Where is all this dirt coming from? A trail of dusty paw prints run over the chaise-longue, across the floor and circle several times on a velvet cushion in front of the fire. Zig-zaggy patterns from the bottom of trainers flutter across the hall tiles. Hmmm... I run my finger over the white dining table: my fingertip's grey.
'JOE!!' He's on the phone to Phoebe; his face is smeared with dirt.
'Joe, what have you been doing?' He looks blanker than usual.
'And put the phone back in the holder when you've finished.' I nag, picking it up off the sofa where he's chucked it. 'Hang on, where's this phone been? It's all kind of... muddy.'
I'm wanted on the top floor. Ed is practising walk-overs. I've given him permission to lay out my two white, fur-fabric bed covers on the carpet so he has a soft landing.
'Ed! What are those grubby marks all-over those furry things?' He lifts up a foot and looks at it over his shoulder. The bottom of his white socks are black.
Off to the middle floor to stuff a whites wash into the machine. I grab the towel from the back of the bathroom door: it's filthy. The sink, the taps, the soap.... it's like a scene from Saw. What's going on? Heading back down the stairs to start the dinner I pass the closed door to Brian's studio. A gust of black soot has blasted from underneath the door and settled on the landing. Has there been a fire... an explosion of some sort, in the tiny room? All is quiet. I slowly turn the handle and enter the gloom. A shadowy figure turns to face me.
'Have you bought me a cuppa tea love?' it says.
'Blimey! What have you been DOING in here?'
'Pastels. Pastels darling.'