Times They Are A Changin

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Chapter 2

Edmund had been very generous with his record collection and had let me look through them whilst he unpacked. I had never seen such a collection! Not just modern pop music like Cliff Richard, and Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, Edmund had also had a large collection of classical music records particularly Tchaikovsky for some reason.

I knew quite a bit about music myself, as I had learnt how to play the piano at school. I had always played the piano when I wanted to reflect on my thoughts. I could sit down in front of the keys, and let the music wash over, and the worries of the day would just fade away.

‘You like Tchaikovsky then?’ I had asked picking up a record of Swan lake.

‘Hmm?’ muttered Edmund, who had been unpacking his clothes. ‘Oh, you’ve got taste,’ he said impressed, ‘most people would dive for the Elvis Presley records. I’ve got a bit of everything I suppose but I wouldn’t have thought you’d have gone for the classics!’

‘You’re making assumptions about me already?’ I had chuckled, ‘we only met an hour ago! What kind of music do you think I like then?’

Edmund inclined his head, trying to make his decision. He had then riffled in his boxes of records and pulled two completely different records. Roy Orbison’s Crying, and Romeo and Juliet the Ballet.

‘It’s not Orbison’s newest album,’ he shrugged, ‘but it’s got some of his best stuff on it, not to mention that the title song is a masterpiece on its own.’

I looked down at the albums perplexed, he was right I did like Roy Orbison from what I’d heard of him in the Common Room back at school, but I hadn’t listened to any of his albums before.

‘As for the ballet,’ finished Edmund, ‘you noticed the Tchaikovsky, so you’re clearly interested in classical music. When we passed your room earlier the door was open, and you’d put several dozen books on the shelves even though we have a library at the University. I thought you might enjoy Prokofiev’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s most tragic couple.’

‘I think that prize goes to Anthony and Cleopatra but that’s just my opinion,’ I had answered looking at the album cover for the ballet.

‘Fair enough!’ chuckled Edmund as he had put the Orbison record on.

We both finished our unpacking whilst listening to Edmunds records, talking about everything and anything, why we’d picked Durham, our families, what our other roommate was going to be like, and when he was finally going to show up.

At around six o’clock we finished unpacking, and I had heated up a can of baked beans and made some toast. I hadn’t had time to go shopping yet, but we were both starving, so I had knocked something together quickly out of the few bits and pieces I had bought with me.

We were sitting in the spare bedroom, eating tinned peaches, from out of the tin and talking about what we were going to do with the extra room if the roommate never came. We had just decided that we were going to move our desks into this room so that we could have a shared study when there was a loud BANG! From outside the open window.

‘What in the devil was that?’ asked Edmund putting down his tin and spoon, and then poking his head out the window.

‘Mathew, I think you’d best come and see this!’ cackled Edmund still craning his head out the window.

I came over to the window, it was getting dark as it was late evening, and the streetlights were slowly being turned on up and down the road. A camper van had just parked outside our house, parked haphazardly half and half off the pavement.

The van itself was bright blue and was covered in peace signs and flowers in bright pinks and oranges that had been painted all over the van. The noise out the window had been the van backfiring when they had parked. It had to be one of the strangest things that I had ever seen.

‘Do you think they’ve broken down?’ I had asked, ‘or maybe they’re lost?’

‘There’s only one way to find out,’ said Edmund running from the room to go out to talk to them.

By the time that Edmund and I had gotten to the front door, the driver of the van had gotten out of the car to open the back of the camper van. He was wearing huge sunglasses, and his long curls had been pulled back with a headscarf. His tie die top was so brightly coloured that if it hadn’t been so late at night, I probably would have needed sunglasses to look at him.

‘Hippies,’ muttered Edmund, ‘they’re probably lost. Let’s hope they don’t hang around too long.’

I had bit my lip, not wanting to disagree with my friend but also knowing that even if this van did belong to hippies, they hadn’t done anything wrong to us, and hippies were usually very peacefully anyway. As long they were nice to us, I was going to be nice to them.

‘I think this is your stop, Cressy,’ said the hippy opening the double backdoors on the van.

Another man got out, who was similarly dressed to the first man, but his shirt wasn’t as lurid, and he didn’t have a pair of sunglasses. He dumped two duffle bags on the pavement and then helped the last person out of the car.

She was clearly a hippy-like her travelling companions. She had hair the colour of sunshine gold streaming all down her back, which was mostly loose apart from two small plaits on the side, and her hair was held back by a simple leather braided headband across her forehead. Her floral skirt trailed almost down to her feet so you could hardly see her sandals, which she was wearing with a t-shirt and a fringed denim vest that she had sewn badges onto. She was also carrying a guitar over her shoulder

The jumbled mess of clothes shouldn’t have gone together, but somehow on her customized denim vest, and the long floral skirt looked like the most natural thing in the world.

Edmund’s mouth had dropped open in horror as he looked at the three people by the van and the bags on the pavement.

’You don’t think that she is our new roommate, do you?’ he asked in a stage whisper. Edmund had talked so loudly, that I was sure that they had heard him. He had said ‘she’ as if the girl was a convicted criminal or something.

‘I thought our housemate was going to be another chap,’ Edmund whispered frantically, ‘not a, not a.’

‘Have you never met a girl before,’ I had chuckled not meaning to be rude, but Edmund’s reaction was just so exaggerated. We hadn’t even talked to her yet.

‘Of course, I have!’ he had scoffed, ‘I’ve met lots of girls! I’ve just never lived with one before.’

‘I think your housemates are waiting,’ said one of the boys noticing Edmund and I. ‘Want us to check them over for you?’

‘I’m sure they’re fine Terry,’ the girl had laughed, ‘they look completely harmless.’

‘We’ll pick you up for holidays then,’ said the other boy.

She hugged them both goodbye and kissed both boys on the cheek. The two boys got back in the van, and after a few false starts drove away.

She had walked over, juggling her two duffle bags and guitar case.

‘Hi,’ she beamed trying to shake our hands without dropping any of her bags. ‘I’m Crescent Moon Juniper Berry. My friends call me Cressy.’

‘I’m Edmund,’ said Edmund taking one of her bags, and raising his eyebrows at her. ‘My friends call me Edmund.’

‘Mathew,’ I had added taking the last bag.

As Cressy had just spent several weeks living in a camper van with Terry and his brother Tom, she had no problem whatsoever sharing a house with two strange boys she had only just met and saw it as an exciting new chapter in her life.

‘Crescent Moon Juniper Berry?’ Edmund had mouthed at me incredulously as he followed Cressy back into the house.

‘Give her a chance,’ I had smirked, trying not to laugh at Edmund again.

‘I’ll bet you she doesn’t last until Christmas,’ Edmund had muttered as Cressy settled into the spare room.

‘You never know,’ I mused nibbling on the last peach from the tin, ‘she might be alright.’

‘And pigs might fly,’ countered Edmund.

‘You’d best ring up the RAF then,’ I had replied, ‘they might have some new pilots.’

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