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Posts Tagged ‘house buying’

  1. Gardens and gas leaks

    August 26, 2011 by superlative

    It has been quite a busy week with house stuff, and we have managed to sort loads of things out and started to get it looking quite nice.

    Last weekend I spent about £150 in a garden centre, B&Q and Homebase, and got home clutching all my homely wares thinking ‘what the fuck has happened to me?’ I’ve never needed to do any of this sort of stuff before – DIY and buying pot plants and things – simply because we’ve never had any need to. And now that I need to do it (and want to do it, because I’m quite house proud) I feel like I’ve suddenly turned into my parents.

    Most of that money, and then a large part of Friday, Saturday AND Sunday, went on cleaning up our decked patio area at the back. Honestly, it was disgusting out there. I think the previous owners must never have cleaned it, and they pretty much just used it as a space for their massive horse-like dog to sit. We can add cleaning the decking to the long list of things they never did in the flat, of which more later.

    It was covered in grime, and bird crap, and weird mossy algae stuff, so that it was basically a murky grey with green bits. This is what it looked like when we bought the place:


    It’s not too bad in the picture I suppose, but it was pretty horrible close up, and you didn’t really want to walk around on it.

    So first of all we spent three hours on Friday sweeping it and the scrubbing it with soapy water. Then on Saturday Chris scrubbed it again with special decking cleaner that brought it up a lovely sandy sort of colour and which magically deleted all the green from it. Then he had to scrub it again to wash the cleaner off, so he pretty much spent the whole of Saturday on his knees while I had a little sit down on the sofa. Then on Sunday, finally, we gave it two coats of decking stain and put our new plants out there, and now it looks like this:

    It’s so much nicer! It’s really clean now, and it feels much nicer to go out there. Of course it has rained pretty much every day since we finished the decking, so I haven’t been able to enjoy it really, but at least it looks better.

    While we were out there, the lady who owns the flat upstairs came out to say hello, so I got to meet her and have a chat. I’ll refer to her as Upstairs Lady from now on. The family of elephant children have FINALLY fucked off, so we no longer have the noise of them pounding their fat little feet up and down over our heads all day, which has been great. Upstairs Lady is very nice, as is her partner guy. She’s a bit of a hippy, like I thought, and the flat is her second home that she rents out when she’s not using it. We seemed to get on quite well, and she says we’re welcome to sit up in her garden (at the top of those steps in the pictures) when she’s not there, as it gets much more sun up there than on our deck. I’m hoping that if she likes us, she might be more inclined to do right by us and ensure she doesn’t rent the flat out to any idiots. She’s fairly protective of it – you have to pay her a £300 security deposit when you rent it, even if you’re only staying a few nights – so hopefully it’ll be only nice people she lets stay there. It has certainly been a lot quieter having the two of them up there, so if it’s mainly adults I think it might not be too bad. The noise of them walking is fairly minimal and is ignorable, and although you can hear their television in our bedroom it so far hasn’t disturbed me too much. I really hope it turns out OK, as it has been the single biggest negative point about living here so far, and I suppose it was naive of me not to anticipate it when living in a basement flat.

    As well as all those housey things, today we had two gas engineers come round to service our boiler and gas fire. First of all, they were both about 20 and were FIT. Well one of them was anyway, the other was only after-four-or-five-vodkas doable. But that hardly ever happens! Tradesman are always 50 and paunchy. So I’ll definitely be using that company again anyway. In fact I might go and jam something into our boiler right now so I can call them out again.

    The previous owners, surprise surprise, had lived here for two years but had never had the boiler or fire serviced, had no idea when they were last serviced and had pretty much no maintenance history for either of them. This was a bit of an annoyance for me when we bought the flat, as it gave me the impression they hadn’t taken very good care of it. And lo and behold I turned out to be completely right! The gas guys came round, the fit one got on his hands and knees by the fire and showed off his pert behind for a few minutes, and then stood up and said “Yeah, this fire is unsafe and poses a risk to life. As a gas safe engineer, I’m legally obliged to disconnect it, as I can’t leave a dangerous appliance without disabling it.” So, er, thanks for that you stupid cunts!

    He said that basically the fire is too big not to have a proper air vent next to it, and should never have been installed. If you used it for a longish period of time it would eventually deplete the oxygen in the room and pollute the air with its waste gases, and presumably suffocate you to death if you’d fallen asleep or something. So what kind of twat installed that there then?? And why didn’t the owners ever check it? So GAH that was annoying. I now have a large, ugly, manky old fire in my hearth that I can’t use even if I wanted to. I’d rather it be disconnected and safe though – that was the whole point of us having everything serviced, as I didn’t want to get killed by faulty appliances.

    The boiler turned out to be fine, and the central heating all seems to work OK, which was my other main concern as we haven’t needed to switch the heating on yet. As part of their checks though, they went out to inspect the gas meter in the under-pavement storage vault outside. And guess what again??

    “Your meter’s got a gas leak from the nipple on the top.”

    “Say nipple a few more times for me, it’s turning me on.” (I only said this in my head, I’m not a pervert. I’m only an in-the-head pervert)

    “I have to report it to Transco, and they’ll come within two hours as it’s classed as a leak emergency to replace your meter. In the meantime I’m obliged to turn your gas off.”

    So fucking thanks again, owner twats! They said it was only a minor leak, but still, there were FLAMMABLE GASES leaking away outside my bedroom window.

    The Transco guys came within about half an hour, and initially said our address didn’t exist on their database so they weren’t allowed to change the meter and we weren’t allowed to have any gas. This was rather stressful, as obviously we DO have an address and there obviously IS gas going into it, but the guy was very nice and did some to-ing and fro-ing on his mobile to his office until finally they decided we either existed or it didn’t matter and they changed the meter.

    So hurrah! I now shouldn’t be living in a gassy deathtrap. No thanks to the previous owners though, who were apparently lazy wankers.

    That should, finally, be most of the major jobs done that we needed to do in the flat. We’ve got guests coming for the bank holiday weekend, so I hope they’re suitably impressed, and I hope that everything just stays fixed and working for a bit. I’m not sure I have the stamina to be sorting out anything else for a while!

  2. M-Day in 168 hours

    July 7, 2011 by superlative

    We are moving in exactly one week’s time.

    I have decided to refer to it as M-Day, as it’s a nice geeky reference for any comic book fans reading this.

    It really doesn’t seem all that far away suddenly, and I’m finding it quite odd that in a week I won’t be living in the flat that has been our home for eight years. It’s a good thing, I keep reminding myself, and you can’t live in the same place forever. But at the same time I’m sure I’ll miss it, and I’ll miss things about it. I’ll miss the way the sun shines in during the afternoon and Chris sunbathing on the carpet. I’ll miss how close it is to town and the station. I’ll miss that we can pop out for a drink on the spur of the moment if we want – although we never do, so really I’ll just miss having the option. I’ll miss being the most central of our friends, so everyone always comes to us before we go out. There are lots of things I’ll miss.

    There are very many good things about the place we are moving to though, and I need to remember that. It is even closer to the sea than we are already. It has a patio. It’s bigger, and the living room is enormous. We can have a proper guest bedroom, albeit a little tiny one. And most importantly, it will be ours. We won’t be dependent on our landlord to fix anything, or prey to him deciding rents in the area have gone up so he should put ours up too, or worried that he’ll be annoyed by the massive mayonnaise stain in the middle of the carpet. It’ll be our own little home, with its own front door, and I think it may even feel more like a little house than a flat. It will be a good thing, but I’m still a bit scared.

    I’ve done a fair bit of the admin work involved in the move. The utilities are all sorted (although I’m certain Plusnet are going to fuck up the broadband for a while). I’ve done quite a few of the address changes, and the ones that are left aren’t especially urgent and most can just be done online. I’ve also got 20 boxes for free from a bookshop, which I was quite pleased about considering in some cases you have to actually buy new ones if you can’t find a kindly retailer to nick them from.

    We have also ordered a nice new bed with a posh Memoryfoam mattress, and we have picked out the sofa, coffee table, dining table and cabinets that we want. Everything is hideously expensive, so my credit card will be taking a pounding, but having all new things should be nice. We’ll probably order some of the items we’ve picked tonight, and then they can arrive in the first few days after the move. It’ll mean me waiting in all day for deliveries, which I hate, but once everything is in it will start to look really nice in there.

    This weekend is packing weekend. I can’t decide if it’s going to take three hours or three days to pack everything. We don’t have that much stuff, and it seems like it should be fairly easy when you know that everything has to be packed. We don’t have to pick and choose like when you’re packing for a holiday; it’ll be more like when you pack to come home from a holiday, and you know that everything has to go in the case. Much faster. I’ll feel a bit better once I’ve done some of it though.

    It’s probably a bit less than 168 hours away actually, as we’ll start moving about 8 or 9am hopefully. So that makes it 164 hours. Eek eek eek. But also exciting eek.

  3. Contracts you say? Let me exchange those for you.

    June 24, 2011 by superlative

    We’re moooooooooooooooooooooooooving! We exchanged contracts yesterday afternoon and now we are absolutely definitely moving and it can’t fall through. Or rather it can fall through but it would cost so much money in penalties that it’s not very likely.

    So hooray! Now I can actually allow myself to think about the new place without having to add on little caveats in my head all the time like “as long as it doesn’t fall through”, “if all goes well”, “assuming we do buy it” etc etc.

    And mostly I am thinking fuuuuuuuuuuuuck I hope it’s all alright! I hope the flat is still nice when we see it again, and I hope there aren’t any huge problems with it that we and the surveyor somehow missed, and I really really hope it’s not a noisy place to live. They’ve said quite categorically “we never hear the neighbours”, but I know you can’t really trust a seller to tell you the whole story. If we get there and it’s really noisy I’m going to be devastated though…

    But anyway, I always assume the worst case scenario will be true, and I need to stop it. As everyone keeps saying to me, I’m sure it will be FINE. And it’ll be our own place, and there will be no landlord, and we can make it nice, and we’ll be proper grown ups.

    We’re completing on 13 July, and we’re going to move our stuff on the 14th. So in less than three weeks we should be living there. It feels weird to think that we’ll be living somewhere else; we’ve been in our rented flat for almost eight years, ever since we moved out of our final student house in 2003. In lots of ways I don’t like the flat any more – it’s quite noisy, it’s not very big, and it needs redecorating – but it has also been my home for a very long time. The only place I have lived in for longer is my childhood home where we stayed until I was 13. Even the house my parents live in now I was only at for five years.

    We never intended to stay put for eight years like this; it just happened, due to convenience and house prices and things. So this will be the start of a whole new chapter for us. I hope it’s a good one.

    We’ll be buying lots of new furniture, because again we’ve had half our stuff for eight years or more, the other half belongs to our landlord, and the stuff we bought was really rather cheap. Can you believe we got our sofabed from Ikea for £35? We’re thrifty, we are.

    That should be quite nice though, because everything will be new, and I’m hoping it will make the flat look all swish. I want people to walk in and say “Wow it’s lovely, I wish my place was this nice”. That’s what I want, the jealousy of my friends. It’s all I live for.

    I’m freaking out a bit about the amount of work to do before and during the move, sorting out all our changes of addresses and utilities and whatnot, but I expect we’ll get there in the end. Other people manage it, and lots of people are quite thick, so it can’t be that hard.

    It’s exciting anyway, and it’s nice to know it’s definitely happening. People have been asking if we’re having a house warming party, and my answer is no. NO ONE TOUCHES ANYTHING IN THE NEW FLAT. That will be the rule. I want to keep it nice, after all.

  4. Chuck out your chintz

    June 2, 2011 by superlative

    That’s what they used to say on the Ikea advert wasn’t it? And there was a little song too. Well that’s what we’ve been doing over the last few days anyway, although to me chintz means lacey things with floral patterns and pictures of Westies on them, so I didn’t have any of that to start with. We’ve been chucking out other things.

    Since Saturday we have thrown or given away TWENTY ONE bin bags of stuff from our flat. Twenty one! And we only live in a small flat too. We honestly had so much crap, and given that we’re supposed to be (hopefully) moving at some point we thought there was just no way any sane person could pack up and move so much old rubbish.

    It was so cathartic, and it has made the flat feel a lot less cluttered. Part of our reason for needing to move was that we’ve run out of space, but actually it transpires that all we needed was a really ruthless clear out. But never mind that, we do still want to move, and without a motivator like “You’re going to have to carry boxes and boxes of this shit down the stairs soon” it would have been impossible ever to throw any of it away.

    Interesting things that I found we had been keeping were:

    • empty boxes and their polystyrene insides, because they ‘might be useful for packing up and moving [insert equipment that broke ages ago] at some point’.
    • electrical equipment that broke ages ago and has since resided in the loft, not even in its designated box but next to it.
    • a wardrobe we dismantled and have no hope of reassembling.
    • 40,000 carrier bags.
    • Two Thompson Locals dating from 2004, including the one where they did away with the actual cat on the front and replaced it with a terrifying woman in a blue catsuit.
    • Lots of books, which have gone to a charity shop. This one is only interesting because after boxing up all the books to go to the charity shop, I idly opened one book and found an old appointment card for a sexual health clinic and a leaflet on sexually transmitted infections. That would have been a nice surprise for whichever old lady ends up buying A Concise History Of France.

    Our loft now only contains items that we actually use from time to time, and we’ve got about five empty drawers and cupboards around the house. Suddenly moving seems a lot more manageable, because you could throw most of what is left into boxes in a few hours, and you wouldn’t have to wonder what any of it is or why it still exists.

    Regarding the actual move, things are progressing bit by bit. We’ve done pretty much everything we can do, and we’re just waiting on a planning query with the council and some other bits and bobs from the sellers. The estate agent decided to ring me up and be mean to me last week, because our conveyancer has taken a clause out of the contract and the sellers didn’t like it. So rather deliberately the estate agent chose to have a go at me about it, knowing I’m a much weaker negotiating target than a legal professional would be. It didn’t work though, because I set our conveyancer on him straight afterwards who told him off, and the sellers’ solicitor has since caved under the pressure of our far superior conveyancer and the clause has remained taken out. So in your face, Danny The Wanky Estate Agent. I’ve learnt that having a good conveyancer makes SO much difference when you’re buying a property.

    We’ll get there in the end, I hope. I just want to exchange now, because the prospect of it falling through after you’ve put this much time and effort into it is just too much to bear. Once we’ve exchanged contracts I can relax, so fingers crossed it happens soon.

    And then we can start filling up our new flat with loads of old crap.

  5. Buying a house takes 46 million hours of admin

    May 10, 2011 by superlative

    I’m finding buying a flat rather stressy, and I honestly don’t know how people who don’t work in office jobs where they can take phone calls and do emails manage it. It must take absolutely FOREVER if you have to try and do all the things involved with it during your lunch break and in the evenings. I’ll admit that I think we’ve progressed quite far quite fast in the last couple of weeks, not least because I’m lucky enough to have a friend doing the conveyancing who seems to be burning through everything in a manner I’m sure most lawyers wouldn’t. But our progress is also in part due to the amount of time I’ve spent on it, and I’m finding the whole thing quite draining and frustrating.

    Since I last blogged about this nearly two weeks ago, we have had the survey done, finished all the mortgage application stuff and got final approval for the loan, and done draft contracts and deeds and stuff on the legal side. I’m just waiting for the contracts to come in the post. I think all we’ve really got left to do is get the results of all the searches back and check there are no problems with those, resolve any questions and issues that we have over the contracts, and then we’ll probably be ready to exchange once the other party is. I think the searches will take a while though, and in fact I’m grateful for that because I could do with a breather and some time to absorb all that’s happening. The pace of it has not helped with my stress levels at all, and nor has my mobile ringing two or three times a day with stupid mortgage people or surveyors on the other end of it.

    In some ways I think I’m a bit resentful that I have to do all of this while Chris doesn’t really have to do any and can just read and sign the stuff I give him, and listen to my digest of the day’s progress each evening. It’s not his fault, he can’t actually do any of it, because he works pretty much uninterrupted from the time he arrives at school to the time he leaves, and he can’t take phone calls and things there. So it has to be me really, and I do understand that, but I wouldn’t mind being able to share the stress and the faff out a bit more.

    I’m a bit annoyed with the sellers too, because I don’t actually think they’ve looked after some of the built in stuff like the gas appliances very well (not had them serviced, etc.) and it just adds an extra thing to think about. My Mum would say “well you should tell them to get them serviced before you’ll proceed with the sale”, but I find that quite difficult to do. Would we actually withdraw from the sale if they said they didn’t want to do it? No, probably not. And I’m sure they know that too, so why would they want to pay to have it serviced when they’re leaving? And servicing the boiler and the gas fire would probably only cost about £120, so it seems like a bit of a small amount of money in the great scheme of things to be worried about. We could just service them ourselves when we move in. But then what if there’s something more seriously wrong with the appliances that only comes to light during the service?

    See what I mean? You can go round in circles being unsure what to do, and I’ve never had to do any of this before, so it gets really stressy and I feel very unsure. And I don’t like feeling unsure, so I get snappy with Chris, and it’s all very unhelpful.

    And don’t even get me started on the enormity of actually moving. I can’t even think about that yet. I made a list the other day of at least 45 companies and organisations I’ll have to let know the new address, plus there’s all the packing and hiring a van and all that stuff. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

    Staying in our rented flat just seems to easy sometimes, and if I hadn’t already shelled out more than a thousand pounds on the cost of the move I’d be seriously tempted.

    Oh anyway, this post is boring now. I’d advise you not to read it (too late though, sorry). Maybe once this is all over I’ll be able to think “all that was worth it in the end”. I fucking better.

  6. So much to blog, so little time

    April 28, 2011 by superlative

    So much has happened since I last blogged on the 20th that I really don’t know where to start or how to write about it all. I’ll do my best though, as I’m sure all my thousands of readers are dying to hear.

    Item number 1 – we’re buying a house. Well a flat, but I tend to say house because it’s just easier and because ‘Do you want to come back to my house?’ sounds sweet and childlike, while ‘Do you want to come back to my flat?’ sounds sordid. But anyway, FUCKING HELL, we’re buying a house! We saw it on Tuesday last week, then saw it again on Wednesday night, and I put in an offer on Thursday morning. It was turned down, so I increased it by a little bit, and hey presto they said yes!

    I’m really pleased that we’ve actually found somewhere we both like, and that for the first time I feel reasonably comfortable about buying. I was always not quite keen when we made offers on other places, but this time I felt much better. The couple selling it seem very nice, and we got to have a good long chat with them at the second viewing that the estate agent didn’t bother to show up for.

    I really hope it will be alright. People have warned us not to get too over-excited as sales fall through quite often, so I’m doing my best, but so far everything has gone fairly smoothly.

    In a whirlwind of activity since Thursday, and despite two bank holidays getting in the way I have: had an offer accepted; commissioned a conveyancer; started a mortgage application from scratch, got it approved in principle, moved it on to full application, and paid the valuation fee; got quotes for surveys; and done some of the basic paperwork for the estate agent and the conveyancer. Not bad really! And now I’m just waiting to hear back about the next stage from the mortgage lender.

    It’s a bit scary, and the amount of things to do is quite overwhelming, but I’m pleased to have ploughed through the first bit, and I’ve had no major hiccups TOUCH VIRTUAL WOOD. Actually touch virtual wood sounds a bit pervy, don’t touch that.

    So that’s Item 1, and it’s a massive relief because we’re both absolutely sick of house hunting.

    Item number 2 – my Dad’s got a job! And at his first interview since he got made redundant too! He’s been applying and applying for things, stuff from the job centre and things we’ve found online, and generally he’s not heard anything back at all. Mum has frequently said he’s not going to find anything, she really doesn’t think he is, no one is replying, he’s too old, that’s it now until he retires at 65, etc. etc. And then a little while ago I found him an online advert for home delivery drivers at Sainsburys, he applied, and he got an interview!

    He was quite nervous I think, especially as he’s not had an interview for years, and I tried to encourage them not to get their hopes up too much just because he’d got an interview. But anyway, he went along, he completed a Highway Code assessment ON A COMPUTER (thank fuck he did that basic computer skills course recently – he didn’t have a clue before), had his interview, and they offered it to him straight away! Subject to references and all that stuff, but still.

    I’m SO pleased for him, and proud of him, and I know he’ll be really good at this job. And it’s Sainsburys, so hopefully they wouldn’t lay him off before he gets to 65 in a couple of years’ time.

    Item number 3 – I’m 30 on Saturday! Eeek! My birthday celebrations start tomorrow with a dinner out with friends and my brother, and then on Saturday we’re going to Go Ape for a foresty zip-liney terrified-of-heights-why-did-I-book-this adventure. I’m really hoping it won’t rain, because that will be crap and annoying, but fingers crossed the gods will smile upon my special day and it will all be alright. And I won’t get stuck up a tree in hysteria and need to be rescued via ladder.

    So yes, lots of things going on as you can see. And now it’s two MORE bank holidays this weekend, before everything finally gets back to normal.

    Right, I better dash because I’ve still got SO much to do.

    Further updates after the weekend, unless I’m still up a tree.

  7. Getting fed up with looking for flats now

    February 8, 2011 by superlative

    We’ve seen a few more flats since I posted about it last, and all it really does is depress us and make us snappy with each other. Considering the whole point is for us to buy our first home together (well, not first home, but first one we’ve owned) and it should be all couply and lovely, I’d say that makes it a complete failure so far.

    The one on Brunswick Square that I mentioned wasn’t very nice. It had damp patches on the walls and cracks in other walls, and the bathroom looked horrible. I know you cold do it up and make it look nicer, but it was just so shabby that it put me off. And that seems to happen a lot, because loads of places have previously been rented out and apparently no tenants in Brighton actually take care of their home. Half of them look like squats.

    And then we saw one yesterday which was lovely, absolutely lovely. The decor is immaculate, it’s a penthouse apartment with a beautiful roof terrace, and you get an allocated parking space under the building. So it sounds great and we fell in love with the pictures over the weekend and Chris started shopping for hot tubs for his new roof terrace.

    But then we saw it last night, and it’s too small. It’s just too small, there are no two ways about it. The people who live there at the moment apparently own NOTHING, or at the very least have shoved most of it into storage to help sell the flat, and while the flat is indeed beautiful there just isn’t room to put anything. The only storage is the shed on the terrace, and unless that’s some sort of Tardis I don’t think it can compensate for the rest of it. The bedrooms were OK in size I suppose, but the living room is open plan with the kitchen and there really isn’t room to put a dining table anywhere. They’ve got a clever coffee table in there at the moment that converts into a dining table, and so we had a look at furniture like that online when we got home, but then I thought: if I’m looking for space-saving furniture before we even move into a new place, surely there’s something wrong and it’s just too small?

    And so I think it’s not right for us. The communal areas were fine, probably better than a lot of places, but I really don’t like communal areas at the best of times, and that put me off as well.

    I know Chris is disappointed, and we were both quite sad about it last night after our initial excitement. We haven’t said no we won’t go for it yet, but I’ve intimated that that’s the way I’m leaning at the moment to him, and I think deep down he knows it’s too small. It would mean spending our entire budget, and yes there is the terrace and the parking to be factored into the asking price, but I really don’t think we can justify spending everything we have on a flat that’s too small from day one. Not if we’re going to live there for 10 years, which is my present intention.

    So we’re fed up, AGAIN, and Chris thinks we’ll never find anywhere that’s perfect and that we (I in particular) will always find something not to like about every place we see. And I don’t know, I hope that’s not true, but so far I’m yet to find any evidence to the contrary.

    We’ve got another viewing tomorrow, and on paper I actually like it more and more each time I look at it. Plus it’s about twice the size of yesterday’s place. It has no outdoor space, but it has two lofts, and it’s close to the sea.

    So there. Yet again we haven’t found anywhere, yet again we really want to move, and yet again it’s put a strain on our relationship for no noticeable benefit.

    On to viewing number 20 million tomorrow I suppose.

  8. Flats flats flats

    January 18, 2011 by superlative

    Our flat hunting hasn’t been going as well as I had hoped this month. I’d been expecting a flurry of activity after Christmas when all the people who were waiting until the new year suddenly put their houses on the market, but so far that hasn’t materialised.

    I am also getting slightly more desperate to find somewhere and move though, mostly because I’m fed up with our neighbours. I’m fed up with neighbours full stop actually, largely because I don’t like most other people and so I certainly don’t want them within three feet of me at any time of the day or night with only a flimsy bit of wall to separate us.

    On one side of us we have some weird old South African man who keeps very odd hours and likes to clatter around in the middle of the night and switch his bathroom light on and off about fifty times (yes I can hear that through the wall, and it’s annoying). I’ve never seen him, but I know he’s South African because he also enjoys having very long, very loud phone calls (possibly with some relative in South Africa) where he tells them over and over again “Bit yew darn’t wint a cridit cord, yew wint a dibit cord. With a cridit cord yewa spinding the bink’s miney, nit yew ewn miney, sew a dibit cord is mitch bitter.”

    Seriously, he did this for about 40 minutes and I could hear him over my television. If I’d been the person on the other end I’d have taken an overdose just to end the nightmare that is a phone conversation with him.

    And on the other side of us we have two girls who are admittedly better than the drug dealer we had in there before. But the one of them that is a ‘mature’ student (she’s like 22, not my idea of mature any more) has been getting progressively louder this month. She obviously has no lectures at all because she has people over most nights, makes lots of noise in the flat while they squawk loudly at each other until they go out about midnight, and then she comes home about 4am and goes in and out of the flat at least three times slamming all the communal doors each time. And we’ve even said something (well Chris has) about it to them, that it had been too noisy and they had disturbed us, but ALL the tenants who get put into that flat are completely oblivious of the world around them and they just say “oh sorry” and then continue doing it.

    And it’s really annoying! I had four hours’ sleep last night and look like a mongoloid today, and now I just want to move.

    But I can’t find anywhere even to look at, so it’s a bit depressing. The estate agent we’ve been dealing with pissed me off this morning too by completely denying he’d said something to me on Friday, even when I repeated it back to him word for word as he’d phrased it, and insisting I must have misunderstood. So now he’s probably going to put us at the bottom of the pile because I dared contradict him, and because apparently you’re the one who is supposed to go grovelling to estate agents begging to be allowed to buy a property, rather than them making the slightest bit of effort to sell you one.

    Hmpf. Well, anyway. Stupid flats. We’re expanding our search a little bit to include some other areas of town, as looking just in Kemp Town is proving really difficult and limits you to about 30 streets where you might be able to buy something. I’ve seen a couple of nice things but there’s always something wrong with them, so we haven’t even viewed anything since about November. I might just book a couple anyway, in case they’re nicer in real life or they give us some more ideas about what we’re looking for.

    Wish I were rich.

  9. Blue sheets in the morning

    November 12, 2010 by superlative

    I haven’t been blogging much lately partly because I’ve had a cold for three weeks that simply will not fuck off, and partly because I’m just a rubbish blogger. I’ve actually been doing a fair few things though, so I shall try to catch up on them now.

    Flat hunting
    We are still looking officially, but it has slowed way way down in the last week. After the flat I talked about before that we made an offer for, we upped our offer a bit but he still wanted more money and so we had to walk away. He actually seems to be a completely unrealistic seller, and he has since raised the asking price again have previously dropped it by £20K, so I really don’t know what he thinks he’s doing. It won’t sell at that price, he’s just wasting everyone’s time.

    We found a second flat in a posh listed building further into Kemptown, and again we put in a couple of offers, but they wanted more than we could afford to pay and we didn’t get it. And other than that there has been virtually nothing coming onto the market that we’re interested in. It’s not the best time of year to be looking at all, so I think we’re going to end up waiting until after Christmas when lots more stuff will come up for sale and we’ll have a bit more choice. And actually our flat isn’t too bad at the moment – it’s freezing cold in the winter due to the lack of double glazing and central heating, but the current neighbours are quite good and living there hasn’t been too annoying.

    We had another little dressing up outing for Halloween, which was quite successful. I was Frankenstein’s Monster, Chris was Mumm-Ra The Ever Living, and our friend Sarah was a demonic china dolly:

    The house party we went to was quite good, but from what I gather we left at the right time because it all turned a bit ugly towards the end of the night. 30 people the hosts didn’t really know turned up, then basically refused to leave, did loads of coke in the bathroom, and one of the hosts nearly got involved in a punch up with one of them. The neighbours started complaining about the noise, and it was all rather stressful and annoying for them.

    We did try to go clubbing after the party, but failed miserably due to the amount of gin we’d already drunk. We staggered from the party to Legends, got as far as ordering and  paying for some drinks at the bar, and then Chris pretty much passed out on his feet. The barmaid, handing me my change, noticed and said “Erm, he needs to go home right now”, so we had to abandon our untouched drinks on the bar and escort him from the building.

    He managed to do that thing drunks do where they suddenly perk up and move at high speed (I think he thought he might be sick), and to my horror he charged into the revolving door unaccompanied. I was afraid he’d get his cape caught, or simply pass out inside it, but after looking slightly confused for a moment he emerged from the other side successfully and the three of us tottered home.

    Chris didn’t last beyond getting home, obviously, and promptly passed out on the bed still in full blue body paint. In the meantime Sarah had passed out on the sofa, so all I could do really was put a blanket over her, wash off my green face, and pass out myself. Needless to say our sheets were rather blue in the morning with a distinctly Mumm-Ra-like shape all over one half of them. Chris woke optimistically hoping that we might have bathed him before putting him to bed, and was disappointed that we hadn’t.

    We had fun anyway, and I think I’ve got the various body and face paints out of most of my furnishings now.

    And that’s been my last couple of weeks really. Oo yes, my other exciting thing is I’ve bought myself a Kindle, which arrived yesterday. It was meant to be something I got for Christmas, but I couldn’t be bothered to wait so I’ve just treated myself to it. I really like it so far – it’s ever so thin, and reading on it is really easy. There are LOADS of free classics you can get for it, so I’m not actually planning on paying for any books on it for a while yet, and it will let me read lots of things I’ve always wanted to read but without hard copies of them cluttering up my house.

    It was a bit extravagant just to buy it for myself, but whatever. As Cheryl would say, Ahm worrth et.

  10. Loads of stuff, crammed into one blog post

    October 13, 2010 by superlative

    I have so many things I could blog about at the moment that I haven’t actually blogged about any of them. Which is a shame, because usually anything I have to say is both interesting and hilarious, and you are therefore being unfairly deprived.

    So I will have to do a very quick run down of the great shifting sands that are my life right now, and I apologise in advance for the brevity.

    Dirty thirty
    Chris turned 30 last weekend. Although he’d already had his main party for it (the pirate party a couple of weeks ago), I tried still to make his birthday a bit special for him, and I think he had a nice weekend overall. It was gloriously sunny, which was pleasant for October, and so we were able to indulge his penchant for lounging around semi-clad on the beach one last time before the winter hits. He was also able to take some nice pictures with the SLR camera he got for his birthday, even though neither of us knows how to use it properly yet. The ones of the fit man playing beach volleyball came out particularly well.

    I did some balloons for him at home (he likes balloons), and we had a few people over for champagne on Saturday night before going out for a bit of dancing at the Brighton Ballroom. Not as many people came to the champagne drinking as I would have liked, but I suppose that’s because practically everyone came to the pirate party and you can’t keep on demanding people celebrate your birthday.

    So yes, he’s 30 now and seemed to cope with it rather well. I have six months to get used to the idea before I hit the big three-o myself. Six months I’m going to cling onto defiantly. ‘Late twenties’ sounds so much better than 30 or ‘early thirties’ and so I’m reluctant to give it up. Maybe I’ll just start saying ‘very very late twenties’ once I pass the milestone.

    Open University
    My course has been going fairly well so far, although it is quite time-consuming. I’ve had my first two assignments back just a week ago; they’re only practice assignments, but they’re meant to give you an idea of whether you’re ready for the course and to give you practice at the assignment format. For the first one, a computer-marked multiple choice one, I got 100%, and for the tutor-marked written one I got 99%, so woo hoo! I guess that means I should be able to manage the course OK.  I’ve really missed the validation you feel when you get a piece of academic work back with ticks all over it and a nice comment at the end. I just hope I do so well when the assignments start actually counting towards my final mark.

    Flat hunting
    We have started flat hunting again, as we suddenly found that with a 15% deposit there are mortgages we can actually afford. And in a shocking display of speed, we saw five properties last Friday, saw the best one again on Monday, and today I’ve put in our first ever offer on a flat with the estate agent. I’m waiting to hear back at the moment.

    I have found the whole process VERY stressful and unsettling, purely because I don’t handle change very well and I’m terrified of committing to the wrong thing. I was alright up until the point where we started thinking about making an offer, and then I had a complete freakout and probably pissed Chris off a bit with my general flappiness. I’ve settled down a bit since then, and I was quite a bit happier once we had a mortgage agreement in principle sort out, as that gave me more confidence as a buyer.

    We’ve gone in a bit under the asking price for the flat we like, and the estate agent indicated afterwards that it will probably be turned down, as the seller has received an offer for that price before. We are in a strong position to buy and move quickly though, so you never know. And the fact he’s been offered that price before made me think actually it may not have been that cheeky an offer; people obviously think it’s worth about that much.

    So anyway, I’ll wait to hear back I guess, and then we’ll see if we want to increase our offer or look elsewhere if the man says no. It’s very exciting, but very scary, and I have to not think about it too hard or I start feeling sick.

    Other bits and bobs
    The X Factor has started its live shows at last (bam bam bam, bam bam b’naa naa), and has picked a right motley crew for the final 16. Well, final 14, because two of them have gone already. I hate loads of them, I’m indifferent about the majority of them, and I only like about two or three acts. Still, it was nice to scream at the screen again for a while on Saturday night, and Twitter always comes alive during X Factor and that adds to the fun. My current favourite is probably Treyc despite the fact she cannot spell Tracy correctly, but I also quite like the fitty twink boyband (because they are fitty twinks), and Rebecca is alright, and even the made-up girl band seemed OK to me. Who knows who we’ll end up with by the series finale. It isn’t the strongest year, but I shall watch for a giggle nonetheless.

    Oh yes, and Smash EDO is conducting one of its idiotic protests in Brighton again today. I’ve written previously about how ridiculous and pointless their protests are, so I’m not sure I can be bothered to get into it again. All I will say is that they’ve dubbed their protest ‘Hammertime’ (hmm, peaceful protest, or MC Hammer tribute?), one person was arrested for carrying a blade in about the first hour, they’ve covered their faces again (always a sign of good intentions), and they’ve probably cost the police hundreds of thousands of pounds.

    I’m sure the protest will be entirely successful at achieving the permanent closure of the EDO factory. I’m going to hold my breath. Ready? Holding it. Still not closed? Still even now not closed? Not even remotely bothered by the protesters you say? And nor is Israel? Or the Palestinians? Oh right. Well fuck that then, I was turning purple anyway.

    Smash EDO supporters often like to leave abusive comments on my blog if I dare to question the motive, method or efficacy of their ‘protest’. I wonder if I’ll get any today? Let’s see shall we….