Thursday, August 30, 2007

Travelling Transpennine

I've been over in Manchester today finalising arrangements and thrashing out personal terms on a move there. The deal is(n't) subject to a medical. From mid-September I'll be sharing an abode in Fallowfield with one of my ex-uni housemates Anna. It is the first deal of its type in British lettings, whereby any of the third year 37 Johnson Road, Lenton, Nottingham crew have renewed living arrangements. Anna's a very good person to live with because she's easy going and we share an interest in lounging. In fact, she's the undisputed Queen of Lounging, and for this reason has often been compared to Celebrity Big Brother star Jackie Stallone. When I start a job there I fully expect to come through the door on an evening and find her propped on the settee in her trademark manner, with the legs bent and the feet tucked away neatly against the cushion while tackling a Sudoku. I'm sure she'll wander over to join me for a game of darts occasionally though. In seriousness, she's moving there to start her course in social work, which is a highly admirable vocation.

There's a cocktail of reasons for making the move: I've had a soft spot for Manchester for quite a few years, in which time I've harboured dreams of living there and perhaps bumping into Coronation Street's Deidre Rachid as she enjoys a cigarette in Piccadilly Gardens. My Mancunian pining was furthered by the fact my decision on a university destination in 2002 came down to a straight choice between Manchester and Nottingham. I picked Nottingham and had a ruddy good time but, as is often the way, my curiosity about Manchester lingered on. In my eyes it's a good, proper northern city with some delightful architecture, vibrancy, good industrial heritage, and my perfect climate whereby autumn lasts throughout winter and spring, and if lucky, summer. I'm quite keen on getting away from home too. It's been enjoyable and useful spending two years back here but it's become more frustrating recently and it's time for pastures new. I'll miss Teesside, but I'll still be back every few weeks for Boro home games to get my fix. Finally, and perhaps most crucially, I want to be closer to Morrissey (who lives in Rome, but shush).

The flat we signed contracts, laid down deposits, and postdated rent cheques for today is pretty nice. It was a relief to find somewhere decent because we were a bit late on the market, as demonstrated on our day of flathunting early last week when we saw some real dives. The worst of all was owned by an Open University tutor called Doctor Chris, who turned up in loafers and a fluffy white jumper to show us around. It was genuinely the worst flat I've seen in my life. Every door was an inhospitable, heavy swing-effort with metal panels to push them open, like the ones that usually lead to fire exits in shopping centres. Every room connected up in the kind of circular arrangement that would drive anyone insane. All the furniture looked like it had been used as landing gear in a monster truck display in the 1950s. Doctor Chris led us through the tiny, mouldy kitchen which smelt of rotten cabbage, and then to the bathroom, where he apologised for the fact the extractor fan had stopped working - as if that was going to swing our decision. Doctor Chris was taking the piss. We made our excuses and left. At the time we were a bit worried that this was the level of homestead left on the market, but now we can look back and laugh. All's well that ends well.

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