So Andie and I found a place to live today in what was possibly the most efficient piece of house-hunting I’ve ever seen. As an added bonus, I was required to do very, very little in order for the entire process to happen, so I was happy. Basically, Andie spotted it, enquired about it, went to see it and accepted it (with my agreement, obviously) all in the space of one day. This is efficiency at work. Given what a hellish experience house-hunting can be, I’m glad this happened very quickly — though of course now begins the frantic form-filling and scrabbling-together of cash for deposits. And also panicking about not having any boxes.
I’ve lived in a diverse array of places over the years. I shall now be terribly self-indulgent and describe each of them that I can remember, excluding my childhood (and indeed current) home.
My first home after leaving, err, home was my university halls of residence. Flat A33, Hartley Grove Halls, Southampton University. Hartley Grove was a very new block — I think our year were only the second or third (at most) to pass through it. As such, it was all very clean, very clinical and, if we’re honest, rather like an old people’s home. The rooms were quite nice, though — they were a reasonable size and en-suite, with an enormous kitchen shared between six people. As I was one of the first people in my flat to arrive at university thanks to a pre-term orchestral course, my first meeting with several of my flatmates-to-be was while I was clad in a dressing-gown, cooking bacon. Start as you mean to go on and all that.
Following this, I moved in with the then-girlfriend of my then-best friend from “back home”. Not in a dodgy way, I hasten to add — we were good friends and it made sense for us to live together. We got a flat in the middle of Portswood, which is Student Central in Southampton. It was pretty expensive, but it was nice and big. There were two massive bedrooms and a big kitchen/living room with a breakfast bar. It was a decent flat apart from the fact that when we moved in the bath was full of paint, the cooker didn’t work, the washing machine didn’t work and it was generally a shithole. With a bit of happy teamwork and yelling at the landlord, however, we won over and ended up with a decent flat which was good for entertaining. Despite the fact that the internal walls had something horribly mouldy and black-goopy living in them, as we discovered when we moved out, this was a place in which I have some pretty fond memories.
After this, aforementioned then-girlfriend of then-best friend and I moved into a three bedroom house in the area of Southampton that was regarded as “the dodgy bit”. Various urban legends abounded regarding people who had supposedly had bulletholes through their patio doors, but the house was cheap and in good condition. We didn’t have any trouble while we were there, though my friend did have all the locks on his car broken which necessitated him having to enter the vehicle through the boot for a considerable period of time. This house was notable for having an invisible housemate, who was happily paying rent for a room that she didn’t use once during the entire year we lived there. I wasn’t complaining, as it meant our rent was down to approximately £35 per week, which was the cheapest of anything anywhere. Which was, you know, nice.
I spent my fourth year at university in a really nice house that had two toilets. I accidentally moved into the biggest bedroom because I arrived first and I didn’t know my friend had already claimed it. Still, she didn’t seem to mind too much, and for some inexplicable reason proceeded to replace the floor in her room with hardwood flooring. It looked nice, but I’m not sure she was really supposed to do that. But oh well. It was a nice place, and one of the few I have digital photographic evidence of.
After this, I spent a couple of years in Winchester, beginning with the nicest flat I’ve ever stayed in. Pretty expensive, sure, but it was fully furnished, had a dishwasher, had the comfiest sofa in the world, and a dressing room off my bedroom. It was awesome, but my housemate and I were unceremoniously turfed out when the landlord decided that she wanted to give the flat to her daughter. Bitch.
We followed up the nicest flat in the world with what would have been a pretty nice riverside cottage in Winchester, were it not for the galloping mould and the living room that smelled of gas. It also had the most unpleasant landlady in the world, whom my housemate successfully legally battled after she tried to withhold our deposit on the grounds we hadn’t cleaned the chimney. Well, sure, we hadn’t cleaned the chimney. But we also hadn’t used the chimney.
After that, I moved to Aldershot to be close to the school I worked at. It was a lovely flat, though the worst shape in the world. The arrangement of the corridors and rooms was such that it would have been completely impossible to get a sofa in without taking out the rear windows. As such, we spent a year with an inflatable sofa, which was actually quite fun. Aldershot is shit, but this flat was close enough to Farnham to be on the “nice” part of town, and the fact it had “Aldershot” in its address meant it was pretty cheap, too.
Following this, it was back to Southampton into a small flat with a massive sofa in the living room. It also had a tumble drier which was, frustratingly, in the “office” room. This meant that said office room often got rather hot and steamy, and not in a good way. Disappointingly, the previous tenant had a cat and we discovered after moving out that we could have kept said cat. Frustrating, but never mind.
Finally, before moving back home last September, I had a pretty nice flat in the middle of Southampton. It was a nice place run by a bunch of complete fuckwits, as has been documented elsewhere on this blog. It also had a bunch of chavs who liked to hang out in the car park beneath the building, but the building itself was very nice indeed. Unfortunately my memories of that place are somewhat tainted by the way last year proceeded for me, but that doesn’t stop it being a nice place.
So now I have something to look forward to. We’ve reserved the place and now have to scrabble together the cash for a deposit, which shouldn’t be a problem. Then it’s onwards and upwards. A year after “admitting defeat”, as it were, life will be back on the way to awesomeness again.
About feckin’ time.