When it comes to literature, I am a compulsive consumer.
Whenever I finish a novel/play/poetry collection, I allow myself a moment to savour the final sentence, with a strange sigh of relief and inspiration and sorrow and optimism. Then I think, ‘Right. What’s next?’
This morning, just as I reached my tube stop, I finished reading Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar. After the familiar sigh had shivered through me, something unusual happened. Instead of mentally scanning my shelves for my next literary adventure, I wanted to flick back to the beginning and start again, devouring the words with a new understanding. I wanted to grab the person behind me on the escalator and implore them to read it. I wanted to buy 50 copies of it and send one to everyone I know.
My finances not permitting that final impulse, I settled for a more sensible option. Blog post.
Dog not included.
The other morning, groggy headed and bleary eyed, I opened my front door to head off to work and was greeted by a blast of cold air and a flooded drain. Wrapping my coat tightly around me, I locked my door and, head held high, stepped defiantly over the sewage and stomped off towards the tube. Inside, though, I was seething.
The drain was the latest in a recent onslaught of problems with my new-ish London home. It would be added to the increasingly long list of ‘Things to mention to the landlord’, along with faulty oven, damp and the lack of central heating.
I allow myself a blissful few minutes when I step into the shower, close my eyes and dream of the day when the list stops being my life and starts being an amusing dinner party anecdote. That’s usually when my housemate turns on the kitchen tap and I’m hit by a jet of freezing water and a cold, hard dose of reality. My bank account is, alas, five figures short of a Pinterest palace and I – like countless other overly-ambitious, financially-challenged youths – will have to put up with what I can get.
In the past three months, I’ve become a lot better at dealing with a less-than-perfect rental situation. In the spirit of sharing, here are a few of the things that have saved me from crying and stuffing ice cream in my mouth whilst browsing the property pages of the Evening Standard.