My food is free, it is unlimited, it is varied. I do not shop for it. I do not cook it, I do not choose what to eat for my main meals; they are cooked for me by someone who is paid to do this. I can eat as much as I like at all times. There is always fresh bread, there are always chocolates, there are always biscuits, there are always cakes, there are always 9 kinds of cereal, there is always a bowl full of varied fresh fruits, 5 cheeses, coke, juices, wine, beers, alcopops are always in the fridge. Whenever something runs low it is immediately replaced by someone else who is paid to replace it. We never, ever run out of milk. It is all provided for me by people paid to do these things.
My heating is free. Underfloor heating warms my toes in the bathroom. Radiators gurgle in every room. I do not choose the temperature, I do not think about the bill, I do not think about maintenance or servicing. It is provided for me by people paid to do these things.
My car is free. I can drive whenever I like, as far as I like with no regard for cost. I have 5 cars available to me to drive. I do not pay for petrol. I do not pay for tax. I do not pay for insurance. I pay people to clean the cars for me (when I am told to do so). The cars are maintained and serviced for me by people paid to do these things.
My bed is free. I have my own room as long as I am here. I have my own private fridge, my own private bathroom, my own french doors, my own patio. I do not pay rent. I do not pay council tax. I do not pay any bills at all. I do not clean the house I live in, this task is carried out by someone who is paid to clean. When I walk into the beautiful garden, the lawn is mowed, the vegetables are planted, new fences are painted and everthing is neat, clean and ordered - all by people who are paid to be here. The management of my living space is carried out by people who are paid to do these things.
Many of the objects around me, inside and outside, in this house and in other associated properties - computers (10 of them), printers (8 of them), full sets of kitchen equipment, ovens (5 of them), washing machines (6), tumbles dryers (3), landline phones (8, for 2 landlines), mobile phones (3), ceiling fans, hi-fis, tvs (10 of them), dvds, microwaves, lawnmowers (7), strimmers (3), pond pumps, pond cleaners, statues, patio furniture (5 sets), fountains, drills, electric handwashes, showers, tools, machinery, portacabins, roofing, electric windows, air conditioning, garages, sheds, chainsaws, rotivators, spades - all have had money paid against them at the time of purchase to take out extended warranties for their protection against possible breakdown. The guarantees are filed in filing cabinets, their details carefully entered onto spreadsheets and their manufacturers warranty expiry dates noted in an electronic diary that will ping a warning against the possibility of any future breakdown going unprotected against company authorised repair.
When I eat, I eat with 8 or 9 other people every night. All of whom are paid to be here in this house or have come to volunteer their time in exchange for food and board. The person who pays us never eats evening meals in her own house. It has become something that is not her own, a machine, running and humming and cleaning itself. She goes out in the evening to eat at restaurants.
Every evening I am too tired from my all-immersing work here to do anything with the 2 hours I have to myself before sleeping but lie on my bed and watch TV. I have no time to read. I have no time to learn Russian. I have no time to do and think about nothing. I do not write anything any more - words and inspiration have spiraled slowly above my head, waiting for space to fly into my ears....when they found there was none available they disappeared......I think they are in the forest, waiting for me to find them again.
I am forgetting what it is like to be hungry. I am forgetting what it is like to need anything. As long as I am here I don't. Now I have dedicated myself to this place, it is supporting and looking after me but it seems that all my independence has disappeared in a wash of warm, buttery comfort.
I am forgetting how to survive.
This part of my life will end on the 7th of May. I'm not sorry that I was here - I chose it after all - but I will be glad to leave and renew myself again.
Welcome forests, welcome lakes, welcome open road and rucksacks. Welcome axes and knifes and cooking on fires. Welcome walking and sitting and sleeping outside. Welcome dirty fingers. Welcome tired feet. Welcome time, the starry swirl that is all and nothing. Soon. I will see you soon.