Friday, 20 June 2014

Proper weekend

I'm looking forward to a proper weekend; one spent doing relaxing enjoyable things instead of flat-share-hunting.  The weather forecast is good and it's a local summer fête tomorrow.  And right now it's Friday night and I'm sitting with a plate of pasta and a glass of wine, and the cricket highlights on Channel Five...

Peace and contentment.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014


I've just signed a tenancy agreement on a new place.  I then had tea with my nice new landlady in her lovely green garden.  Yes, it's the very first place I went to see; it came through.

So I'm sorted, and I'll be moving in next week.

Hugely relieved.

Then went and had a celebratory pizza with my darling stepmum Jane, who'd been at Kew for the day enjoying the Plantasia festival.

And the sun has shone today, and Kew is beautiful and full of roses. 

I feel, for the first time in ages, that maybe things are going to come out okay.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Taking a break

I have two promising viewings lined up, one for tomorrow evening (after supper out with The Dipterist to hear about her idyllic camping holiday and be envious) and one at the weekend.  Both places look and sound good, and are within budget and within easy reach of work. 

I've also gained a viable fall-back position today, in the form of a lovely colleague in Twickenham, who has offered me a short let of her spare room for a couple of months, while I go on looking.

I did have fall-back positions, kind-of, already.  But one was in Colliers' Wood, well over an hour away, and the other in Brighton.  Both lovely places - and dear & generous friends to make the offer - but painful commutes nonetheless.  Twickenham is about 35-40 minutes by bike (it would be less if I were a better cyclist!) and probably a bit less by train and tube.  And it's a pleasant neck of the woods, too.  Knowing I can take refuge there with Nikki while I carry on searching takes a big weight off my mind.

Now I'm going to have an evening off the computer; have a glass of wine with my supper, have a chat to my Mum, and then if there's nothing frivolous on the tele-box I shall watch a film.  Now all I have to do is decide which dvd!

Cross your fingers for me!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Big fat "Nope"...

I just had one of the worst viewings of a place to rent that I've ever had (& I've had some bad ones over the years; some day I might write about them all, just to make you all laugh).

The one consolation, as I walked away cringing, was knowing that it was so utterly bloody awful I have absolutely no doubt I did the right thing in saying a big fat "Nope"...

From the outside, it looked a perfectly okay house; a semi, bit run-down but structurally sound, big windows, wooden front door, gravelled front garden area with untidy shrubs; at a guess 1950's in vintage.  So far, so unexceptional.

The first thing I noticed as I was shown inside, by the blinking half-dressed man who had answered the door, was the smell.  A very odd smell; musty and kind of greasy, with an undertone of strong tobacco (it was advertised as a non-smoking house).  It reminded me of very dirty hair.

The half-dressed man showed me upstairs to a first-floor front bedroom.  It was a decent size and one wall was lined with built-in cupboards.  But; out of the four cupboards (two large, two small) only one had handles on the doors; the rest had to be prised open with one's fingernails.  In front of the cupboards a large leather sofa had been squeezed in, facing the bed.  One could just about get past it to the window, where a small circular dining table and an office chair had been pushed between the bed and the window.  Next to these there was a small chest of drawers with every single drawer hanging askew.  A random assortment of other odd things, apparently left by the previous tenant, were scattered about the floor; a broken wheely basket, a broken lamp, a car vacuum still in the box, a giant packet of Pampers...

By then I had learned that the man showing me around was not the landlord, who I'd understood I was supposed to be meeting, but one of the other lodgers.  He showed me a small and (literally) mouldy bathroom and finally a cramped and quite staggeringly filthy kitchen with a harem of flies circling.  He then made a long, involved speech about how he and the other three guys living there are really great cool people, very respectful, never cause any bother, and then explained to me how they had had two other earlier tenants given notice to quit for a) not being friendly enough, and b) being too dirty.  The mind boggles.

"Negative attitude is not good here", as he put it.

He told me I would probably never see the fellow my appointment was officially with; "very, very lazy guy, never comes here."  He told me Lazy Guy's mother owned the place and Lazy Guy looked after the letting of it, but that he was empowered to act on behalf of Lazy Guy to arrange a new let.

The doorbell then rang and he let in a smartly dressed young man in aviator sunglasses, who told me he was Lazy Guy's brother, and the owner; just moments after I'd been told the owner was an older woman.

By this point I had been trying to get away for about nine of the ten minutes I'd been there.  I seized the excuse of the interruption and made an exit.

I walked into Richmond town centre, washed my hands very thoroughly in the loos at Costa Coffee, and had an iced tea and a bun.  I actually felt slightly dirty all over, just from having been in the house.  Every surface in the place was thick with grime, clagged with grease, grey with caked dust, or dark with good old-fashioned black mould.  My "yuck" feeling wasn't helped by the weird confusion about who actually had the privilege of owning this nadir of accommodation.

Yes, it was cheap; but not staggeringly cheap.  I wouldn't have taken at at half the asking price, anyway.  If I lived there I'd be terrified of catching something from the shower.

Oh well. 

Regarding the really great place I saw last Monday, I now know the landlady can't make a decision until the 24th, as the last of the enquirers she's promised a viewing to can't come and see it until then.  I can't wait on tenterhooks till the middle of the week after next.  So I'll go on looking in the meantime. 

Something's got to come up, somewhere, somehow!  Please...

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Slightly overwhelmed

Do you ever have that feeling that everything is just too much?  That you are being slowly overwhelmed and pushed down – not waving but drowning?
I have that feeling at the moment. 
Today is the ninth anniversary of the last time I saw my father lucid and able to talk rationally.  After that, I saw him twice more when he was stoned out of his mind on morphine, and increasingly confused and frustrated by his confusion; and then he was in a coma; and then, of course, a few days after that it was all over. 
The memory of this does not help matters, when I am feeling under pressure in every direction as it is.
I miss my father so much sometimes.  I miss his conversation, I miss his quick mind and his acuteness, and his fascination with any and all new knowledge.  I miss just being able to sit and talk to him.  I miss his whiskey collection and our silly “blind tastings” when he’d bought himself a new malt.  I miss having access to his knowledge of computers and his willingness to share it.  I miss his voice, and I miss his sense of humour - weird musical jokes, dreadful puns and all.
Just now I also miss his support, which was steady and unquestioning and unconditional, and came with no suggestion of expecting or needing anything in return.  He was that kind of chap, old-fashioned in the good way, and utterly sound.  In two weeks it will be the anniversary of his death.  I miss you, Dad.
I could have done with that kind of support at the moment.  I still don’t know if I will have anywhere to live come July, and I still don’t know if I’ll have a job come August - and I do know that the man I fell for a while back isn’t interested in me.  Then there’s the fact that because all this is chaotic and pressured and exhaustingly steessful, at the end of the day I haven’t got the time or the energy at the moment to do the things I really want to do (write, draw, go out, see my friends, and of course my Big Plan for this year, sort out how to publish something online and have a go at it, just to see what happens).  

So I am now just working in order to keep on working; I’m no longer working in order to do the things I love.  This is a state of affairs I dread, and have long fought to avoid.
I have to go on at work, performing properly and demonstrating my ability to deliver under pressure, while not knowing whether my role will even exist in a few weeks time.  I have to pack up my belongings at home and prepare for a move, when I don’t actually know where I’ll be moving to.  I have to smile and be at ease with my crush and accept it will never even register with him how much I would have liked to get to know him better.
I have to keep smiling and saying I’m okay, to all the people who, if I admit to them that I am close to screaming with despair inside, will then get upset and worry about me, and need me to be caring and good, and manage their distress.  I haven’t the energy or the patience to do that at present, so the only practical option is to conceal the situation from them.

It's tiring.
I have to suppress the gnawing doubt, which maybe is not a doubt at all but an unadmitted certainty, that I have wasted my life and am a creature without purpose or use to anyone.  Because if I admit this doubt – this doubt that may in fact be a certainty – then I have to face the question – if there’s no point in me, why am I alive?  Am I alive primarily because it will upset some people if I’m not here anymore? 
And that way madness lies, madness and Ed’s sorry end. 
I don’t want to die; I’m not suicidal, at least not in any sense that I ever have been before.  I think I would recognise the state of mind, as it is hellish in the extreme. 
But I am beginning to wonder if my existence is pointless, and even without any wish to end one’s life that is still a salutary and a depressing thought.
I know my existence wasn’t meant to be pointless (excuse the rather “fate and destiny” tone here!). 
I was born into this life to create.  Of that I am certain.  I’ve known this since I was a very small child. 
I want to tell stories and make images and write songs and plays, I want make beautiful things and share beautiful tales and adventures.  I want to give joy, to cheer hearts and make people smile, to remind those who are feeling alone that they are not alone, that no-one is alone. 
But I’m not doing any of this.  I’m battling-on with a fraught job and fraughter home life, and seeing love go by me like a bright boat on the river.  And my own right work, creating and making new stuff that will give pleasure and joy to those in need of them, is a thing I drag myself to with tired mind and body at the end of the day.  When it ought to be the centre of my existence.
Should I ask for voluntary redundancy here, leave London, bugger off somewhere else entirely and make a completely new start?  It’s almost starting to look tempting.  I have nothing, really, to tie me to London, except liking my life here; or at least, liking the way things have been – until work became insecure and I got asked to move, and all the rest of that, and the bright boat sailed by me yet again... 

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

I have a mouth...

...and I must scream.  Or at any rate, I want to sometimes.  By damn, flatshare-hunting is hellish.

I had another viewing arranged for this evening; the place was in Richmond, and it sounded okay, perhaps not as great as the one I'm still waiting on but perfectly good, and well within budget.  I was meant to meet a chap from the lettings agency after work.  But in the afternoon he emailed me to say he'd just let the place to someone else, sorry for the inconvenience. 

Inconvenience.  Yup, that's the word I was looking for.

By then I had given away my ticket to "Dialogues des Carmelites" tonight to a colleague.  Who is an opera newbie.  Interesting choice for a first-ever opera, I must say.  I hope he enjoyed it.  The state of tension I'm in, I would probably have howled my eyes out, anyway. 

I've spent all evening searching online;,,,, lettings agencies, you name it.  I've stared in misery at ad after mis-spelled ad; endless variations on "Nice Massive bright dbble rm in quite house, rm has furnished wth duble bed, woddrobes and draws".  "Massive", judging by the accompanying photos, does not usually mean massive, though; it means something more like "O look, there was room for a woddrobe and a chair as well as the double bed we've managed to squash in somehow"...

I've even seen one where the landlord had put "Room for rent for female, as it has dressing table and a female vibe; Willing to negotiate or even go rent-free in return for companionship"...    

Say what!?!  

Somehow I don't think that landlord has plump, self-possessed forty-something me in mind when he daydreams of "female vibes" and "companionship"... 

And I doubt very much if he is what I have in mind when I daydream of the equivalent, either.

At any rate, I'm going boss-eyed with tiredness and haven't found anything tonight that made me feel "Yes, that would suit me nicely".  I'm looking everywhere; all through an area of a four mile radius of work, i.e. cycling distance, with longer searches along the main transport routes as well.  I'm not being fussy about furniture or views or en-suites, and despite my jokes above I'm not being fussy about illiteracy, either (though Mr I-want-companionship is going to be waiting a long time for my call, as I am not a Companion!).

Something's got to come up.  Something, somehow, somewhere...  But gods, it's depressing.  Depression and tiredness start to kick in and I have to fight to remain positive.  Damn it, I will not give in to expecting disaster!  I will keep hoping, and I will keep looking!  Something has got to come up!

Monday, 9 June 2014

Cross your fingers for me

I had my first viewing tonight; and it's lovely, and I want it! - but, of course, the landlady has other prospective tenants coming to look at the room and doesn't want to make her decision until she's met them all.  Aargh!

It's like being in a beauty contest (an activity for which I am singularly ill-qualified).  Nerve-wrackingly uncomfortable.  All one can do, of course, is be oneself and be friendly and courteous (I hope I may say they go together with me anyway), and hope for the best.

I loved the room, I love the situation and I liked the landlady.  Please let this come right for me!

It's an attic conversion in a big Edwardian house just a street away from where I am living now.  It's right at the top of my budget, but it's a big room and it has an en-suite bathroom as well.  There's a lovely garden, too, a green haven with an apple tree and roses and campanulas; and the landlady was a really pleasant, interesting, articulate woman.  We sat in the garden and drank tea and chatted about random art and gardening things.  She's friendly but doesn't want to be at the centre of my social life; but she was interesting to talk to and she makes a good cuppa.  Surely the Gods will see that I'm a good fit here!

I forgot to try the bed; can't think what got into me, I always ask if I can try the bed.  Too late now.  I'm sure it was comfortable.  This really didn't seem like the kind of place where the bed will turn out to be ancient and lumpy.  This is a comfortable lived-in family home with ornaments tucked in funny corners as you go up the staircase, and nice bits of original art hanging everywhere.  I can see myself living there.  The whole place had a good atmosphere.

And it's still within fifteen minutes' walk of work.

Please, please, let this come together! 

Sunday, 8 June 2014


(I'm not getting any progress at the moment on the flatshare-hunting; I've emailed about a dozen possibilities but have had as yet only that one response from the guy who wasn't really in Barnes after all, plus one very obvious scammer, who I've politely told to buzz off.  So to give myself something to do, here is a bit of poetry for you).


So this is the third year, and the thirtieth
That I have travelled towards Ithaka
And for the first time I have achieved my goal.
It's been a long dream, a long time since
That plump schoolgirl, nose-deep in the bronze age,
Dreamed of a modern Odyssey; nostalgic for
A home she'd never known, an ur-home, Ithaka.
This morning an hour past dawn I stood on the quay
And saw a dark shape across the water.  Tall and wooded,
Shrouded in morning shadow, a dream beyond dream.
Perpendicular it looked, looming, a high mystery.
No longer a girl's dream but the wild myth made stone.
The legend had bulk suddenly, presence of forests and cliffs.
We sailed east, out of morning, into the island's shadow, the night-side of myth.

It isn't only Ithaka I have dreamed of reaching.
Every home I've ever lost and every lover; every struggle failed
And all that are half-completed; all, all are Ithaka.
They have all loomed beyond me, like the great mysteries.
I can no longer count the sum of my unreached dreams.
Lately the longing and the travelling in my heart
Have both been reaching out again for the hope of love
And the road out of loneliness, the greatest
Mystery of them all; and today
I've carried the image of that love with me
Crossing the calm gulf of morning, to this island;
Carried him here in my heart to the one dream I have achieved, to Ithaka.

In the end, it was an ordinary beautiful day
Of island towns and landscapes and gold-grey stone
And the miraculous blue of sea and heaven.
There were no revelations.  Nothing
Was vouchsafed me, save the knowing I came here.
Arriving at last, longing, in my way longing no less
Than the much-travelled desperate Odysseus,
To tread this mythic soil, taste this strong wine,
Walk under these dark pines while my one day turned
From night to a sunlit afternoon, and my daydream to realised hope.
After all of my travels here, I held out my hands
And touched what was unattainable, and found it true.
No mystery; or, the mystery is still further, and still more secret,
Still shrouded like hope in the high night-side of the myth, and deeper than Ithaka.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Get it together, lass!

I'm trying to, I really am...

I suppose I just have to accept that I have a real mental block about flat-hunting.  I hate it!  It unnerves me and leaves me feeling confused and insecure.  I'm trying really hard to be positive about it this time around, but inside I am rigid with tension.  I need that positive energy.  I need to keep going and keep my spirits up.  But I'm finding it tough.

It would be easier if just for once I could have a landlord who gave the correct amount of notice; counting the time I was given the boot because the landlord's new girlfriend didn't like me, this is the third time this has happened.  Two months, the legal amount I should have been given, is a reasonable amount of time to find a new flatshare.  Four weeks, which is what I have been given, feels really tight; after all, almost a week of it has gone by already.

My landlady is still being friendly enough about things, but shows no sign of accepting that she's made a mistake.  Presumably this is because all her own plans were made before she gave me notice, and hinge on the date she expects me to move out by.  In effect, my bluff is being very courteously called; will I raise the subject again and risk disturbing the peace?  Or will I simply sweat blood and tears to find somewhere to move to, within the illegal timescale that suits her, in order not to risk getting a bad reference or having trouble getting my deposit back?

Yes, I know there are legal rules about these things, deposits etc, but I also know that landlords can and very often do disregard them, either out of ignorance or because they cannot be fagged, and rely on the tenants to be too busy, too scared, or too relieved when things are over, to cause trouble.

I had a odd start to my flatshare-hunt yesterday.  I'd emailed a place that sounded promising (the room looked good and the rent was okay).  The map on Gumtree showed it as being in Barnes, in the postcode area SW13, about ten minutes' walk from Barnes Station and maybe 30 minutes by bike from work.  The landlord emailed me back during the day to say "Can you come for a viewing on Saturday?" & I was about to respond when I noticed that the address he was giving me was not in Barnes, or even in SW13 - it was in Sutton, miles further south, and miles out of the area I'm looking in.  So I had to email him back to say "Sorry to have wasted your time - & by the way, you may like to check that your advert has been set-up correctly...".

If I were planning to go that much further off, I would be looking at direct rail connections from Kew Bridge, or at least at routes which connected directly with that line, say at Clapham Junction; not at routes with two connections, and a likely commute of well over an hour all told.  The longest journey to "work" I've ever had was a forty minute walk to college; call me a wimp by all means, but I should hate to have a journey longer than that.  I was fifteen years younger, then, too!

Think positive, Dent, think positive.  It's early days yet and there's got to be something, sometime, surely...

Which brings me back to where I started; my own desperate, miserable insecurity when faced with the need to move at short notice.  It just does really upset me.  Some deep-seated childhood thing no doubt (blame the parents, that's the way!).  I imagine it's probably good for me to be facing it again, actually.  Try to get a good result this time, prove to myself that it can be done...

I wish I could afford to get my own place; but I have to be realistic about budget. I do not want to be in a one-room studio smaller than the bedroom I have at present, with a freestanding shower cubicle and a mini-kitchen-unit all crammed in as well as the regulation wardrobe and chest of "draws" (as everyone seems to spell it nowadays), with a shared loo and (if I was lucky) a shared washing machine on the landing.  I have books, goddammit, and consequently bookcases!  I have potted plants.  I have Dvds and a tele, a fair amount of my own crocks and kitchen equipment, and an easel, and a bicycle...  But on my present salary (which is very unlikely to go up for the foreseeable future) I cannot afford the £600 a month plus council tax and utilities that this kind of semi-slum studio would cost me.  An actual flat, with separate bathroom and kitchen and its own white goods, would set me back easily £150 more than that (again, plus bills and CT).  I just don't have the money to feed myself on top of that; much less for transport and a little bit of leisure activity.

I don't want to be rich (well, I say that, but actually it could be really handy, only that isn't the story here!).  I just want to have enough to live on, in a simple, civilised manner as a single person who has passed the age of wanting to live in student digs with a bunch of 20-something hipsters who never do any cleaning.

Buying is absolutely out of the question.  And please, don't tell me to look into shared ownership!  I have; and all the schemes are predicated on you being a couple with a joint household income of £40,000 per annum minimum.  If I had £40,000 a year plus my existing deposit I wouldn't be farting around looking into shared ownership in the first place, I would be getting myself a mortgage for £160,000 and looking for a flat in the £200,000 range.  Whcih would get me nothing remotely grand, but at least would be feasible.  As it is, if I could get a mortgage I would be looking at around £80,000, and even with the money my Dad and godmother left me, that wouldn't be enough to buy.  Not even in Heston.

Sorry, ranting a bit here.

Most depressing thing about this is that I'm quite incapable of any creative writing or drawing at the moment, or even of uploading my holiday snaps.  The Muse has taken one look at my stress levels and simply b*ggered off.  I wish I could just drop the whole mess - job, flatshare-hunt, everything - and decamp permanently to Greece.  Live in a shack on a mountain and eat olives and goat cheese and wild greens, and write a masterpiece...

I was planning to come back from my trip and get myself sorted out to try publishing something online, just to see what happens.  Publishing properly online, I mean, and proper original writing, not fanfic on a fanfic site.  Just to see.  It would be nice to be read, after all, else why am I doing it?  I have no grand social agenda or expectation of changing the world with my writing.  I just want to tell stories and have people read and enjoy them.

But for now I have to focus on finding somewhere to live.  I've emailed four more possible flatshares, and I've taken the plunge and advertised myself as a "room wanted" at work and on Gumtree (replies to the latter, if any, to be handled with care!).  I will obviously try all the old-fashioned routes like newsagents' windows and the noticeboard at the PRO, and so forth.  I just need to get this sorted out; this, and the uncertainty about whether I'll still have a job at all by autumn.  When my life is straightened out then maybe I can think again about the things that really matter to me, like writing and creativity and my poems, and my holiday photgraphs, and seeing friends and family - and even my crush!  How idiotic my behaviour over him and his nice brown eyes seems now, seen with the dubiously-beneficial perpective of a real problem on my plate. If you'll excuse the mixed metaphor.

But it was pleasant to feel romantic and day-dreamy, and to be so utterly bloody silly, just for a little while.  And they are very attractive brown eyes...

Oh well.  On with the motley.  Onwards and upwards.  To infinity and beyond.  And the like cliches...

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Mixed bag

Well, I'm back from my holiday.  Feeling a bit mixed at the moment.

Katelios is still beautiful.  It was quiet and peaceful, the hills around were golden and green (wheat fields and olive groves on the lower slopes, scrub and maquis above), the beach was unspoiled, the sea clean and clear as sapphire.  My doubts about staying in a block of studios in the centre of the village were groundless; this early in the season, I was disturbed more by the squeaking taps in a neighbouring room than by any noise from the tavernas and bars along the street.  My studio was lovely; comfortable and well-appointed, with a balcony giving me sea views to the left and mountain views to the right.  Sparrows chirped on the roof every morning, and swallows and housemartins swooped by constantly.

If I wanted a dip, I could go downstairs and across the road, and be on the town beach in two minutes, or I could turn left and walk along the front for five minutes and be on scruffy, sandy Ayia Varvara beach, with the amethyst silhouette of Zakynthos looking like Bali Hai on the horizon.  Shade trees, benches, a couple of rubbish bins, a pinewood changing cubicle for the more modest bather; sand and fine shingle, gently shelving so that one walked for 50 yards to get to chest-deep water; no currents, sandy sea-bottom, perfectly safe swimming with little lapping waves, and small fishes coming to inspect your toes... 

A row of tavernas and cafes along the front, above the town beach, and a couple more one street back.  Good, classic Greek food; by gum, Hellene cuisine is fine stuff!  I don't just mean souvlaki and moussaka, but things like horta and home-baked gigantes, lemon potatoes, briami, skordhalia, beetroot served with its own greens, and so much wonderful fish...  Tremendous local wines, too.  If you wanted a change, La Floridita served ginormous fresh-cooked pizzas, or a pleasant nameless beach bar halfway along the strand would do you a salad and a toasted cheese-and-olive-paste sarnie, and a bottle of Mythos or Fix...

If you wanted a more untouched spot, then forty minutes' walk on a rocky cliff path over the headland to the east would bring you to Mounda Bay and the almost entirely undeveloped - and quite spectacular - strand of Kaminia Beach.  One small cantina, set well-back behind trees, and two very modest hotels, on a golden sandy beach a couple of miles long.  It's a turtle nesting site, and it would seem any further development has been stopped because of that.  Hurrah!  For my money, the walk over the headland and then along this beach to Cape Mounda, the southernmost point of the island, is one of the best I know in Greece.  On the Cape there are wind-sculpted caves and tumbled boulders, and the path gets scrabblier and scrabblier until one fears turning an ankle.  In fact I just stopped there, and sat on a sloping rock above the waves, to meditate in the utter isolation on The Eternal Spirit Of Hellas...

As well as several very lazy days having a stroll, a swim, a sit in the sun, and then a read in the shade, I did this walk one day and another day I went on an organised but nonetheless highly enjoyable day trip to Ithaka.  Ithaka is beautiful; I was moved to poetry.  May share that, may not; it's a rambling semi-homage to Cavafy's "Ithaka", and I'm not sure if it's any good or not!  But the island herself, being high and green and secret, was very good indeed.

So far, so good.  Warmth and good food, good bathing, plenty of time to relax under a tree and read Fat Novels no's 1 and 2.  But there were downsides.

Firstly, minor but desperately irritating, I caught a cold.  All of that good swimming and good eating is less exciting when one has a sore throat and a stuffy head, and is periodically letting-off explosive sneezes.  It's the classic run-down thing; I was tired and I didn't have enough resistance to fight off the germs. 

Secondly, those squeaking taps I mentioned?  Someone who had access to them used to squeak them rather a lot.  I can't say I'd prefer neighbours making noisy love every night (I've had that, elsewhere), but someone who turns a squeaky tap on, and off, and on again,and off again, on-and-off steadily for about tweny minutes at 2.00am is almost as inconsiderate.  I have no idea what they thought they were doing.  But thanks to them waking me at these unholy hours with their random-tap-turning obsession, I don't think I had a single unbroken night's sleep.  Boo.

Lastly, my alarm clock began to play up; so because I am a Big Girl and know what I am doing with modern technology (Oh Yes I Do), I set up my mobile phone to give me an alarm call.  Which it did, most efficiently.  But in turning it on, last night while I was packing for my return journey, I picked up a text message from my landlady giving me notice to quit the place I'm living, because she and her partner are putting the flat on the market. 

B*llocks.  I hate flatshare-hunting, and I hate moving, and I was already feeling worried about coming back to face the latest stage of the restructure at work.  Now I also have to face finding somewhere new to live.  Neither area of my life is clear and straight at all, suddenly. 

So if anyone reading this is in south, and in particular south-west London, and wants a lodger or a flat-mate, or knows anyone else who does, let me know. 

I need to wind this up, wash up my supper plate, and finish unpacking; and then I need a fairly early night.  Work tomorrow, and I am still on Greek time.  And I have a ticket to see the Draft Works bill at the Linbury Studio tomorrow evening.  To remind myself of the consolations of London; the things like culture, that I would miss most painfully if I were to chuck it all in and decamp permanently to Greece.  I would miss my friends, too, and some of my colleagues; and I would miss bookshops.  I can see myself spending a fortune on Amazon, and setting up a amateur theatre group and a choir and a cinema club, just to try and have some Culchah in my paradise.

I think I would fail as a lotus eater.  But I do crave my little doses of lotus from time to time...