I cannot exclude the possiblity that someone on this island lives in a British home and considers it 'habitable.' But he is - as we all are - enduring so many inconveniences - sinkless bathrooms, collapsing Elizabethan roofs, nine hundred year old plumbing systems only understood by an archaeologist — that his definition of ‘habitable’ has to be stretched to such a degree that ninety nine out of one hundred linguists would call foul (the remaining holdout being a Brit so beaten down by decades of living like a cold wet hobbit that his definition of ‘habitable’ has been reduced to ‘not dead’)
What’s that? You’re not sure why there are two sinks in the master bedroom? That’s for you and your long suffering wife to freshen up after crying into each other’s cold chests the moment you realised the total cost of your home repairs had officially exceeded the balance of your mortgage.
You’re not sure why none of your bathrooms has an electrical outlet? I’ll tell you why - they were outlawed in nineteen seventy two, after a study concluded the vast majority of British suicides happened in the bathroom, by hairdryer electrocution, most of them leaving notes that simply said, “It wasn’t you. It was the house”
I’ve been here so long I don’t even notice the missing floorboards, even the one that allows guests to look down and see the medieval gnomes chewing on the remains of the previous owner’s decomposing corpse (suicide, of course)
Oh look, there's my one and only closet. Conveniently located in the sitting room. I do wish it were large enough to hold at least one of the nineteen water buckets I place around the house on the days it rains - which is everyday
Would I like a fireplace larger than my nine year old’s foot? Sure. Wouldn’t we all. And you know, six years ago, fresh from America, I actually made inquiries. Inquiries! Can you imagine - how absolutely naive of me. If my jaw weren’t wired shut from tripping down my sagging busted staircase — I could actually muster a laugh
The jaw, yes. That reminds me. I need to call the NHS and set the first available appointment — probably for sometime in the fall of 2025 — to have the wiring removed, wiring which I can then perhaps use to install an outlet in my bathroom, the bathroom where the long struggle against my British house will end, end with my dead American body squeezed into a lukewarm, leaking bathtub, a note resting on my forehead - “The house won”.