So, the wedding over and my newly-wed chums off to Thailand for three weeks, I settled into their house, fed the cat, succumbed to satellite TV (I'm not proud - I only have the five UK terrestrial channels at home which I barely watch but, dagnabbit, there are lots of episodes of Malcolm In The Middle, Futurama, South Park, Family Guy and The Simpsons that I've never seen; I had to make the most of the opportunity), and, most importantly, looking for somewhere to live.
You know, it's almost enough to make me believe in fate the way things worked out: a six-month job assignment coming to an end, the house in Oxford in which I've been lodging for four years being put up for sale and my friend's house in Glasgow being available for me to stay rent-free for three weeks, all those events occurring at around the same time, circumstances dovetailing oh so conveniently to facilitate my escape to the land of porridge, haggis and loch-dwelling monsters. I don't believe in destiny or suchlike woolly concepts but all these circumstances don't 'alf coalesce into one fat gob of coincidence.
But to drag this post screamin' and cryin' back to the point, I spent three weeks on buses, trains and feet scouring the city for a place to call my own. Due to my budget, all the places I looked at were modest 1-bedroomed flats in old tenement buildings. Fine by me - that was exactly the kind of place I was looking for. I must confess to nurturing a clichéd romantic vision of the lowly writer tucked away in one of the less affluent areas of the big city, eking out a modest living by day and working on his literary masterpieces by night in his humble abode. But, you know, with all white goods provided and high-speed Internet access. I'm such a fake.
Most of the flats I looked at were more or less suitable but what often put me off were the living conditions of the incumbent tenants. It doesn't matter how good a property is if, when you go to view it, you are presented with piles of pizza boxes, bottles, dirty dishes and some guy plodding out of the bedroom in his boxer shorts scratching his balls. Likewise, discovering that the soon-to-be evicted tenant keeps a cat in the flat that's shut inside all day and therefore performs its ablutions anywhere it sees fit does not create a favourable impression no matter how well appointed the place may be. How many times did I hear an exasperated landlord or letting agent say, "Err, we will, of course, get the cleaners in to give the place a thorough going over... um..."
Just as my three weeks of free accommodation were up, I found this place. It had everything I wanted with just a couple of caveats: electric rather than gas cooker, some slightly disconcerting dips in the floorboards in the bathroom, plumbing to the shower that is, as my dad observed, "a little Heath Robinson", a noisy extractor fan in the kitchen*... Nothing major but enough for me to want to go away and have a think about it. I told the landlord that I was definitely interested and would get back to him the next day. As I was leaving I had to make way for a young woman who was also there to view the flat.
I thought it over, decided that the benefits of the flat far outweighed the quibbles I had and so decided to call the landlord and tell him that I wanted to take it. "Ah, I'm so sorry but the girl who came to look round right after you accepted the place on the spot. But, look, I've arranged to meet her tomorrow to sign the agreement and pay the deposit. If for any reason she changes her mind then I'll call you straight away, OK?"
Disappointed, I said OK but resigned myself to the fact that I had lost the place. Oh well, I still had a couple of days left and a few viewings booked. I'd just have to keep looking.
Whaddya' know, the next day the landlord phoned me: "She can't get the deposit together after all so if you are still interested...?"
Yes, yes, yes, fuck yes, I have the money in the bank and I can give you the deposit right now. (Obviously, I played it a little cooler than that.) Yet another dollop of good fortune spooned onto the gob of coincidence that has brought me here.
When I met the landlord later to do the business, he told me that after we had spoken on the phone the girl had called him to say that she had got the money together after all. Ha! Tough shit, lady, the place is mine.
All I had to do then was find a job, which I did just as the last of my funds were trotting merrily out the bank: another happy coincidence.
I'm actually a little freaked out by how everything has slotted so conveniently into place. This isn't how it usually works. What's going on? Well, best not to get too paranoid about it - just enjoy it, Stevie boy.
And rest assured, dear reader, I am.
By the way, this post was going to be about fake tans. Kinda' went awry there, didn't I.
* The landlord replaced said noisy fan before I moved in which was jolly decent of him. He also replaced the broken toilet seat. Oh yeah, I've gotta' show you the toilet seat - it's a work of art. I'll post a picture later.
Labels: Glasgow, life