At the moment, however, it looks lovely, and not just because of the guggle fish of purple tulips on the coffee table.
It's because Polish Pretend Daughter and French Pretend Son-in-Law have just been here with their baby.
PPD is of medium height, slim and beautiful. FPSL is very tall, slim and cheerful. The baby is only a few months old, and very cute and good-natured. Benedict Ambrose and I had not met her yet, and here she was at last.
We had tea and coffee, cheese-bread and butter, cardamom bread and cheese, and a Victoria sponge (the simplest of British cakes). PDD fed the baby, and FPSL told us about the home renovations. They both told us about the adventure of the baby's birth, and how the nurses were so excited that the baby had black hair. (Apparently Scottish babies arrive bald.) PDD opted for a natural birth (no drugs), and smugly admitted that she yelled a lot during the worst hour.
PDD also praised her husband for all the hard work that he does. In the mornings he takes the baby for a walk, so the wife-mother can sleep, and then he goes to work. When he comes home from work, he takes charge of the baby again. PDD is not engaged in paid work right now, so she believes that FPSL works much harder than she does. (N.B. PDD is up several times a night feeding her baby.)
What a blessing to have a happy young family in our flat and to serve them tea and cake. After their visit, we volunteered to walk them to the bus stop, and as we were all busying ourselves with bags, boots and baby buggy, I chanced to look in the abandoned sitting-room. The coffee table was bedecked with my best china and the whole room looked beautiful.
Maybe the longer we live here and the more young folk who come and go, leaving happy memories, the more and more I will like the flat.
IRONY ALERT: I start an exercise class tomorrow, so I have bought two pairs of leggings. I promise not to wear them in the street, let alone the at the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.