Monday Musings. 25/1/16
So, after a short absence, you’ll no doubt be delighted at the return of Monday Musings.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks.
Louise and I moved house last Friday. Into a house that we have bought, which is a substantial thing to happen I suppose. It was a stressful few months leading up to it, although for long periods I didn’t have a clue what was going on. Stamp duty? No idea.
Unlike me, Louise is good at life admin so took the reigns and did almost everything. After she had spoken on the phone to solicitors or estate agents, I tried to read whether the news was good or bad before responding with a nod and a smile, or a concerned look and shake of head. These expressions normally did the trick in terms of feigning my understanding and involvement and I imagine they will also come in handy for when we start planning our wedding.
Eventually, with the help of parents but not really solicitors — they didn’t do much — we managed to get a lovely little place. Apart from the fact that I’m currently sat on an inflatable camping sofa which needs more air in it, things are taking shape nicely. I’m hoping that a proper sofa will magically appear without having to trawl around Ikea again, which is a harrowing experience. The meatballs are overrated too.
Moving itself wasn’t too bad although the clean-up mission of the old flat was obviously arduous. I did my bit but became distracted while hoovering, first playing a lengthy game involving attempting to chip a tennis ball into a bin before, less imaginatively, putting the hoover on scales and attempting to guess its weight. This was probably not essential information. For those of you that are interested, I can tell you that a Dyson hoover is surprisingly light.
We are still waiting to hear how much of our deposit the landlord will pocket. If he doesn’t notice where I dropped a hot iron on the carpet and smouldered it, I think we have should get most of it back. It’s a big if.
I was happy to get out of the flat. Although we leave with fond memories and met some good people on the street, the time had come. This was made apparent when, at 4am on a Tuesday, the damp wallpaper above our bed peeled from the wall and smothered my face while I was sleeping. Genuinely terrifying.
I won’t miss the guys who lived above us much. They had — I kid you not — a bouldering wall built in their living room, which was directly above ours. When I first saw them putting it up, it looked like a sacrificial artefact and I’d feared that they were Satanists. Fortunately they were just keen climbers but within a few nights, I’d decided that Satanists would have made better neighbours.
Every night they put on the sort of rock music I listened to when I was fifteen and continually fell off their wall onto the floor. They can’t have been very good climbers. In fairness, it was probably good fun but it became a bit tiresome. One (or possibly both) of the guys were aspiring musicians too and ostensibly the most creative time for their song writing was post 11pm on a weekday.
I made my feelings about these guy’s crystal clear — not by knocking on their door and asking them to quieten down — but by neglecting to take their wheelie bins out when I took mine, which I had always done for our previous neighbour, a quiet community support officer. That had the shitbags told.
Having read that back, I realize that moaning about people younger than me making a bit of noise and enjoying themselves makes me sound like an old bastard. Is that’s what I’ve become? I do have increasingly grey hair and sometimes my back aches. I spent last Sunday at Furniture Village (where I bumped into a similarly fraught looking friend with his fiancée) and I don’t just find Radio 1 irritating anymore — I can’t actually listen to it. I have also recently acquired my first pair of glasses. Is that it? Is my youth over?
My optician, who was oddly flirtatious, informed me that I have probably been short sighted for quite some time. I think deep down I knew this but was in denial. I think part of me is still concerned about potential new nicknames. “Specky four eyes’’ was particularly damning in my primary school days.
The final straw was during my recent (failed)driving test when the guy asked me to read a number plate and all I could see were shimmering black blobs. He gave me another chance with a closer car, but I failed again. With this, my cheery (miserable, bit of a bastard) examiner tutted and went to get a really long tape measure. As I stood in the morning drizzle watching him scowling and taking forever to unravel the thing, I considered whether this was the unhappiest I’d ever felt.
Fortunately, after a bit of squinting, I just about managed to read the last one. The damage had been done though; before getting into the car, I already felt like a failure, which is poor preparation for a driving test.
I need to pass soon really. Last Monday (why is it always Monday?), I had a horror show. I arrived at work and realized I had left my bike keys, and front door keys on the floor of our garage. Panicking that we were going to get burgled within 48 hours of moving in, and it would be my fault entirely, I paced around the office sweating before reaching a solution.
I called my dad and he sorted everything out.
The perks of having a retired dad are vast. He dropped the keys off at my office and even gave me a lift to a meeting, which I was now running late for. We got badly lost. After my dad nearly pulled out in front of a van near Bradford, he looked at me and uttered the wise words: ‘Stress is contagious Andy.’
It certainly is.
Anyway I made it to the meeting eventually and everything was fine. Thanks dad. This sort of thing shouldn’t be happening anymore should it?
My next driving test is coming up pretty soon though I’m not going to reveal how soon. If it takes me ten attempts and until October to pass, then I would like people to assume that by soon, I meant October. No other tests were taken between now and then. I’m not going to mention it again until I’ve passed.
With that said, I’ve just had a flashback of Friday night and I think I told my friends the exact time and date of my test. I also have hazy memories of sitting in my pal’s living room at 3am, drinking a large Merlot and slurringly attempting to describe the synopsis for my next book. It can’t have sounded very good at all.
I do plan to start my second book soon. I keep putting it off with things like: ‘When we move house, I’ll start.’ My latest idea is that once I have a new swivel chair, I will begin. I’ve never owned a swivel chair so how helpful it will be is unclear. It could easily be more of a distraction than an inspiration.
One thing is for sure, this inflatable camping sofa isn’t going to cut it.