This week I have been trying to satisfy one of my New Year’s Resolutions – find somewhere to live. Owing to the fact I’m old enough to vote, drive and drink (not together and never in that order) the next logical stepping stone in my life is to have my own Schiernecker Towers. Of course this comes with a number of drawbacks, chiefly, money. Fortunately I have enough for a deposit and so out into the world of property I wander, still wondering if I have to ask permission from both my parents before I venture into the houses of people who are essentially strangers. That was definitely a thing when I was younger. Avoid strangers.
My primary school head teacher once told us that all child-catchers, nonces and strangers in the night drove red cars. He also told us if you pressed a button on the side of your Thunderbird 2 toy it would take off and return to Tracey Island. The guy was full of shit. It’s only now I realise his whole existence was built on a mustachioed house of cards. Anyway, that’s the real reason I took my girlfriend with me, just to make sure I wasn’t gang raped.
The first place we viewed was absolutely stunning. When someone says ‘one bed flat’ you conjure something in your mind, and I imagine it isn’t far from my Irvine Welsh-esque vision of squalor and junkies. That’s what growing up in middle-class and middle-minded Britain will do to you. This place was a palace though. I could happily imagine myself whiling away my days there (because let’s face it, if you’re paying a mortgage then you can’t afford to live the dizzy high life you experience when suckling off the teat of the family home). There was room for an office area, as well as a fine dining set so I could entertain guests. The bedroom was longer than Pinocchio’s nose at maximum lying capacity and the kitchen would allow a man to boil a kettle and ping a microwave at the same time. I sort of loved it a bit, in the way I love anyone for a bit when they show me attention or pay me a compliment.
Trying to maintain a firm poker face in front of the owner Kate and I absconded to a local café where she bought me a tea and we discussed where we could put her crockery and my books.
The second flat we viewed was also nice, but not as nice, and I almost got in a punch up with a frail old bint in the doorway. I won’t go into it but it had something to do with neither Kate or I being able to understand her bizarre OAP witterings whilst she blocked our access. I’m not a violent man but she was one tut away from a chokehold. The flat itself was nice but even for just me it seemed a little on the small size. It did have a lovely little boxer puppy though. He didn’t come with the leasehold and pissed on the rug just before we left. I admired his gumption.
Since then I’ve spent hours on the phone to brokers and estate agents, I’ve used my email address for something other than novel submissions and stockpiling junk emails from Nigerian princes and I’ve found myself pretending to know what I am talking about on far too many occasions. The good thing about looking into buying a place is everyone has some advice. The down side to the experience is that everyone has some advice, and a lot of it centres around the bizarre notion that it is down to my choice.