Distraction techniques ahoy I got to thinking about the various moves over the years and started writing them down. A slightly indulgent trip down memory lane follows…
Ah, student halls. Mine was the charming (read tiny) Lupton Flats in Headingley, Leeds. Shared with four other lovely girls (three fab, one mental. Predictable odds) my room was approximately 2m2 and housed a tiny single bed, desk, painfully small wardrobe and was next to the kitchen. My parents dropped me off, left in tears but also with a parting gift of chocolate and wine which I shared with my new housemates. Good tip. The first night we moved in one of the girls and I ended up at a party in another flat, she drank too much vodka and threw up (potentially my bad influence), we got locked out and had to sleep on the floor of a bedroom owned by a guy called Johnny, who we had met approximately 3 hours previously. GOOD TIMES. One of my favourite memories was arriving at the mail room at the end of Christmas term to be met with the harried faces of the mail staff trying to deal with 500 advent calendars sent by loving Mummies all over the country to their recently departed fledglings. Adorable. One of my least favourite memories however was the attempted mugging two flatmates and I endured on the way back from the supermarket one night. Followed by the arrival of police to our flat where we proceeded to recall precisely no details at all about the mugger and were no help whatsoever.
Second year house.
Surprisingly nice basement flat that we found at the last minute after being completely disorganised, shared with two of the girls from first year flats. Favourite memory; being awoken in the middle of the night by one of my housemates to be told that it was "raining" in her bedroom. The next morning the ceiling collapsed and the flat smelt of drains for a week. Amusingly we also once had a house party and one of my friends was overheard to tell another friend “I counted 45 bottles of product in their bathroom”. We didn’t do much cleaning.
Third year placement in France.
My Dad (god bless him) and I completed a nine hour journey with all my belongings from the UK to a tiny town outside of St Etienne where I lived on the campus of a high school next door to the nurse and was ‘employed’ as a language assistant. Favourite memory; two hours spent trying to trap a huge spider with a mixing bowl and a towel from a vantage point of a chair (intermittently screaming) with the only English friend I knew out there. Also blowing the fuses of the flat due to iron/hair dryer/radio/phone being plugged in simultaneously and furiously searching my dictionary for the words “fuse” and “socket” in French.
Final year university.
Back to lovely Headingley in a four bed flat with the girls from halls and a slightly mad friend of theirs who kept us awake at night arguing with her boyfriend. Favourite memory; the HUGE bathroom complete with Greek mural on the walls. And eating cold Chinese take-away whilst listening to the aforementioned shouting in the wee hours of the morning.
Travelling. Packing. Parents’ house. Travelling. Packing. Parents’ house. Travelling. Packing. Parents’ house.
Post-travelling and the part of my life we’ll call “BL” (Before London).
Year and a half of utter stupidity during which I moved to Glasgow with no job, money, friends or family to live with wholly unsuitable, controlling Scottish man whom no-one liked except me, until I realised the error of my ways and called my parents at 5am one morning to tell them I was coming home. “We will pick you up from ANYWHERE YOU ARE!” breathed my Mother in desperate relief.
I have counted 8 separate houses. Ridiculous. Countless trips across London with belongings, each time worse than the last due to accumulation of extra useless items. South to East to South to West. House-share ‘interviews’ which were invariably conducted after work when you were tired and crabby and your make-up had worn off and you had to trek across London to look round houses and try to make strangers like you in the space of five minutes. Bore off.
Favourite memories: TOO many to mention. Brick Lane market and the 24 hour bagel shop obsession. Dodgy Hackney and the treacherous walk across London Fields after dark which I promised my parents I would never do but of course did. The Penthouse! At least five people will know what I'm talking about. Surprisingly only one burglary – but not a great memory seeing as I was the one who came home to find the door KICKED in with a human-sized hole and the Mac gone, carried out in a beautiful leather weekend bag my parents had bought me for my 30th. Numerous lost keys leading to waiting on pavements. Passive aggressive fridge notes. Trips to IKEA to buy nothing of use but lots of tea lights. Kitchen discos. Forgetting one night after a few drinks that my flatmate was home and walking naked into the kitchen to get a glass of water. Moving in with the lovely AM. Settling my poor sister onto the couch when she came to stay only to look up and see a mouse run across the skirting board. Putney riverside. The final decision to leave behind the city we had called home for so long.
And now, for the first time ever, we are packing in order to move into a house that we will soon own. No more rental contract! We can actually stay put for a while! This has to be worth it!
Although currently, seeing as I’m still surrounded by boxes, cleaning products and can see no end in sight I just wish someone would make it stop…