All entries for June 2006

June 28, 2006

Ten Things In Our House

The Cupboard of Doom
Nobody mentioned, when we signed the house lease, that we would have a fifth housemate waiting for us. Or more specifically, waiting for me, on the night I moved in before everyone else. My mother had left me, night had fallen, and it was only then, on my own, in the dark, that I saw there was a curious door under the stairs, and decided that obviously, on my own, in the dark, it was a good idea to investigate said door. So, I pulled it gaily open, only to be confronted by a dismembered doll head splattered with a red substance gleaming evilly in the electric light.

That, readers, was, and continues to be the Barbie Head Of Doom. She sits in the window in the cupboard under the stairs, and we like to think of her as our house guardian for scaring burglars and disconcerting our house guests, kind of like a bull mastiff but pinker and more smiley. And after my first shock, I have come to feel more affectionate towards her, and will actually be sorry to bid her adieu.

My Desk
My desk is beautiful. No really, it is. It's made of real wood and everything, and has beautiful slidey drawers and a lovely solid polished top. And to think it almost wasn't mine.

You see, when we moved in, my room almost had it all. Almost. There was a bed, bookcase, dressing table and wardrobe, but no desk. And even though I tend to do most of my studying, such as it is, in/on bed, I felt I needed a surface on which to stack the books I hadn't read and to write the to do lists of things I would never actually do. So when the landlord came over, I sheepishly asked him if I could have a desk, and moreover, if he could possibly find me a desk that would fit in the niche I'd left for it.

Surprisingly, he smiled and nodded, and said 'Of course. You've made it look really nice in here – it would be a shame to have to mess it up." This was on the night he came round at 9pm with his toolbox and also rehung a door, fixed the toilet lock, and brought a new mattress for my housemate. And at 3pm the next day, he pulled up in his car with my lovely solid wood desk that fitted perfectly in the space. We love Spa Estates. Anyone looking for South Leam houses next year, go to Spa. They are lovely lovely people, and deserve your business.

Our living room ceiling
Our living room isn't really a room, as such. It only really has one wall, which is the exterior wall of our house, and which also includes our kitchen window and the sliding glass door leading to Steve's room. The other three walls are plastic conservatory windows, and as for the roof… well, it's a beautiful construction of corrugated translucent plastic.There's also a small paint–splattered basin, and a mains drainage cover which you can have hours of fun bouncing up and down on. It's surprising how quickly you get used to it, and also how useful the kitchen window is as a service hatch.

Spongebob the toilet
When you flush our downstairs toilet, it sounds like Spongebob Squarepants. That is, if you can get it to flush without sticking your hand inside the tank and tugging at random bits of the mechanism. It is also decorated with some interesting mould patterns on the walls, and is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including the famous biting spider discovered by Layla, and several families of woodlice. It's like Nature Corner. We're probably doing our bit for several endangered insect species, and probably creating a few exciting mutant ones as well.

The inexplicable hole in my ceiling
There has been speculation, there have been theories. There has even been brief and fruitless investigation. All that can be ascertained is that it is there, and it is now forever inexplicable.

Steve's window
Steve has a window that is not so much a window as a sliding door leading to the living room. It's quite useful as an escape route for situations when unexpected guests arrive and we're caught in the living room in pyjamas and no makeup. And in most situations, instead of cowering behind the freezer as happened on one notable occasion, we can slip silently through Steve's room and hightail it up the stairs before anyone is the wiser. Cowering behind the freezer is only useful as a last resort, and if the unexpected guest is a certain boy, it's fairly fruitless, as he will chase after you. You have been warned.

The Stairs of Intellect
Every intelligent discussion we've ever had in this house has been conducted on the stairs. Despite having four nice bedrooms and a well–appointed living room, we will still gather on the stairs. Jess sits at the top, Layla near the bottom, and I favour the turn of the stairs, as I can curl up in a corner and nod sagely. If all discussions about world politics and religion happened on a flight of stairs, I'm sure the world would be a better place for it.

The 'orchard'
Our garden is a carport, a mysterious shed, and two fruit trees. These two trees have gradually been trying to take over the house and have had to be restrained at various points over the year by rakes, brooms, and an elderly washing line. They did, however, also provide edible apples and pears and pretty pink and white blossom, so we don't hold their transgressions against them.

The ladies' bicycles
Should you ever feel like having a famous five moment in this house, fear not. We have the materials for such a jolly jape. Two lovely old ladies' bicycles, with bells that go triiiing and baskets on the handlebars. You can stow your luncheon meat and ginger beer safely away and go trolling out through the streets of South Leam in style. We have been tempted. Very tempted. What larks, eh, what larks.

The assorted nails in the picture rails
We've put them to many uses. I have a fluffy white feathered fairylit halo hanging above my bed. Layla hangs a handbag from one of hers wedged into the wall at a convenient height. And Steve wins the prize for most innovative with a halfsize guitar dangling merrily from one in his room. We know how to make the most of what we've got in this house, that we do.

Goodbye and thank you house. You have done us proud. We'll not be forgetting you.


June 12, 2006

Fake–A–Holiday

So you've finished your exams. Your bank balance is looking alarmingly red, and yet all around you people are swanning off on city breaks and jaunts to Spanish beaches whilst you sit in your room and stare at the horribly familiar hole in the ceiling that is still, even after nine months, inexplicable. You want to be one of those people tugging a little case to the airport, who have a bottle of specialty alcohol and some local colour jewellery now standing on their desks and who have albums on Facebook with their happy shiny post–exam faces obliterating landmarks. Unfortunately, your overdraft forbids this. You haven't even got a generous other half who might, possibly, even in the realms of fantasy, sweep you off on a surprise mini–break. In that sort of situation, a girl could hope. But alas, this is not to be.

But fear not, I have been trialling a solution all this week, and am pleased to announce it a success. It's very simple, when you think about it. All you have to do is bring the holiday to you.

Let me introduce you to Fake-A-HolidayTM

Spot the difference. The girl on the left is on holiday, the girl on the right isn't, but you couldn't tell, could you? Looks like a holiday, smells like a holiday, but essentially isn't a holiday for me, thereby coming with very little of the attendant confusion, expense and general hassle of the usual going–away lark. I spent the first part of this week being at home with my university friends who were 'on holiday', and the second part of this week being at university with my home friends who were also 'on holiday.'

You see, the way it works is this. If I was at home with my home friends, I wouldn't do half the things I did on the Wirral this week with my university friends. Similarly, if I was here in Leamington with my university friends, I wouldn't do half the things I did this weekend with my home friends. It's like living in a whole different place, albeit a confusing one where everyone you've ever known and all the places you've ever known suddenly seem to squish themselves together into one big gaily patterned lump.

So on the Wirral I spent more time on the beach than I would normally, and in Leamington I went to a few more bars and restaurants than I would normally, and everything seemed just a little bit different.

I suppose it did help that the sun had also decided to pretend it was on holiday this week and go a tad tropical, but I reckon the theory would still work even in our lovely normal English weather. Even if it had chucked it down for three days, I still reckon that staring at the inexplicable hole in the ceiling could have been a new and exciting activity if attempted in the right company. Try it. You'll see.

The holiday, not staring at the hole in my ceiling, although you're more than welcome to do that too if you want. It's oddly shaped, is disconcertingly dark in the middle, and is, as mentioned before, completely inexplicable. If demand is high, I may begin charging entrance. Who knows, I might even make enough to actually go on holiday.


June 2006

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