This house is scattered with papers, books and cushions, and pulses with the murmurings of a foreign tongue, the hiss of a cat, the bark of a dog. The second house is dustless and paperless, without books or cats or signs of life – the sofa as new as it was in the shop – not a stain, a cat’s hair or a pulled thread anywhere, not a speck of dust, not even the sound of a floorboard creaking somewhere. Even the garden is ordered, the grass cut short, the topiary as sleek as the cats that leave their hairs on the chairs and sofas of the first house, the cats that stretch, call and purr. No cats purr in the ordered house. No dog snaps at wasps. Nothing moves. There are no undulations, scatterings or callings, and, outside in the topiary, the wind is silent.

The home of writer Bronwen Griffiths