When I was very young I lived in Drury Lane London WC1, where the Muffin Man once lived. Drury Lane is a very narrow street, then filled with tenements and my family (all five of us) live at number 163 in one room , with a kitchen. We shared a bathroom with others in the building. Our room was on the first floor, with two sash windows overlooking the narrow busy road, which then had cafes and cheap restaurants for those visiting the theatres or the Law Courts and cheaper places to eat for those who lived there. The nearest park was Lincoln’s Inn Fields, where my mother would perambulate us.
I have a startling memory of my first home. This was dust rising. Every morning, as the sun broke through gaps in the curtains in slanting rays as Mummy cleaned the furniture dust rose. They say that much dust is made of tiny drops of human skin and five humans in a room where they lived and slept generates plenty of dust. I saw that dust moves curls of living lines, short, opaque coloured and drifting through the sunlight rising upward sometimes glowing sometimes glittering silently until dust falls down gently noiselessly before shaking itself again. While dust falls its silence smothers all other noise.
The dust in the small room at 163 Drury Lane Lane sat on every surface and every crevice, the table the chair, the bedsettee, the three small cots, the linoleum and the small rug that covered part of it and every photograph and the shelf that held the photographs in their frames, until finally every memory is covered with dust.