I’ve left Nice Heights, which was a wrench because I loved there. I’d been in the strange position of showing prospective tenants around. For the sake of my landlord and neighbours, I wanted a good tenant to move in, but I was so enthusiastic that I think some of them must have worried that I would never actually find the will to leave.
Here’s why I’m going to miss my favourite ever flat:
Synchronised Radio 4, although we needed a warden to make sure we were all listening simultaneously on DAB, as the delay caused a civilised, urbane echo.
Nice heights was so quiet. Not deathly, like a morgue, but parties didn’t destroy the peace, and occupants of shared flats didn’t feel obliged to have a birthday party, a moving in party and then a moving out party. It’s also well insulated.
Instead of thinking: how can we cut things back, how can we economise, how can we eliminate anything helpful, humane or enjoyable, without being discovered ie after the block is sold, the developers paid attention.
The way it’s managed (or rather the fact that it is managed.) There are so many blocks where the management team think of running fees as a sort of treat, to be spent on shiny things, and certainly not on nasty, ugly real things like cleaning, and security.
Residents are respected, but then tenants are in the minority. Occupants are also respectful of each other. They keep themselves private, but are friendly and chat, which is ideal.
There was a sense of peace. I don’t know why, but if Dovecot Towers was built on a hell-mouth, or something, but if so, then Nice Heights was on a place where all the happy people lived contentedly for many years.
I once saw a squirrel playing on the grass nearby, and the urban wild mink have been marching boldly into city shops. I could hear birdsong in the morning. Nature’s creatures boycotted Dovecot Towers.
Nice Heights proved that things can be done properly – that newbuild housing might look identical from the outside (and despite the quality, the exterior was far from grand.)
Some residents cultivated little indoor gardens by the front door. Nothing fancy – just a few random plants in pots, but nobody steals them. You can have a doormat, without it being nicked.
If you are carrying heavy shopping, people hold the door, and keep the lift waiting. That shouldn’t be remarkable, but sadly, for me, it was.
I’ll miss chatting in the stairwells with my friendly, sociable neighbours. People weren’t scared of each other, as they were in Dovecot Towers. The enemies of Nice Heights were outsiders, but then we had the security of a concierge and that rarity - a good strong door.
I really wish I could have stayed. A friend pointed out that that this is the only time I’ve had to move out of somewhere I’ve been really happy, which is why I am so wistful. Happiness and high-standards in rented housing shouldn’t be an aberration. Still, onward, as my renting adventure continues…