I have made good progress on my mission objectives. Tonight I met up with my future housemate.
My last attempt had been unsuccessful when the landlord’s friend returned from travelling and needed somewhere to stay. I thought that was it and was about to give up after a month of looking. I had asked to view another property but they had enough people viewing.
Then, out of the blue, the 30-something landlord replied saying no-one had made a definite offer, did I still want to have a look. She had moved to Bristol to live with her boyfriend. They had split up and she was wondering whether to move back to Sheffield or stay in Bristol, where she had a good teaching job.
I thought it would do and said yes straight away.
The terraced house was entered through the back. The kitchen was a bit small but was modern and well equipped. The living room was 15 degrees but that was because they’d only just turned the heating on and it came on twice a day.
There wasn’t a desk in the room but there was a kitchen table downstairs. My compact room looked out onto a brick wall and the petrol station but I’d only go in there to sleep anyway. My future housemate has said she wouldn’t mind me getting some bushes in pots to break it up a bit.
“I could picture myself putting on a roast and nipping outside for some fresh rosemary.”
There was plenty of storage space, perfect for my excessive personal baggage. Maybe this is a good opportunity to downsize my clutter as well as my living space. The fluorescent lights of the petrol station shone directly into my room. Not ideal, but the curtains had black-out linings. I tested them and they created the bat’s cave I require.
The lounge was nice enough, with comfy chairs and a photo block of the Paris skyline. The TV wasn’t as big as ours and was a bit low but that wouldn’t matter, I have my laptop.
Although it didn’t have a lawn, it was near a park and it had a herb garden outside planted by the landlord’s mother. She sighed as she explained that her daughter had never been green-fingered and although she had tried to encourage her to plant some flowers, she was more interested in the house. There was a little patio behind the herb garden where I could see myself sunbathing with a cider.
I could picture myself putting on a roast and nipping outside for some fresh rosemary. The neighbours on one side were boys in their twenties or early thirties. I could see a nice modern kitchen and they had a lovely little back yard with a square of gravel, a wood burner and some garden furniture. They also had a shed that used to be an outdoor toilet. On the other side was a recently redecorated house for sale.
The landlord’s mother explained that the area wasn’t safe and that opportunists scouted the area on a regular basis. She had been a bit worried when her daughter bought the house. So they had fitted the safest door they could find she said, gesturing to the solid, chunky front door. She asked that I kept it locked even when inside. Where I live we have had one attempted break in almost 30 years and the neighbours had a break in at Christmas, but that was their first. The intruder got as far as the back entrance, breaking through a small back door and setting off the alarm. He tripped over a bucket and fell against their washing machine before running off. The eagle-eyed neighbours saw the delinquent running away and the police were round quickly with a forensics team to check for prints. The neighbour at the end got broken into about five times though, once they even prised open a window and got in through that.
Mum also said there was a “drugs house” near where I was living and said that they would try and break in for drug money. Apparently there hasn’t been a problem since the house was bought though.
The housemate was a 28 year old girl with shoulder-length dark brown hair and sparkly blue eyes who worked at a local hospital organising operations. She was friendly and a good listener. She treated me to a cocktail and we had a good chat. We had lots in common – we both came from medical backgrounds – many of her three siblings were doctors, and we liked the same music and TV programme. Neither of us could cook much but we wanted to try. She had managed to expand her repertoire beyond my pasta and sauce.
I will have to give up my glamorous lifestyle in this large airy, light house and adapt. The rent is a third of my salary but it’s a small price to pay for independence.