Friday, 25 July 2008


I live in a haunted house.

I quite enjoy it, if I'm honest. A lot of the aspects of the hauntings don't bother me very much. I never wake up to find ghostly people standing at the foot of my bed eyeing me suspiciously, and there are no especially cold spots in the house anywhere. I've never noticed the temperature drop while I'm watching TV, and the electronic equipment around my house functions perfectly well (if you keep my house-mate away from it, because she seems capable of developing a charge of static electricity even when she's standing perfectly still on an conducting surface). The ghosts tend to communicate through the fridge magnets, and even then they're a little oblique about the things they say. We regularly find messages warning us that food in the fridge is nearing it's expiry date, and I've had recipes before now as well (the sausage and mayonnaise casserole was... indescribable). One of the ghosts keeps trying to flirt with my housemate through the fridge magnets as well, but as it appears to only speak Swedish and she has trouble with long words, I don't think it's going anywhere so far.

The thing that tends to cause us most trouble is trying to explain the toilet roll to guests. One of the ghosts likes to write on it, so when you sit down, you'll find essays and calculations running along in blue biro. We think that the ghost somehow manages to write on the sheets without unwinding the roll, but I'm not completely sure: a couple of rolls ago I found eight sheets of it that seemed to be a study of the maximum tension you can put toilet paper under before it rips, and there's some stuff I didn't understand except for the word torque. Some guests think we do it ourselves (we don't; neither of us could stand to use a pen as crude as a biro. I hand-sharpen my own fountain-pen nibs and mix up my own inks from acorn-gall, and my house-mate uses japanese calligraphy brushes). Others think we purchase it printed like that and want to know where they can get hold of it. Occasionally they steal rolls when they've got particularly interesting stuff on (like the eye-witness account of a fire in 18th century Leeds).

The message on the fridge this morning though was unusual even by our standards. It was a call-to-arms for all the ghosts in the house. Granted there's only so much you can say in 128 luminous Fisher-Price magnetic letters, but it looks like we're about to become the battleground for a war of ghosts. I'm wondering what that's going to be like...

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