I always knew I was home because of the china ducks on the wall. I bought them in the mid-eighties, from a second hand shop in Wellington, near the Manners St Post Office. The first thing I did in a new flat was to nail them up – in the lounge, if the flatmates were amenable, or in my own room if they weren’t.
The next thing I did was reassemble my bed. The wire base had to be reconnected with its solid wooden headboard and footboard by means of a spanner. This made me feel like an independent woman. A woman who could do anything. I could, for example, move heavy furniture around the room by bracing my feet against the wall and pushing things with my back.
And I would set up my record player and play ‘Colossal Youth’, the Young Marble Giants’ only album (though there have been CD reissues and live versions since).
Eventually, I gave the ducks away, but found I missed them. When I bought my house, the place Peter and I live in now, I bought the house a present – three china seagulls. They fly up the living room wall, telling me I’m home.