So I had taken my sister and her boyfriend along for a bike ride following the motorway construction that I have been photographing since last summer. It was a beautiful evening, one of those marvelous Danish summers. A pale blue sky inhabited by a couple of lone clouds.
We had biked from Lystrup to Skødstrup to look at the beginning of the motorway. The work on the road had come a long way since my last visit this February. Back then the landscape was covered in snow, seemingly blending all the elements together. If only visually.
My fellow travelers seemed to enjoy themselves as they were biking along in their own tempo. On our way home, we stopped at a badly neglected little farmhouse. It must have been a beautiful place when it was actually a farm. Now the walls of the house were covered with graffiti and the grass was a couple of meters up in the air. My sister wanted to have a closer look.
We saw that the door to the main house was open, and you could hear the sound of running water. I decided to have a look inside. The entrance was littered with old advertisement leaflets and wet newspapers. It stank of decay. Not shit, but just a musty, heavy decay. It was moist. The walls and the carpets were wet, which made it pretty hard to breathe properly. The toilet looked like it hadn’t been used for a couple of years.
After my first inspection I waved them all over and we had a look inside. It was dark. No lights were on. In what used to be a living room there was a sofa. On it we found a couple of boxes full of papers. The small desk next to it was also full of papers. My sister had a closer look. Some of them were court papers, others bank statements—they seemed to be neatly organised. On the wall I found a framed wedding picture. I took it down to have a closer look and showed it to my sister. I was very excited and wanted to take it with me. She told me that I better not. I placed it back on the wall and eventually started taking a couple of photographs.
There was hardly any light and I didn’t have a flash with me. The others left the house, leaving me to take my pictures. I was fiddling with my camera. The card was full—forcing me to delete a couple of unwanted shots. I took some pictures of a rack full of old suits and a couple ties. The water is still running in the bathroom.
I leave the house and we are standing around outside chatting. I am telling my sister’s boyfriend some lame joke that I have just bought the house. We both pretend that it is funny. I mention the state of the bathroom to my sister and she decides to have a look for herself.
She walks back into the house and suddenly she is running out. “There is someone in there” she yells. I look up and a man with a full beard wearing a red sweater is standing looking quite bewildered. My sister is apologising to him. “We didn’t know that anyone was living in there”. I tell him that we were just talking in his courtyard and have done nothing wrong. He starts shouting that we must get the hell out of there. We all jump on our bikes. My chain falls of. The two of them are cycling away. I am fiddling with my chain. He doesn’t chase us.
Cycling home and looking behind us every 10 seconds, my sister explains that she was peeking into the bathroom when the door behind her opened. She panicked and ran. We look at each other with a mixture of laughter and shock.