We used to live in a back-to-front house.
The back door of our house faced the road. And the front door was all the way around the other side of the building, in our back garden. I don't suppose anyone knew it existed. No one ever knocked on it. No, all our visitors came through our back door, which wasn't always convenient.
Someone would knock on our door. "Come on in," I'd say. And then I'd add, "Sorry about the mess." The back door led straight into our laundry. We'd manoeuvre around buckets and brooms and squeeze past baskets of dirty clothes until we came to the kitchen.
"Sorry about the mess," I'd repeat as we exited the laundry and entered the kitchen. I'd hurry past the benches covered in dishes and hope the floor looked clean.
"Sit down," I'd say with relief as we finally arrived at the living room. "Make yourself at home."
It would have been much easier if our guests had come through the front door directly into the living room, and avoided the laundry and kitchen altogether. But they never did.
During the Christmas season, our front door (around the back of the house) was inaccessible because we always placed our Christmas tree behind it.
"What if someone knocks on our front door while the tree is up," asked one of my children. "We won't be able to open the door to let them in."
I thought it was very unlikely anyone would knock on that door. But just in case someone got lost, wandered around to the back garden and then decided to use the right door instead of the wrong door, I wrote a notice:
PLEASE USE THE OTHER DOOR
I pinned it to the door no one ever used, the front door around the back of the house.
Granny, from The Angels of Abbey Creek, also lives in a back-to-front house. Her grandchildren love her strange little home.
They all go inside Granny’s house. It’s very different to their house. The Angels’ house is new with big windows and lots of light. Granny’s house is much older. Dad calls it a house with character. Mum calls it old, damp and musty. But the children like it.
It’s a strange little house that is the wrong way round. The front door is actually at the back of the house. No one ever comes to the front door. Perhaps they don’t know it’s there.
Granny doesn’t mind having a back-to-front house because most of her windows face the fields. She can sit in the living room and watch the cows while she drinks her tea. Watching the cows is much more interesting than watching television. This is just as well because Granny doesn’t have a television.
Our house also faced paddocks of cows. We enjoyed looking out our windows and seeing the cows grazing the grass. They'd wander closer and closer to our fence and then they'd turn and move away again. Unless, of course, they spied the grass on our side of the fence. Ours was greener and thicker than theirs, and sometimes a cow or two couldn't resist. They'd charge through the fence. Their feet would get tangled up in the loose wire...
But that's another story. You'll find that one in my soon-to-be-published novel The Angels of Gum Tree Road!
All this talk of back and front and right and wrong and other doors. Did I confuse anyone? And has anyone else ever lived in a strange house?
Image: This is the front of the strange house we used to live in. Up those steep steps is the front door. Of course, the table and chairs are in the back garden!