17. Heating


While I was drawing this, a woman with long hair, and glasses, and holding a postcard for an estate agent, crossed the road and stood off to the side of me, and asked me how it was that I had chosen this house to draw.
‘Is it your house?’ I asked her, pausing my podcast*, and she said yes it was, so I went on to explain how I chose.
‘I choose them because of their light or colour, and the garden, or the style,’ I said looking up at her from my position on the edge of the gutter, ‘or for a bit of sunlight for me to sit in.’
Then we talked for a few moments about my drawing, and I asked the woman if her house was built in the 60s.
The woman said yes it was, and that there were a few more of this style in this street and neighbouring streets.
‘That house over there has a sunken lounge,’ she told me, ‘and I think they were all designed by an Italian.’
Then we talked on a bit about the development of Los Angeles, and the architecture, and the gardens.
‘You can tell the ages of the neighbouring streets by the trees.’ she told me.
‘That makes sense.’ I said.
Then the woman told me when she had first moved into the house, that she had lived for years with winter cold.
‘When we moved in we had no heating,’ she told me, ‘and then my mother died and we got some money and so we finally got some heating.’
Then she told me that when she’d moved in she’d had trouble with the neighbours complaining about some of the plants in her garden, which she had chosen water-wisely with the environment in mind.
‘So I went to the garden centre and bought those wispy ones there.’ she told me, pointing to a waving bush being disturbed by the gusts of wind that were also disturbing me.
We chatted on for a while longer and the woman told me she was going out and wondered if I’d be here much longer, and perhaps still be here when she got back.
‘I’m about to leave,’ I told her, ‘the wind is a bit cold and I’ll finish off the rest of the garden when I go home.’
Then the woman asked me what I would do with the drawing when it was finished, and I told her about my hundred houses project and said I would send her a photo when the drawing was finished.
‘Great!’ she said.
‘My name is Leigh,’ she told me as I put her number into my phone, ‘and I’m really looking forward to seeing it when it’s finished.’
‘Bear in mind,’ I told her as I stood up and began to pack up my colours, ‘I do use some artistic license, so don’t be disappointed if the garden looks different.’
Leigh smiled and said okay.
‘I’ll put in those plants that annoy your neighbours.’ I told her, and we both laughed.

*Today’s podcast: Cold Case| Criminal