Nightime in Sheltered Housing Ringsend Dublin

by louis walsh

It is now a quartet to twelve at night and I’m sitting in the Day Centre of Cambridge Court. There is a smell of someone having friend chips or something of that sort. There is a small kitchen here and tonight a local choir group were using the centre so they obviously made use of the kitchen. In the six or more years that I have been living here I have never known the tenants of Cambridge Court to have use of this kitchen- it is only available to friends of the bullies who of course don’t live here. I could hear them singing to their heart’s content up to about 11:00 pm. It is a very hot night and my door had been open but I had to close it to shut out the noise. Unfortunately the pub across the road was just starting up its nightly  noise so I had it from both sides. I don’t want to be sitting here , I would much rather be in bed. I feel tired and not altogether well.

This is Sheltered Housing. This is the reality of Sheltered Housing. I will be up tonight until 2:30 at least. And tomorrow night it will be just the same. If I could find somewhere else to live I would be gone in a flash but its pretty much impossible to get a flat in Dublin now unless you have lots of money. And if like me your old then you don’t have a chance in hell. I would live on the street but I’m just not up to that , I wouldn’t last a week. I have gone beyond hope. Which is to say that I’ve seen the light. This is it. This is real life and it’s not going to get any better. I have been living like this more of less now for 25 years…….Forgive me if I sound like a moan but if I didn’t moan I would go mad. This blog is my one release.  It is now 12:15 and I have just been over to my flat to get some cigarette papers and the noise from the pub in blaring into my flat. They only have a license to play music up until 11:30 but there is no point in phoning the police. Ironically here in the Day Centre there are lots of community police notices pined up advising tenants how to look after themselves etc etc.  From time to time they call in on their bikes and have a chat with the bullies and then they go off again. They are happy and the bullies are happy. The rest of us are on the transfer list………

This really does sound like one long moan. If I was a comedian I would throw in a joke here to lighten the mood but I can’t think of anything funny just now. And of course you don’t have to read this. All you have to do is move the mouse and click. You can click me in and out of existence at will.  — I have just been  outside the Day Centre to get some fresh  air. All the lights are off in the flats and the whole place is dark apart from the Day Centre itself. which is lit up like some beacon in a sea of black and I’m sitting here in the light like some character out of an Edward Hopper painting…..If you lived in Dublin and happened to be down this way and passed by just now you would probable wonder why there was a light on…….but only for a moment , then you would pass on and some other thought would come into your head. Like when you’re sitting in a train passing the bottom of  a row of gardens and you find yourself wondering about the people who might live in those houses….. – I like trains. I like looking out of a train windows  late at night wondering about all those anonymous people with their  anonymous existences. There is something romantic about trains ……and there is a special quality about night when you are alone and everyone else is asleep and everything is , or should be ,  quiet . But there is nothing romantic about Cambridge Court- day or night.

It is now almost 2:30 am and I’m back in my flat having a last cup of coffee and a cheese sandwich before I go to bed. I will roll 5 or 6 cigarettes and puff and cough in the dark until merciful sleep descends. I may , or may not dream. I often dream after eating cheese but I’m never old in my dreams. And in my dreams my friends are all still alive.