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...

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