To give you an idea of the drama I attract, there's no greater tale than that of my gorgeous little south east London flat. In fact it's very lucky I love it, for the amount of grief it's given me in three years is enough to, at best, send a girl grey, at worst, kill her off completely.
When in July '14 I bought my first property, friends were intrigued and family bemused. To clarify, prior to buying this flat I wasn’t exactly flush with savings, hence the shocks all round. My parents say I have a knack for appearing richer than I actually am (to fully explain this is another post entirely) and later admitted that all the time I was excitedly emailing links to them of potential buys, with each response they were simply humouring me. In truth, when I told them my plans to get on the ladder, they thought I was already up one, head fully immersed in the clouds.
Sure, this last statement might often be the case, but not this time. So how did I do it? Well, again, that’s another post entirely, but I will admit that my luck came at a (temporary) price. Ever seen the movie The Money Pit? Brief synopsis is that Tom Hanks buys a new home only to have everything go wrong that possibly could. So far, so my own true story…
To begin with, I moved into my flat - only to discover it didn’t exist. In my first few days of living there I lost count of how many times I frustratingly yelled down the telephone whilst trying to order furniture, set up council tax and generally settle in: “I can assure you flat 9 exists, I’m bloody well standing in it!”
Only it didn’t. Turns out every flat was numbered incorrectly and, according to the plans of Greenwich council, I actually owned number 5. It might not sound like a deal breaker but - post the issue being fixed - it quickly transpired that the tenant of now former flat 5 had a trillion aliases and a sh*tload of debt. One glowing memory is the day I came home to a lovely note from bailiffs kindly warning that they they would be returning the next day and forcing entry, looking to take enough goods to cover a debt of 4k. Nice. It might not have been my name on the note, but it was my flat that was now officially registered as no.5. Cue me panicking that I was about to wave goodbye to every high tech gadget my brother has ever given me. (N.B That’s a little clue to how I fake my financial status.)
This particular time it was crisis averted, but the bailiff threats failed to cease for some time. To make matters worse, the offending former tenant would persistently hit on me - a rare case of my infamous ‘death stare’ failing to do the trick. Luckily for me his landlord liked him even less than I did, and it wasn’t long before he was evicted.
Peace seemed to reign for a while, but that would be dull, so fate decided to throw a gas poisoning my way. If I could pop an emoji in here, I’d go for the one with the waving, happy hands and smiling face, such is the fun I was having by this point. My mother, bless her, kept telling me she could smell gas whenever she visited, but my dad and I always put it down to her being a bit of a born worrier. When I started slurring my words (even on wine-free days) and forgetting my trail of thought mid-sentence, I had to wonder if maybe she was onto something.
After a few weeks of this, I spent a few days in Ireland over the New Year. Suddenly my head was clear, and by the second day I wasn’t mixing my words up at all. (Impressive, given that in Ireland every day’s a wine day). Upon returning home I opened the flat door and finally smelt the gas too. Turns out mother really does know best. After phoning a gas engineer, it transpired I had two leaks: he cut off my supply, I had a mini meltdown. “But I just got off a plane! I’m going out for dinner tonight and I really need to have a shower.” I moaned to him. “Consider yourself lucky,” he replied. “One of those leaks was carbon monoxide. You could have been dead”. Oh. I almost started to fancy the guy. I quite like a man who’s able to put me in my place...
These are just the highlights. Believe me I could write a book on this, never mind a blog post, but I don't want to give it all away up front at once. Good girls don't do that, and I imagine it's the same for good blogs.