I am sitting in an empty cottage listening to the silence that pools in the small rooms and hidden niches.
Outside the village is darkening quickly. Occasionally you can hear laughter from the pub, but for most of the time it feels like I am the only person in the world.
This is a small cottage and most of the time I am on my own. A few times a week the landlady, with whom I lodge, makes an appearance and then the cottage feels comfortably full. It is hard to believe that this little house for much of its life would have had a family of seven or eight people living in it.
I quite like being alone here. Lying in bed at night I can sense the rooms above and below me, I know their dimensions and contents. I can walk through the house without leaving the room.
Of course when I do that, I realise that I am not alone.
This is a house of spiders. I was verging on arachnophobia before I arrived here but after a couple of months it was just too much effort. Now I find them fascinating. Each room has at least one, regularly having to re-spin their web due to my dusting.
On the edges of the cottage and kept at bay by a complex sonic exclusion system are the mice. Before we introduced the grid, they let us know they were here by seeking out bars of soap and dragging them across floorboards.
The temporary residents are the beetles and moths who come in from the garden and have to be removed and asked politely not to return.
Last but not least, hidden in the eaves of the house are the sparrows. When the house was renovated, the builders made sure to leave an access point and the little birds didn’t need asking twice.
They live, love, squabble in the gutter, raise their young and wake me early in the morning. They fly straight at the window and then pull up at the last-minute and disappear from view. They chide me when I am searching for my keys outside the door and hop around the kitchen door hopefully in winter. If I listen carefully in spring, I can hear the chicks at feeding time.
Oh and then there are the human neighbours…
So am I never really alone in this house and that suits me fine.