Archive | June 2014

# 34 (2014) Back We Go

On Tuesday I packed up the stuff I had moved into my new house share just the week before and carted it 20 miles south back to my previous house. Now, most of my belongings are flat packed and stuffed into bin liners in a garden shed as I work out where I am supposed to go next.  This was one of the worst moving mistakes I have ever made and I’m glad I got out before I had properly moved in. I didn’t even spend a night there.

It does amaze me what some landlords (live in and out) consider acceptable living conditions for new tenants. From houses stacked high with useless clutter (we call them hoarders) to damp, unsanitary bathrooms and gardens that look like a council tip, I have seen a share of it all. And I’ve only viewed four properties.

As a compromise, to find somewhere of a decent standard, I am probably going to have to stop working from home and probably have to rehome my hens too.  It’s a sad realisation.

Having lived in my fair share of managed houses, I refuse to compromise on basics anymore. If I’m going to be paying you (ie you have decided that being a landlord was an easy way to make a living) remember that it does mean you have to look after the property and its inhabitants.

Whether landlords are live in or out, both come with problems. Just because they are one of the tenants looking to rent their spare room it does not mean they necessarily live in pleasant surroundings. And I have been truly shocked by some of the disgusting places people have called home.

I am no clean freak,, but seriously…..

The worst ones are usually old 19th century houses which haven’t been properly rennovated and are riddled with damp. My best living experiences have been in houses less than 50 years old. At viewings I don’t get excited anymore, I just get nervous.

Lincoln is full of houseshares run by landlords as a business. And it shows. It is possible to get tenants who care for the properites they live in and cutting corners just attracts bad tenants.

The first test I use on any prospective house is whether they want me to take off my shoes when I arrive. If not, you may be in for a disappointing experience. It’s a fail safe test. And so far no one has asked me to take my shoes off.



# 33 (2014) Bad Week

This week has been a bit shit.

After a lovely week on holiday I came back and threw myself straight into my house move. Two days in as we began to empty the last van load I realised I had made a huge mistake. The house is too far away and the condition of the property and its occupant leaves a lot to be desired. Nothing felt right.

So now my stuff is floating between two houses, my business is stored at one place whilst functioning at minimal level at the other and yet I still have to find a new place for home and business and the pressure is even greater now.

Everything I view is damp, poorly repaired or has weird occupants. Is it really too much to ask for a normal shared living environment?

I am torn between minimising my personal and business belongings so I can find a new place I can fit in to and finding a separate work studio which of course means added outlay I may not be able to afford if work suddenly tails off as it is apt to do. My solution is a place of my own but it’s out of reach in the short term.

And in the middle of it all I have this gut desire to move somewhere more interesting and start again but with a regular income of some sort to make things that little bit easier.

I feel like I have sacrificed a lot for my business. Money, social life, sanity. And I keep hoping it’s worth it without knowing what the endpoint is and realising further down the line that I had wasted my time. I can’t remember the last time I was really happy or just for a moment worry free. Certainly not in the last 6 years since I came to Lincoln. And thus I question my goals. What am I doing all this for?

It’s been a very unsettled time including several job changes, university and four house moves which has distracted me from the important stuff. And I’m even forgetting what the important things really are now. Is it work, or play? Money or career? Business or friends?

I am definitely losing my way.

# 32 (2014) Technology I Hate

My love of technology is marred only by its self centred usage and how much it de-sensitises us to our surroundings.

Social media has given rise to some worrying behaviour in us. Selfies – our all consuming passion with our own self image, and the media’s ability to keep us perpetually dissatisfied with ourselves. No matter where we are or what we are doing there is always time for a selfie because we just don’t have enough friends to take pictures of us. We have an unquenchable desire for the perfect image. If it is the one we see on tv, we will never find it. It seems we have lost all sense of reality.  And for what?

Put it down and enjoy the frigging holiday.

Put it down and enjoy the frigging holiday.

Mobile phones – no matter how amazing the event we are at, we would rather watch it through a 6.5in screen than through our own eyes, with our own memories. That a sterilised view of what we are witnessing is somehow better than the real thing.

Two cases in point:

Whilst on holiday this week in Barcelona we visited L’Aquarium de Barcelona. And there we were, just 6 inches of glass between us and shoals of Grouper, Black Tipped Reef Sharks and Sunfish. An incredible experience. And yet all around us were people living the whole experience through the back of their phone or taking out of focus images on their cameras. They are images that will probably be put on Facebook and instantly forgotten. Flat, lifeless and nothing like the real thing.

Likewise, our main reason for being in Barcelona was Primavera Sound 2014, a three day music festival. And I was CONSTANTLY bemused by the number of revellers who missed whole chunks of some fantastic live performances in their desire for the perfect still shot, none of which was captured thanks to the over exposure of the images. You know, dark, stage lighting, movement, shitty i-phone capability.



And others recorded whole chunks of live action on video cameras. Even more, struggling to catch that perfect Facebook cover photo, ended up photographing the action as it appeared on the big screens that accompanied each of the stages. Too many times all I could see in front of me was a collection of screens. Other people spent whole sets checking their Facebook newsfeed. I mean, WHY ARE YOU HERE?????

Have we become so attached to these shallow parallels of life that we can’t put them down for one minute? They were present everywhere, from gigs to restaurants, the most unsociable action in a social setting. Why are your text messages more interesting than the person in front of you???

I thoroughly enjoyed a week with no phone, no Facebook, no Twitter, no texts and was loathe to switch the damn things back on when I got home. And the more I own these gadgets, the less I like them.