You're supposed to have ambivalent feelings when you move house. You know, when you pack away your possessions (which people think of as their life), and see the house or flat in which there has been so much love and laughter now empty, and needing a hoover.
Not me. I can't wait to move into the new house in Northampton. Not only for all the well-rehearsed reasons about how much more convenient it will be living in town etc etc. But also because, much as I hate to say it, I haven't been happy at the flat in Earls Barton. Not at all, in the whole of the two years I've been there.
Which is not to say I haven't been happy in two years, don't get me wrong. But all of my good times have happened in other places, at other people's homes, or in pubs, or even (again, it's a rather guilty confession), at work, where--despite the stresses any job brings--I've had some great laughs and wonderful conversations and met a few people who I hope will be friends for the rest of my life.
But Earls Barton sucked. Well, the flat sucked. I had no phone line, which they didn't tell me when I moved in, and when I asked for one they said I could have it installed if I payed half. The TV didn't have a proper signal and when I asked them to fix that they told ME to go to the local repair man. Who himself told ME how to fix it and said he was too busy to do it himself.
Then they rented out the space underneath my flat and put a shop in there. I told them, reluctantly, that it would be okay because I didn't think I had a choice. And then I had nowhere to put my bin. I asked the estate agent for a solution and all they did was ignore me. So I put the bin in various places and three times it was stolen. Finally I did a deal with the woman who ran the post office--a fierce but kindly old girl--who let me use the space just outside the post office in the alley as long as she could share it.
And the flat had no heating of its own. Just two free standing radiators that couldn't warm your ass if you sat on top of them. And the flat had its shower in one of the bedrooms which left mould growing on the ceilings and one of the walls. And the bathroom was wallpapered and the paper began to peel the first time I used it and continued to peel fror the entirety of my stay. And the kitchen door they promised to put on was never put on. And twice during my tenure there the landlady put the fucking rent up!
You might ask why I didn't move, if things were so bad. A good question.Well, if I could have moved I would. But moving when you rent is horrendously expensive and I didn't have the money to stump up for a deposit, one month's rent in advance and the handling fee or whatever it is the estate agent charges to process the contracts . If I hadn't been offered the use of my old manager's house (there go my radical credentials) I might have still been there in Earls Barton living in the nineteenth century wondering when the landlady was going to decide to up the rent again.
So no, no ambivalent feelings about moving. Hell, I even started having goddamn seizures while I was there. When the woman who had the shop beneath brought in a medium and the medium said the whole building was possessed by a malevolent spirit I could well believe it.
Except that bad spirit may have been the ghost of laissez-faire fuck-your-neighbour 1980s capitalism.
Onward. And upward!