Packing

The stupidly long holiday draws to a close. There is now nothing left for me here. Unfortunately, I’ve not done any packing yet, so today is going to be spent getting myself in order. I didn’t properly unpack last time, so it shouldn’t take too long, but it’s still a difficult process.

Yes, I’ve got used to living back at home. I think I observed some time ago that this is the longest time I’ve spent back at home since I left for University. All other breaks have been much shorter, and last summer I went to the USA, of course. So this has almost been like I never left.

I don’t know yet whether I’m going to go through the same sad process of leaving all over again. I doubt it because this time I’m moving and knowing where I’m going, what I’m doing and who I’m living with. When I moved off to University, I really didn’t have a clue at all what I was letting myself in for. This time I have more certainty, but it doesn’t mean I’m not going to miss my family here, which is something I’ve gotten quite used to again.

But I think some trauma is going to set in. Right now there are still an enormous amount of things that haven’t been sorted out for the move tomorrow which are filling me with needless worry. I know in a few days time all will feel normal again, because I remember actually how easily I made the transition last time. It surprised me that all of a sudden I didn’t care that I only spoke to my family once a week on the phone. I was too busy with my own life.

It’s a sad but necessary process. There will be some initial feelings of divorce. Sudden change is sometimes a little difficult to comprehend.

But it really is time for me to get back to my adventure in life. I don’t know exactly where it’s going to take me over the next 10 months… but it’s sure to be fun.

Next time I post will be some days away, BT reconnection dependent…

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And Now…

It’s nearly over. A monstrously long summer holiday is grinding to a close. This time 18 weeks ago, I was preparing to face my last exam. It’s been a good summer on reflection. Not as good as last year, as I’ve already worked out in a previous post, but running it pretty close because of how I believe it’s helped me work out what I intend to do with my life.

The thing I’m going to miss here quite a lot is the fact that I now have something to look forward to during the week. I’ve made reference to the fact that I’m now quite involved in my brother’s football team… I am the treasurer in fact. But it’s great to get out on a Sunday morning to go and cheer them on. As a bit of a perfectionist too, I seem to derive a rather bizarre enjoyment from having everything organised well. You should see the mass of excel spreadsheets we now have covering attendance, results, team statistics, finances, registration information… not to mention the quite significant website.

But this is all going to go west once I go. My mum and dad haven’t a clue how to keep the website going, so I’m going to maintain it from a distance. This is fine, but it will mean the end of the match reports that I write – which is one of the things the kids seem to enjoy visiting the website for. Youth football is extremely high paced, and if you have never seen a youth football game before, most people don’t believe me when I say scorelines like 6-2 are actually very close games.

So I’m going to miss getting up early on a Sunday to go and cheer my team on. I have always been a football fan, but it’s quite obvious that the honesty is disappearing out of the game at the professional level. At the highest level (where the team I follow is) fans are totally priced out of the game. But there’s something about the spirit of football – and by logical extension any team sport – that is summed by the classic quote of Bill Shankly:

“The socialism I believe in is everyone working for each other, everyone having a share of the rewards. It’s the way I see football, it’s the way I see life.”

And it’s great to see this kind of spirit still exists… which is probably why I enjoy it so much. I think I’ll try to find the local Sunday league when I move to London and see what it’s like there.

But enough of this misty-eyed idealism. Unfortunately, the reality of moving is going to set in shortly. Packing will have to begin. I need to go and buy a couple of suits (or the parts of a suit, since it is cheaper to buy the separate bits if I go to ASDA or Matalan!). I need to buy boring things like soap, washing powder, washing up liquid and the rest. Then I’ll have to make arrangements for electricity bills and so on.

There’s something about the mind numbing tedium of everyday life that always brings me crashing down to earth within seconds. I wonder why…

Going Postal

Everything is slowly falling into place. The estate agent has been sending me letters every day for the past three days, asking for various deeper and deeper invasions of privacy. Who knows why they need to know what the occupation of the person who witnessed my signature is. Are they going to reject the witness because they are unemployed? Are only the professional classes trusted enough to witness Important Documents? If so, why?

Then there is the fact that they phoned my dad up at work, for he is going to have to be my guarantor (much to my chagrin about having to ask my parents for support when it’s totally unnecessary) and asked if they could speak to the HR department. My dad suspects that, unless it’s for a reference for another job, the HR department will simply tell them they can’t provide any information for data protection purposes. Which is good. I’m probably just being paranoid, but they seem to have been very particular about me ever since I objected so much to all the info they were after, constantly asking why it was relevant…

Oh well. In other good news, Mr/Mrs Postman also delivered me a letter from the Inland Revenue. At last I have had a response to my letter to them sent two months ago, and I could, finally, be in the process of getting back the hundreds of pounds they owe me. This will be very important in relieving the pressures of expense that a £950 deposit plus a month’s rent up front is going to cost me. It is ludicrous though, because when I came back from University back in May, I had hoped I would finally get my tax back within the next few weeks. Here I am now, nearly going away again, and still tax-refund-less.

But there was one other snag. In an unusual twist, reminiscent of the days when you could leave your front door unlocked and when women stayed at home all day to do women’s things and talk about the price of fish, my local post office closes half day on a Wednesday. This is not exactly a rural area. In fact, it is a highly populated bit of outer-city suburbia. There is no real excuse for closing early on a Wednesday now.

So I went round the post office – forgetting the aforementioned fact – to post my Important Letters To Get My Money Back From The Government, and noticed that the shutter was down. There are no other post offices for miles.

Another delay. And now this morning, it is raining, so I still haven’t gone out to post them.

Anger levels are high…

London Calling

It’s been an interesting week… I’m sure I could have posted before now during the last eight days, but I guess time just slips away in the end.

I spent the last week trying desperately to find places to view in anticipation of my visit to London on Saturday. I planned to go visit these houses/flats with my friend who I’m going to be living with, and, with a bit of luck, we’d get something sorted out the same day. So much time was wasted on the internet trying to find something appropriate while staying reasonably cheap. One thing is for sure, this little jaunt next year is going to wipe out several thousands of pounds…

In the end, London appeared into my vision. The sight of it normally fills me with dread, and this time was no exception. It was made worse by the fact that I had picked the perfect weekend to go… numerous tube lines were closed for maintenance, meaning a scramble for the nearest working tube line, and having to go back on myself when I realised the station I was planning to change lines at was no good for me.

We toured three houses on the day, one in Custom House, one in Lewisham and one in Hither Green. The one in Lewisham was very depressing, so that was the end of that. I preferred the one in Custom House, but my housemate wanted the one in Hither Green. In the end, just because it would make things easier (as we were actually in the agent that showed us the Hither Green house) I just agreed to take it.

Having never done anything like this before, I didn’t realise just how many forms and paperwork were then required. Then they slipped on an extra cost – a “reference fee” just at the final part of the process, without giving me any warning. I think it’s ridiculous that I have to have my privacy invaded so thoroughly by providing them with three months of my bank statements, as does my dad, because they insisted on a guarantor as I’m not earning any money next year. Then the questions on the form were asking me to provide endless details of character references, previous employers, all the rest.

Unfortunately, I guess this is the way rental works. You can understand them not wanting to take on bad tenants, and doing everything they can to stop it, but you would have thought the fact they already want two grand as an upfront payment of rent and deposit to be enough to show that we’re serious about it and don’t intend to default any time soon. A quick credit reference check (costing them no more than £2) would also show them I have a very good credit record.

The other problem was the fact that it was all taking so much time to do. I had a train to catch at 17:04, and it was now 16:10… and I was in Lewisham, a long way from where I needed to be to get my train home. This involved a mad dash across London, via underground, overground, and wombling free running up and down escalators. Then onto the wrong train platform, because there was also another train leaving at the same time, and I’d only looked at the time on the departure board. I figured there couldn’t be any other train leaving at the same time. But there was. So I had to run back, get the right train. I made it with 10 seconds to spare.

But I suffered for it the next day. I don’t think I’ve ever run so quickly in my whole life. When I was standing, waiting for an underground train to arrive, I had resigned myself to missing my train – which I had booked into in advance so if I’d missed it I’d have had to buy a new ticket. But when the train arrived at my station, I had four minutes to make the transfer. I had to chance it. So I ran as fast I could, feeling utterly hypocritical about the fact that I normally moan about the people who are constantly running up and down the escalators, because I was doing it myself. I guess I won’t complain about that again.

I don’t think I’ve ever run so quickly over such a long period of time. Non stop sprinting, running on adrenaline. When I made it with seconds to spare, I collapsed and fell asleep. But my muscles were killing by the time I moved again as I got off the train… and the next morning it was terrible. Headaches and stomach pains, so I only survived yesterday with the help of some paracetamol. The wonders of modern science.

So now I have a big rush to get everything finalised. Theoretically, the property isn’t mine yet until I get all this stuff back. But I’m still waiting for confirmation from my referees that they don’t mind me putting their names on my form. The longer it takes, I suppose the greater the chance the estate agent will show someone else around and offer it to them. And that would be disasterous. I couldn’t do all this again. I’ve already left it too late, and that’s the fault of the “friends” of mine who dropped me in this mess by going off by themselves and finding their own place to live.

Hopefully, it’s all over now. But I can’t help but feel that some other snag is going to emerge…

Away Wit’ Ya

No, I haven’t gone all Irish, but unfortunately I have just caught the end of the X-Factor (one of my family’s favourite TV shows), and Louis Walsh’s accent sticks in my head. But the sentiment is in the right place.

This cryptic mystery will easily be explained as I carefully point out that I probably should have worked out somewhere to live in London by now. Unfortunately, this is not the case. I’m due to start my internship in Parliament there on the 25th of September. Sure, this is still a little while away, but I know it will fly by. I haven’t been to London all summer, even though I had promised myself I would do so.

So now I’m left in a difficult position. It has been made many times worse by the clearly deliberate ignorance of the messages I have left for my alleged future housemates. Only one of them replied, and I would have been astounded if this particular person hadn’t… but to me, I’m guessing the other two have sneaked off and arranged something already.

This is not good. I was mildly looking forward to living in a big four bedroomed house. There was definitely much more value in doing that compared with what I’m going to have to pay now for a two bedroomed flat. Worse is the fact that many two bedroomed flats are situated above kebab shops in dingy places in London. If I hadn’t set myself up with the possibility that things might be better then I don’t think I’d be as disappointed now. But as it happens, those two bastards sneaking off have ruined everything.

Not to worry. There is no value in doing so. I don’t have any more time to waste. It’s looking highly likely that some part of south east London is going to be my future home. I have never revealed where I live on this blog, but I might have said at some point that I am from the North of England. Living in Hull the past two years was compatible with that. I am a Northerner, whatever that means. So this prospect of living somewhere wayyy down South is a rather difficult prospect. I have never had a good word to say about London in my life – I hate the fact that all UK life seems to revolve around it – but I guess now I’m going to have to learn to love it. It’s going to be my home for the next year, after all.

So, with this in mind, I have planned a visit down to London next Saturday on the first train out of here in the morning. It’s going to be a long day. I would love to have somewhere to live sorted out the same day, and I’m going to book some viewings this week to try to bring that into effect.

My life is beginning to move off at its own pace again after it being on hold for most of this ending part of the summer. And that’s probably about right. I love my home, but I’m starting to feel that time is ticking away again, and that I’ve not been up to much of late.

So it’s time to get things back on track. It’s nearly time to resume my life.