There was always something special about the house of my old mate and ex-Middlesex fast bowler, Jamie Hewitt.
There was an aura about the house. A sense of life and vibrancy. It was down to the noise. The hum of the building.
Born from a cacophony of people moving around inside the house, of his mum cooking meal after meal for any waif and stray that so happened to be avoiding their own home that day; and of Jamie and his sister bickering, in that way teenagers do.
More so, it was down to the constant noise. Of a radio in the kitchen. No matter what time of day it was, Jamie’s mum’s old Roberts radio would be playing Radio 4 from the table as you woke up in the morning or came in late at night. More likely the latter.
There was something reliable about it. It wasn’t background noise, nor would it disturb as you stood in the kitchen talking. The noise it omitted simply added to the life of the house.
I’ve started to do it at home as I wind down my time at work. With a Sonos player in the kitchen and living room, I have linked both up so that – as soon as A. and the kids have gone out for the day – I get to listen to BBC Radio 3 no matter which room I am working in.
It’s surprisingly comforting. Having companionship through the medium of, well, constant noise. No longer climbing the walls as I work alone, no temptation from distraction of the television. The radio is on, constantly on. I have designed my own hum.
From the morning slots of Petroc Trelawny and Ian Skelly, the afternoon concert – so often from Wigmore Hall – the perambulating slot of Katie Derham and Sean Rafferty; through to the eclectic nature of the evening’s programming of concerts, discussion and poetry. There is always someone in the house with you.
Which is just how I like it.
Admittedly there are times when I long for a day where I can’t hear YouTube blaring out of a laptop or the sound of an adult and child trying to communicate through solid walls, but that hum – that constant, reassuring noise is something I loved about Jamie’s house; is something I have grown to enjoy as I work at home, but never alone.