All day long, I hear the sound of water: drip…drip…drip. Sometimes, rain seeps down from the dislocated drainpipe, but the sound is more pervasive than that.
I’ve never been happy in this flat – just never felt comfortable or settled. It’s okay - not in the nicest area, and is (on some levels) affordable. But it’s never felt like my home, and I’ve always felt unnerved. This flat is old – really old, and I am (choking on the words) pining for a newbuild.
The landlord was half-hearted in every way, and what were once niggles are becoming major vexations. Some things are silly: in the lounge he placed an enormous cheap mirror, but then painted around it so I can’t remove it. Why would you do that?
The windows won’t shut properly or stay open in the summer, and were never resealed; occasionally a grey pool of invading water collects on the inside ledge. I asked the letting agents, but they ignored me – in the winter I can see daylight through the gaps in the frames. It’s cold and any heat leaks out to generously warm the street below. The front lock has no ‘shield’ and winter pierces the hallway with wounding, frozen spears.
In theory, the flat is furnished, but the bathroom lacks a towel rail or cabinet, while several of the landlord’s own CD racks crowd my only cupboard. This might seem like an odd way of expressing things, but it’s so male – as if the man fitting it out and shopping for furniture was so averse to female fripperies that he eradicated anything deemed an extra. Like a wardrobe. And he placed the bathroom mirror so high up I need a stepladder. I also wonder why it was that the landlord provided just two dining chairs – one for me, and one perhaps for my imaginary friend?
Weird little weevils have appeared in my kitchen cupboards, and I think that’s caused by damp. The first bloom of black mould has (inevitably) appeared on the bathroom ceiling, but nothing will be done, and damp will slowly chew the body of what could be a lovely place to live.
In other rooms it’s a fact that nothing was renovated or renewed – everything was painted over. The heating consists of storage heaters which devour my money, and in other rooms massive, ancient heaters which have no thermostat or timer, and either belch out heat for hours (there is no temperature control) or else I am waiting for the air to defrost. There is no heater in the bathroom.
I know there are grants available for these things. There is a green agenda. But I will be moving on eventually – maybe even soon, and I know too well that nothing will be done.
Newbuilds are fragile, threadbare and flimsy, but at least they are usually energy efficient and warm. Perhaps I should go back to Dovecot Towers? I am actually pining for a newbuild - have I gone completely crazy? Perhaps that drip…drip…drip has driven me mad.