Friday, 16 October 2009

Today, after many years away, I returned to the place where I first began my lecturing career. The High Street Art School has been unused by art students for twelve years but now, because of the failure of the air conditioning in our (windowless) new building, we have returned. The airiness of the grand octagonal cavaedium stood in stark contrast to our new rooms whose opposing airlessness has induced fainting fits and nausea in staff and students alike. This was to be the site of a day's drawing and although the morning chill caused us to shuffle our feet and clap our hands together we were grateful. Once the students had settled to their task of drawing dead insects and birds I proceeded to make a thorough examination of the stairs and passages leading off the atrium. My intentions were partly nostalgic but also that of the scavenger on the lookout for choice items. One or two of the small rooms near the hall were open, but there was nothing to see in them except old furniture, stationary and electrical goods, dusty and discoloured with age. At last however I found an old door at the back of the building that, though it seemed locked, gave a little under pressure. With only gentle persuasion the door soon swung wide to reveal a leaky corridor from which three doors opened. I was now in an older wing of the college. Proceeding down the corridor, I noticed stacked against the left wall were four two metre square relief maps of the town revealing warehouses, domestic housing, a devilish one-way system and the gentle curve of the river. Moving on I entered each room in turn hoping to find equal delights and curiosities. The first had been put over to storage containing racks of boxes each holding paper records penned in a strange language. There was also an array of surveying equipment and rejected plans for the new building on the other side of town. To the right, piled haphazardly on the floor were a number of foot-long sharpened stakes. With increasing excitement I passed on to the second room however it contained little of interest being yet more storage for files. The third room however is much more interesting and here I am surrounded by furniture of all ages sitting at an old oak desk writing this journal. Next to me, propped carelessly against the fireplace, is a glass fronted key cabinet its double doors ajar, some of its contents spilled onto the floor. I shall compose a text to my companion she loves glass fronted cabinets...

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