I was standing outside my front door having a cigarette. If I written that sentence back in early July I'd have been at my back door or in my garden having my cigarette. Now I have no back door and my garden consists of some pots planted with flowers and a set of wooden garden furniture sat upon the roof of a pub cellar. Some garden eh? Still at least I don't need to mow it and if Ross can get away with calling his council flat an apartment then screw me if I don't have a roof terrace in my urban home!
Yep, home is not what it was back in Spring. I no longer live in a modern 3 bed semi with views over fields and the sound of sheep for company. Home is now a 3 bed 1800's built flat with views over a packaging company to the rear and a busy man road to the front and the sound of buses, lorries and sirens for company!
I was terrified of this flat when I first clapped eyes on it. It was smelly, damp and just horrible. I think our family and friends who came to look at it back then thought we'd lost the plot! Their voices were saying "Oooh it's huge and there's plenty potential" but their faces...well they were definitely saying "OH MY GOD".
I happily admit that I wasn't sure I could live here. I could see the potential alright and it is huge but I could also smell the damp and see the green stuff growing up the walls! It took 3 weeks of non-stop hard work to get it cleared out and into something remotely resembling a habitable dwelling. In Mid-July we moved in. I cried like a baby when we left our old house. We moved over two days but once I walked out on the Thursday I just couldn't bring myself to go back on the Friday to pick up the last little bits and pieces.
I was dreading that first night in here. I'm the girl who leaves the toilet light or tv on all night when I'm somewhere unfamiliar, the one who refuses to sleep in a bed against a wall and needs to sleep nearest the door. Mitch and I are one couple who don't have "sides" of the bed because I change it to suit where we are! Anyway my fears crept up on me all day and by bedtime I was freaking myself out...I shouldn't have worried. I got into bed (dragging Mitch with me), put the tv on... and woke up to bright sunshine and the noise of the traffic some 8 hours later! I fell asleep straight away and slept right through - a first for me in a strange place!
From that night on this place has been home. The noise, the chaos, the mess, all of it is part of normality now. The flat is still like a tip...there's no real kitchen, we have no cooker, the bathroom suite is in place but the shower isn't and there are holes in the bathroom floor, only Belle and Doodles rooms are wallpapered and finished, there is no carpet in the hall and all the other rooms still need decorated, the doors need replaced as do the windows but I live with it and that is a another first for the girl who wants everything done yesterday and is used to clicking her heels and getting her own way!
So tonight as I stood there having my ciggy and looking around me I wasn't too worried not to hear sheep or see fields. Instead I listened to the screech of the police car shooting down the road, the squeal of the brakes of the bus that had pulled up at the bus stop over the road and gazed at the roof of the warehouse in front of me and then I looked up...the sky was clear and hundreds of stars twinkled away above me and I realised the view I was looking at right now was the same one I'd often stared at in my garden in the countryside. Some things are so different but some things are still exactly the same.