memoirs, art and fragments by Thomas Milner

I visit my flat

On Sunday I visited my apartment; big deal? Well, actually yes.

To visit my apartment I need are the following:

  • Two kind and patient friends from Funchal, Madeira, Adam and Jane, who are taking an extended weekend on the mainland driving around visiting places and friends;
  • Their car;
  • My collapsible walking frame;
  • A light medium-sized suit-case (for the loot);
  • My digital camera;
  • Keys of the apartment;
  • Remote-control thingy for the garage door;
  • Sun glasses and cap;
  • And a lot of energy.

What happens is this; in the morning, instead going down on my number one walker, (light, high and almost up to my height – only dwarfish creatures seem to need Zimmer-frames in this region, rather like, I imagine, living a remote Welch valley), I use my number two walker (lower, heavier, sturdier but collapsible). Meanwhile my wheelchair is waiting me at my table. After lunch (rice with roast unspecified pig meat) at about two-ish my friends show up and we’re all ready for the off – they know the routine as well as me – first they push me in reverse out of the door (this Home, for all its spacious amenities inside, is not particularly wheelchair-user-friendly when it comes to exiting – there is a small oh-so-near-but-oh-so-far gap in the lintel), to the strategically-parked car where I hoist myself up onto my feet and, holding on the opened door, swivel my backside onto the front seat while lowering my head to avoid cracking it on the door-jamb, a bit like a duck about to give birth – not a dignified manoeuvre.

Leaving the wheelchair behind, we drive along the sunny road for about five minutes down to the sunlit sea where my flat is situated.


And eventually, after a stressful tussle with the too-high step connecting the floor of the underground garage with the lift door, I step into the hall of my humble abode. Back in my comfort zone.  I peer into my kitchen,


then pass through into the living room where I sit resting and looking around appreciatively at all my books; my feelings are bitter-sweet.


Memories come flooding back … I could have been perfectly happy here were it not for illness and affliction; I remember the silence and the fresh sea-air; I remember the pine trees outside the window:

I look at more of my books.

But enough wool gathering, we have work to do stuff to sort out. We pass through the hall again to a small inner-hall off which there is a bathroom (all in black marble tiles!) and two bedrooms; there should three technically but the people I bought the flat from chose one large master bedroom with bathroom – I’m glad they did. This is my bedroom.

The inner-hall is lined with book-shelves and decorated with the piece of faience and bric-a-brac.

This a Quimper St. Anne with Portuguese tiles in the background

And this a Quimper bowl on an early Victorian maple-wood card-table

Here is a closer view of the bowl

And finally here is a plate of Dante.

After two hours the suitcase is bulging, Adam and Jane have chosen two books each and I am all flatted out, I’ve run out of steam but I’m pleased with myself.

(I’m all blogged out too)

Comments on: "I visit my flat" (5)

  1. donna jones said:

    hi tom- your apartment is exactly as i imagined it would be- book lined, but not just any old books, but really OLD books of classical literature and mythology; quality made furniture-cabinet made furniture in the old woods, solid and lasting; paintings, and an office/study area with turkish style rugs.- not too outlandish but vibrant enough.
    the wrench of having to keep leaving it for a sterile, uncreative environment must be a real test for you; both emotionally, physically and dare i say, spiritually. i really hope you can return there with the care that you need.
    my little ‘thimble’ sized home here in england is my sanctuary where i can shut everything out. my favourite time of day is 11pm to 5am when i do most of my painting, reading and writing. no phones, traffic or unwanted interruptions. under the milkwood is on in the background and i feel so content and at peace.
    just reading the poems of gerard manley hopkins which blow me away.
    love donna xxxxx


  2. ana lima Guerreiro said:

    Olá Tom,

    Sinto-me emocionada ao lêr esta nota,.que bonita casa tem com vista para os pinheiros!
    Que sentimentos agridoces terá sentido o Tom…quão injusta a vida que nos retira da nossa zona de conforto! mas tambem, que bom ter amigos e tambem manter esse espaço lindo!
    Pense que o “conteudo” da sua casa, enriquecedor e aconchegante ,manifestado, nomeadamente , nas prateleiras de solida madeira que embalam os seus preciosos livros nas peças de faiança , na sua poltrona …estão em si aonde quer que se encontre ..
    As paredes valem o que valem,os homens controiem-nas e não são estas que constroiem os homens , o Tom é um exemplo disso ao ( Re)construir as suas num ambiente esterelizado de Home…
    Força Tom


  3. So great to see you place, Tom. I’m glad you’ve got friends who take time to help you get there.


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