarine.
Flavour is king, in this house.
A woman after my own heart.
Right, let’s step into the lobby,
I’ve got to be brave.
How strange I’m in the kitchen,
How did I get here?
Hello, ghost, are you in the bathroom?
Nope, nothing there.
Look at this dog, it’s oversized for the house,
This is very strange. Not sure I like it slavering over
My coffee table magazines.
Well, I’m kind of glad, I’ve gained a dog,
Lost a ghost.
But…what happens if I step into the lobby?
Will probably send the dog out first…