Around this time last year a vague plan began to form in my brain. My primary desire was simply a desk to write and work at, but a desk's gotta live somewhere, so, ah well, I thought, I'd better buy a flat. But it was far less easy that that. People do not lie when they say buying a flat is a supremely stressful thing to do, but what they don't warn you about is what comes afterwards, when you begin to turn that flat into a home you can actually live in. And that process goes a little like this...
Receive keys to your first property. Skip round with joy and then struggle for 15 minutes to open the door. Have to have the old well-practised owner open it for you. Make mental note to change the locks asap. Curse former tenants for leaving hideous wobbly chair behind. Discover world's vilest mug in cupboard, curse them again. Actually move in, i.e. physically move self, toothbrush, radio, TV, DVD collection etc in. Thank kind Accidental grandmother for cleaning kitchen. Have Accidental parents come visit. Ignore unhelpful suggestions from Accidental father, as well as disparaging remarks about my DIY skills. One week later relent and ring Accidental father for DIY tips.
Realise should really buy some furniture after two weeks of living on an air mattress, and eating supper off a cardboard box. Agonise over buying a bed for far longer than any sane person should. Finally buy a bed - love it. Regret buying cheap clothing rail that keeps collapsing. Repair it for the second time. Buy a small table. Realise it makes horrible marks on the kitchen lino. Buy a big table that doesn't leave marks anywhere. Throw out cheap clothing rail and replace with an expensive one, after logistical nightmare of getting it, in a 2 metre-long box, home (discover such packages are not popular with cab drivers, but Addison Lee are a dream).
Paint potential wall colours in A4-sized swatches around the flat to check what they look like in different places. Call painter to come look at the flat and advise just how financially ruinous it would be to have him tackle my ceiling roses and grubby woodwork. Await quote with nerves of an 18 year old about to receive A-Level results. Distract self by dreaming of alcove shelving. Accidental father and brother offer to produce such shelving for birthday present. Offer to throw dinner party in their honour as thanks. Pick paint colour for walls. Listen to everyone tell me what a disastrous shade it will be. Obsess about potentially gloomy walls. Panic-buy enough chairs to seat people for celebratory shelving dinner party. Host said dinner party after the shelves go up, inaugurating dining table, and without giving anyone food poisoning.