Farewell to Mews

Monday 26th Apr 2010

It’s finally happened. I’ve moved. I’ve lived in this flat for eight and a half years, nearly a quarter of my life, and only a couple of months short of my all-time record — the nine years in the house I grew up in. It feels strange to know I’ve no longer got the keys to the place, that it’s no longer my home. The thing that I wonder about is, will I miss it?

My immediate reaction is ‘No! I’m glad to be out of there!’ but I had many happy times there and there are so many memories attached to it, so yes, there will be some things I miss. But what?

I used to live here.

Certainly not the light. That flat was really fucking dingy — magnolia paint, small windows and dark beige carpets all over. It even had carpet in the bathroom. Yes. In the bathroom. What kind of utterly insane idea is that? No shower either. Just a crappy too-small-for-anything bath. The landlord’s idea of getting yourself clean was clearly sitting in a glorified trough of water tainted with your own dirt in a dingy windowless room with a carpet to absorb any splashes and provide ideal festering territory for any fucking bacterial or fungal infestation you care to imagine. Yeah, sounds great doesn’t it? Really fucking homely. Get me World of Interiors on the line, they’ll want this for their fucking cover article. Did I mention that there were no windows? Yes, it had this extractor fan in the ceiling that would come on with the light, never really actually doing anything other than providing a check in a box on some regulatory form and making a fuck of a lot of noise. Turns out it vented into the loft anyway, so it’s probably a good job it didn’t work properly. It was shit. I won’t miss the bathroom.

And let’s not forget the kitchen. Cupboards so shallow that the doors wouldn’t shut if you dared to put anything as enormously huge as a dinner plate in them. A dinner plate! Fancy that, people wanting to eat off plates designed to be eaten off! Even then, the cupboards on the wall were put in so that you couldn’t actually open the window properly. In a kitchen. You can’t open your kitchen window. Woo-fucking-hoo. Oh and of course despite the kitchen being microscopic the landlord had decided to install a full size massive stainless steel behemoth of a kitchen sink, right in the middle of what would have been a useful counter. No thoughts of, “Oh, if I put this sink in the corner, there’d be room for a dishwasher, or a freezer, or anything”. No, instead they’d made sure the only space left for a washing machine was right next to every single fucking copper pipe that came out of the boiler. Yes, in our flat the spin cycle was a fucking symphony, with the roar of the damn thing blasting out of every radiator in the damn flat. Really good planning that. I won’t miss the kitchen.

Is there anything I do actually miss? It’s hard to tell. I don’t think I could miss anything if I was to compare it to the new flat, but there are a few things I did quite like at the old place — the view was often interesting, I could hear the sea some nights, and the place did look rather fancy from the outside. But the new place has so many things to recommend it — it’s bigger, lighter, airier, easier to clean (wooden floors!), it has a proper shower, it has a balcony, it’s right in the centre of town and is really, really near the pub I was already thinking of as my local. Now it really is my local. I hear the landlord has added an extra crate of my favourite beer to his order. Bliss.

And in case I ever want to see the old place again, I have thousands of photos featuring it in various ways. Thousands. And just before we moved, I took some more and made a panorama.

This was the view from my desk.

It is quite an interesting view. It was always nice when the starlings came over, they’d cover the rooves opposite and fill the air with their noise, then fwoosh they’d be gone. I never did get around to filming them.

Maybe that’s what I’ll miss.