Royalty – part 1


No-one has money on CloverHill, everyone knows that. If you have, you don’t need to live here and if you ever get any, you leave, quick. like her, the girl who lived at 2. Winning ticket on Saturday, gone by Tuesday.

The houses here, they’re old. really old. My mum says they were built just after the war, cos lots of houses got bombed then . They were meant to be temporary, but they’re still here. Funny little wooden houses. they remind me of those holiday chalets at Skegness. Good for a week, not so good for years on end.

The  council decided a couple of years ago to use them for the really desperate, people like me, teenage mums, asylum seekers, women running away from the men who beat them up, people who aren’t going to complain about the smell of damp or the mildew in the bathrooms or the windows that don’t fit.

They said they were only temporary, these little wooden huts,  but its a pretty permanent sort of temporary – Alicia, at no 26, she’s been here 7  years, 2 of her kids were born here, still no sign of  a proper house for her, so god knows how long for the rest of us.

It’s not so bad in the summer, cos most of us have kids, so we all sit out, drag out a couple of paddling pools from Poundland, work on our tans, sometimes even share a few cans of supermarket lager, maybe even a spliff or two. Its pretty much ok then.

It’s the winters that really get to you, can’t keep the houses warm, damp smell gets into everything and cos we’re all sharing one bedroom with the kids, it just feels like the walls are closing in on you and you know that that’s another year here – another year in fucking Clover Hill.

Some of the girls [ and it is all girls here], try to do their best, bits of paint, wall paper, some pony stickers on the door, but the damp destroy everything and cos most of us came here with nothing, a few binliners of clothes, a carrier bag of kids toys, well, the furniture, it’s all charities, social services, handouts.

In the summer, you can ignore all of that, its in the winter that it all closes down around you.

Imelda, she’s different, her house is different, her clothes are different, even her kids looks diffferent. She’s so far from me in my baggy kneed Primark leggings and my cheapo fake uggs, the ones that are so down at the heel, that they make me walk like a duck, shes’ so far from me. it’s like she’s some sort of royalty……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

About cathi rae

50ish teacher & aspiring writer and parent of a stroppy teenager and carer for a confused bedlington terrier and a small selection of horses who fail to shar emy dressage ambitions. Interested in contemporary fiction but find myself returning to PG Wodehouse when the chips are down View all posts by cathi rae

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