Watching cats / by Joanna Furniss

I’ve been looking for a lost camera battery for a while.  I know it’s not really lost, it’s just buried somewhere in the cupboard at the end of the hall.  This cupboard has everything carefully crammed into it. No battery - yet, but I did come across a plastic bag containing a string of fairy lights – they’re orange tropical flowers made of fake silk.  They’re not even LEDs. 

These lights were a gift from a friend to mark my move into a flat above an off- licence near the Harrow Road in North West London 18 years ago.  This followed a short spell living South of the river with 4 others - I was the only one who ever cleaned the bathroom, plus it had mushrooms growing in the shower.  I’ve moved 11 times in the past 18 years.  For the past 2.5 years, I’ve been living alone for the first time ever, so now I only have myself to blame if the bathroom is overgrown with fungi.

My Nan was born and grew up in Dalston, moving out of London during the 2nd World War.  She loved to hear about my London life although her main concern was whether or not I was making ‘proper dinners' for myself.  She could never believe it when I told her about how the place where she grew up was becoming a more desirable and consequently expensive part of the city to be…

Aside from East London becoming fancy I think about the other stuff that’s happened over the past 18 years.  If I think about the news, I want to squeeze myself into the cupboard at the end of the hall and shut the door behind me.  On a personal note, 18 London years have seen several changes in circumstances that have led from one thing to another, to new work opportunities, deciding to leave my job, throwing all of my energy at a Masters degree.  There have been high points as well as some crappy times.  There have been plenty of new friends.

…next to the red bucket….that’s the bird cage…..I think there’s a cockatiel in there…..

…next to the red bucket….that’s the bird cage…..I think there’s a cockatiel in there…..

I’ve never had a solid life plan - instead I am focusing on figuring out a new routine.  I noticed that the black and white cat that lives in a flat on the opposite side of the estate has a little routine; it purposefully walks along the path taking it to the end of the estate, and then it walks back, jumps up a fence and on to a shed roof.   There’s a man who lives in a second floor flat who has a bird in a cage that he puts out on to the balcony when it’s sunny.  That’s part of his routine.   We’re all starting to hang our washing out to dry on our balconies again now that the weather is getting a bit nicer.  I’ve been walking around Islington a lot as part of my research for a new North London focused project. So I am getting out of the flat…

I’m not spending any more time in that cupboard, so I’ve ordered a new camera battery. The fairy lights are now draped around the window in the lounge. I can’t believe that they still work, one popped bulb aside.