Where Have I Been?

I know, I know, I’ve done it again.

Promised to be a good blogger and get my good old rambling in at least twice a month.

And as always, I’ve lasted a few posts then tootled off into the ether. Right at NaNoWriMo season too!

Well, I’ve got good reason. I’ve been using this blog to talk about good things, happy things. And to be honest, I’ve just not had the words to sit down and admit what’s been going on for the past couple of months. Properly sitting down and dissecting it has just seemed… exhausting. Time, to be honest, that if I was to find it at all, I wanted to spend writing other things, retreating into a proper fantasy world.

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New Flat of Beauty and Joy (and broken toilets and ovens and washing machines)

Poor NaNoWriMo has been left a little by the wayside in the past few days: I’ve had other priorities. Namely, moving from the somewhat mouldy mice-filled slug-infested terrace into a beautiful, clean, shiny flat. I’ll get back to the writing in the next few days – come on, I’ve made up more ground than this before. Right now, this flat is the most important thing.


“Christ on a bicycle, they’ve made it to the sofa!”

A couple of months ago, I stood in my living room and shrieked semi-coherently at the silvery slug-trails on my sofa.

While they’d kept to the floor and the floor alone, it had been just about bearable. I hadn’t gone barefoot in my own house for a good year, but hey – who needs chilly feet?

Then in the same week as the slugs gained new ground downstairs, my husband spotted a mouse sneaking down the side of the wardrobe in our bedroom. A somewhat screechy panic-buy of traps and bait later, we realised that enough was enough. We had to move.

You’d think we’d have realised that a bit sooner – the walls were so damp, we had multi-toned wallpaper. But the rent was cheap (as in, ridiculously cheap), and our landlord paid our council tax. We managed to kid ourselves for over three years that the place was OK, that we’d deal with the problems eventually.

We didn’t. And finally, a couple of months back we gave in to the inevitable and started looking for a new place.

Don’t get me started on house-hunting. Horrible experience. You need the killer instinct, the one that me and Kev are sadly lacking.

Finally, after being shafted at least once and shown around some absolute mouldy dives, we found our beautiful, shiny new flat. It’s only ten minutes from the old place, but it could be in a different city: there are trees! Green spaces! Nobody seems to have an old mattress in their garden!

The flat itself is in a modern block of ten, only about ten years old. It’s very secure – fob-gated parking, coded doors, video intercoms, the works. Our flat has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a kitchen-diner with a balcony (a proper balcony with a table and chairs, not just a little Juliet-balcony).

When we first saw it, the previous tenants were still in; a youngish couple with a toddler. The place was a bit of a mess, a bit cluttered, but I could see the potential.

Now we’re in there, and all our stuff has been put in and attacked with dusters and hoovers, it’s gorgeous.

Of course, the previous tenants had to leave their mark (and not just in the form of the giant fluffy toy husky who now has pride of place in our living room). They managed to break the oven and one of the toilets, and reduce the other toilet to a lottery as to whether it would fill without growling and shaking the building. They overfilled the expensive washing machine to the point where the drum has come loose and makes a terrific noise whenever it’s switched on.

But our new landlady is fabulous. It’s all been fixed already, except for the washing machine which will be done soon (it works; it’s just noisy). Our brand new oven is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Coming from the 70s-style oven with no window and a wonky gas supply, and only one properly-working ring on the hob, I barely know what to do with myself. I can cook again! My cakes will no longer be diagonal!

I’ve got all these marvellous ideas about batch-cooking and freezing and baking, immense domesticity that will probably never come to fruition, but hey, I’m going to try.

And don’t get me started on the sofa. Or the bed. Both of them came with the flat, and I’m in heaven. A king-sized bed with a beautiful wooden headboard and footboard. A leather L-shaped sofa that can seat six. Oh, I’m in heaven. Whenever I sit on that sofa, I never want to get up again.

It’s been so hard to get up and go to work for the past two days: I never want to leave the beautiful flat. I want to spend my days on my lovely sofa, snuggled into the quilt my mum made, working my way through the newly-unpacked shelves full of books.

Sadly, real life is calling…


I just logged onto the laptop and it had thoughtfully saved the last tabs I had open – my Facebook and Instagram feeds, frozen sometime in June. Oops. Yes, when it comes to sitting down and writing, be it the ending of my never-ending novel, or blog posts, or even nice chatty Facebook messages, I’m afraid I’m out at the moment. My life has been taken over by a whirlwind of wedding plans, work, and washing. Hey, my cycle of busy has alliteration!

The key thing that’s been taking over my life in the past couple of weeks is that I’ve had a sudden mad desire lately to turn our little shack of a house into a decent home. This involved the soul-crushing realisation that I had to get rid of some of my old stuff.

When Kev and I moved in together, he brought a suitcase and a box. I believe that was it. I brought a full car-load of bags, suitcases, and boxes… and a decent-sized trailer attached to said car, full of even more bags, suitcases and boxes. I might have moved house approximately twelve times since 2007 (actually there’s nothing approximate about that) but I’ve not lost anything along the way. Indeed, the collection has just grown and grown. We’ve been in this house for two years now, and although we’re not going to stay here forever, we’re not going anywhere for a couple of years.

Therefore… we needed to address the issue of space and storage, especially if we plan on having a baby at any time in the near future. Our house isn’t the largest – just your standard two-bedroom Mancunian terrace – and it was just full to bursting with my rubbish. The spare room had a giant three-door wardrobe, rammed. Our bedroom had two single wardrobes that had been so overloaded they were literally falling to pieces, spilling clothes all over the floor like a messy second carpet. Plus there’s a small walk-in wardrobe, just big enough to hang a few things in. Of course, I’d hung a few things in it then stacked it up with as many pairs of shoes and handbags I could possibly squeeze in. It was my Narnia cupboard.

I just hate throwing things away. I always think – what if that comes back into fashion? Or, more to the point, what if I get a tapeworm or something and magically fit into it again? And those shoes have so many memories attached to them – so what if they’re caked in indelible French mud and have completely given way at the heel?

I had to be brutal. And this is the result.

Bin bags

That’s not even all of it, not by any means, That’s just the few bags destined for the charity shop. There happened to be a lot more bags than that, they just got binned. Plus, so did the two falling-apart wardrobes.

Our bedroom looks so much better now. We’ve moved the three-door wardrobe in there, to replace the two others, and with just that one stashed in the corner it looks so much brighter. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing of wardrobes, but we bought some new handles from IKEA and that helped, then I think I’m going to get some pretty postcards or something to stick on it, just to brighten it up. It means the carpet of clothes is now gone, and I’m going through the long process of washing and ironing them all – well, the ones that survived the purge, at least.

It does feel a lot better not to be burdened by years and years’ worth of old clothes and bits and pieces. Sad to see them go, but it felt like finally being an adult. I have to accept that even if I could fit into my size ten tops from second year of uni, I’d look laughable if I was to wear them out now. The word ‘mutton’ springs to mind…

Anyway, that’s all still ongoing. I also have what appears to be an ear infection, leaving me with waves of nausea and dizziness at really random, irritating times. So right now, with work and wedding thrown into the mix, blogging and writing aren’t really on my radar. Which makes me sad, because even this little ramble makes me realise how much I miss it. With only just over a month until the wedding, hopefully once it’s over I’ll have more time to sit down and write.

I will break out of this stasis eventually, I promise!