Sunday, 1 August 2010

My Vertical Village

I live in a traditional Scottish Victorian tenement. There are six flats; three unmarried ladies of different generations (one of which is me), a single mum, a middle aged bloke – unusually, a professor of popular music - and two lesbians, four kids and a cat. We're an eclectic bunch, and it's only as I write I realise that not one of these homes hosts a 'traditional' family.

Tenement living is little like existing in an upright village. We know each others business to a point, help each other when we can and unite against our evil property managers. They wield too much power over us as factors – a strange landlord hybrid - despite us owning our own homes and, communally, the building that brings us together.

We're sacking them as they hinder rather help us take care of the old place and our bank accounts. Tonight I hosted our meeting to figure out the way forward for this little vertical gathering of homes.

Living like this, in a big formerly industrial city, brings a comforting sense of community and reassurance.

We are merely keepers of this place for our life times. The building will be here long after we're all gone, if we look after it.

Who will inhabit these rooms after me? Who has lived and died here, broken hearts or given birth?

Will my predecessors take care of the cornicing , the century old sash windows or the elderly lady upstairs? No-one can know, but for now this building and the lives contained within it are ours. We look out for each other and this place.

I like it.


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