Bachelor Pads

What I’ve come to notice is that renting a place to live is like dating. Full of desperate people looking for a good relationship, or any relationship for that matter.

First of all there is the flirting. You see an attractive looking house or flat and decide to make some sort of move, so you get their contact details and enquire about it. The house is trying to sell itself, and so are you, so when the people renting it out ask for a little bit about yourself you give off your best impression. With the flirting comes hope, and when your friends/parents ask if there is “anything new on the scene” you say that you have been talking to this good one that seems as if they’re going to be…the one! And so you stop looking for other houses and play flirty little games with your hopeful.

And then there is the first date, which is where you properly see the place for the first time. You get to learn everything about your hopeful ‘one’ and learn about all the little cracks in the wall that they don’t want you to see. If, after the first viewing you like what you see you arrange another. If you don’t then you call the whole thing off and go back on the market looking for more “bachelor pads”, so to say. Sometimes you can like them so much you can find yourself in a whirlwind romance and signing contracts, like marriages, within the blink of an eye! If you find yourself desperately looking for a new ‘bachelor pad’ you go everywhere, and eventually may resort to ‘online dating’ and looking at ads in the newspaper, which you refused to do when you first entered the dating/renting scene.

Sometimes there is let down, for example, you’ve been on a ‘first-date’, you liked the hopeful and have texted hoping to arrange another where you figure out if you can go with this one. But he doesn’t respond to your messages for days and you start to wonder what was wrong with you. You can’t play clingy, even though he’s beautiful and charming and you want him so badly it hurts, but you decide to text again to find out why he won’t respond, only to found out that he’s decided to go with a different girl. Now you have to get over this one and find another, but the ‘clock’ is ticking and you have nightmares of ending up in a loveless relationship or being alone forever.

Sometimes it does go well, and it’s all easy peasy love-at-first-sight fairytale endings and you can have the house for years, grow with it, raise kids still with the same one, and potentially even live the rest of your days with this one but for some you’d have to kiss a hundred frogs before you find your prince. For some people you’d have gone on a thousand ‘first dates’ and still not have the right one. Is it something wrong with you? Some of your friends will say that you just aren’t picking the right ones, or that you need to lower your standards, depending on whether they were the ones that let you down or not.

The thing is that there is a relationship for everyone, somewhere. And although I didn’t get the perfect house with good cleanliness, similar interests and is secure and safe, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a place I’ll end up going to. Maybe I’ll have to settle a little bit, or go on a few more dates, or go back to an ex that I realise isn’t ‘so bad after all’ but I know I’ll find something…..eventually.

Summer Songs #1 | Woodland (The Paper Kites)

When the sun is shining in the summer like it is right now there’s noting I like to do more than listen to really good music that makes me happy. I decided to share with you some of these songs.

The first one I chose is ‘Woodland’ by The Paper Kites from their 2011 EP of the same name. It’s a song set in Autumn, but the up-beat folsky sound is perfect for Summer, evoking feelings of festivals, fun and forests. I love it.

The chorus is unbelievably upbeat chanting the words:
“Won’t lay down our heads till the day is won
Won’t stop running till we reach the sun
Chasing all the things that are keeping us young
We won’t stop running till we reach the sun” which always makes me think of skipping around in woods and fields like I always dream of doing in the summer.

Have a listen. I hope you enjoy it!

House of Humiliation

I just got back from viewing a house as a prospect for not being homeless during my second year at university. It’s a wonderful house, with lots of light, lots of space and is very clean. It is in the same area as I currently reside, just one street away, so I know the place and feel secure. They house even has a garden with strawberries my favourite fruit! Can I say I love it before I even know if it’s mine. 

I got to the house at 4:30 on the dot, racked with nerves. I had no idea who it was I was going to be greeted by, could have been a serial killer for all I knew, and knocked on the door. First I knocked using the knocker that was down by the letter-box, but then I saw that there was a doorbell. Did they hear the knocker? Should I ring the doorbell ten seconds later? 

I rang the doorbell. 

There was footsteps. 

Oh my goodness! I thought I’m scared. And I tried to shake away the deer-in-the-headlights look. They’re ECOLOGY students, they’re not going to be serial killers! And then the door opened. There stood a woman, who was very pretty and I went blank. How am I meant to act!?

“Hello!” she said, very cheery with a mega-watt smile. 

“Hello!” I cheered back, and stumbled through the door. It was just as I tripped that I realised I really should have introduced myself first before trying to get into the house. Luckily I’m not a vampire (though my nocturnal-ism could say otherwise) so I didn’t burst into flames as I stepped beyond the threshold, but now I looked like a fool. looked like the serial killer. She asked if I was Sophie, and I said yes and shook her hand. And then she showed me around. 

I think I liked the house the second I turned down the street, it sort of reminded me of streets I can find back home in Norfolk with terraces made of old brick. The second I saw the hallway I loved it even more because it was HUGE and airy. 

My mind screamed “I’ll take the house now!” But of course it would be stupid when you haven’t seen the room. 

The woman showed me to the lounge and it was cosy, the sofas were small and TV was…minimalist, but I don’t watch much TV anyway so I wasn’t that bothered. Then she showed me the room, and it felt homely. The place I’m living in right now constantly feels like a hotel more than anything. There was lots of storage space and lots of space in general. Not as much space as my current room, but none of it was unnecessary. 

“The only thing that wasn’t here before is the bedside table, so you’ll need to buy one if you want one.” I don’t need a bedside table, I don’t think I’ve ever actually used a bedside table. There was a hand drawn picture of a zebra on the wall. 

And then I was shown the kitchen, which was lovely, with light pouring in from all the windows and doors that led to the garden with the strawberries. I savoured the thought of having such a large kitchen between five people and not twelve and not having all the flatmates use my stuff and not wash it, or lose it. CAN I MOVE IN NOW!? 

She took me upstairs to show me the bathroom and I had to stop myself from going into all the bedrooms and satisfying my nosey curiosity. It’s hard to resist a good snoop, even the people on Come Dine With Me can’t manage it. 

And then it was the garden and I looked for the strawberries and found the strawberries and there wasn’t a spider in sight. Hooray! I was told that everyone took shares in the gardening. That’s all right, I can dig. I am an archaeologist and my trowel will come in handy. I was led back into the house and we talked about the costs. The most it’s ever came to is about £20 for the person I was talking to, but she hadn’t been here long and said it might be more in winter. I figured it was fine, step-dad can help a little bit, right? She asked about my interests. 

And then I heard more footsteps and I was faced with another person, fresh from the shower but thankfully wearing clothes and I tried not to sound nervous in front of these people which was easy, because I can act and all I had to do was smile. The girl talked about how most of her classes are in the agriculture building for a little bit. 

“I had a lecture in the agriculture building on my first week, I got lost and called my friend saying ‘help me, where is it?’ and she told me to take a turn at the bridge, but there were four turns and I didn’t know what to take, so I went down them all and was forty minutes late when I decided to give up.” I narrated to her, thinking it would be a good story, but like a lot of my stories that I think are going to be funny, and trailed off when I realised it wasn’t. As lovely as the woman is a part of me said ‘thank goodness I’m not living with her, i’m making such a fool of myself!’ 

I was asked if I had any questions and I drew a blank. Was I supposed to ask questions. I feel like I should, like I do when they say that phrase in classes and lectures, there’s a pressure to come up with something great. But for some reason I didn’t think “how often do spiders come into the room” seemed like a ridiculous thing to ask, so I left it and shook my head. 

I was seen out of the door and wasn’t quite sure how to say goodbye. If I am interested in the room I need to e-mail, but I’m acting like it’s just been a date and I need to play it cool, hard to get, and am stopping myself from saying “LET ME LIVE HERE I’M DESPERATE!” at least until tomorrow. If I want it I’d have to come back and meet the other people. Oh dear. I do not do well with talking. But maybe, hopefully, I can prepare myself to be less humiliating to myself and not stumble through the doorway again. 

Deep breaths.

Storms and Stories

I’ve just seen my first storm of the year which, to me, means it is now officially summer. I am delighted, and in just two weeks I get three entire months of fun (though my parents will probably nag me to get a job). I have a weird relationship with storms, I’m scared of them yet all I want to do is go and dance in the rain as the thunder rumbles around me, I think that’s about as much as my adrenaline junkie side of me can get. All the while I watched this storm my imagination was whirring around like crazy, so I devised a story and wanted to share it with you.

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It was around midnight when Peter first heard the loud crack of thunder that shook the walls to his bedroom and, with a start, he woke from his sleep. In the darkness of his bedroom he listened out, ears pricked, for another rumble to roll through the sky. A blue light flashed through the curtains and the boy took the duvet from himself and stood up. His footsteps were muffled by the carpet as he trampled his way around toy aeroplanes and cars to stand at his window and watch the storm. He took his curtain in his hand and slowly drew it back, as the thunder clapped, like he was on a stage and this was the start of the play. 

That very second the curtains were opened fully another strike of white light was tossed from the clouds and fell right in front of Peters eyes. It was blinding and he staggered back from the window in a daze. His heart was racing and he couldn’t tell what sort of adrenaline was being pumped around his veins: thrill or fright. That strike could have hit him and he could have been dead. He thought as much as he stepped back forwards. If it wasn’t for the wall that divided the room from the world he could have been dead. He grew confident that he had a shield. And watched as the lightning flashed and the thunder roared like a giant turbo-jet. 

When he was small his um used to comfort him by saying that if you counted the seconds between the lightning and the thunder that showed you how far away it was and that he should count to see if it is going away. He decided to do it now. The first time the white electricity shot through the sky like a vein he counted to four, but he wasn’t sure if four seconds was far away or not. The second time he counted. One…two…three. It was getting closer. And Peter willed it to go away. The third time he got to two and the fourth time the lightning flew his barely had the time to form ‘one’. The storm was right on top of him. The hairs on his arms stood up with static and adrenaline and the boy revelled in thought. 

Instantly he decided to go outside and he put his little slippers on his feet and quietly opened his bedroom door. He sneaked down the stairs, being careful on the floorboards that creaked when he stood on them, and opened the front door. He heard the rain, beating down on the pavement in front of him like bullets. He stepped outside, his slippers squelched in the rain, soaking in the wet. Peter could now hear sirens wailing about an unknown emergency and he wondered if someone’s house was on fire. Peter was now completely terrified of the chaos around him and lightning and thunder mixed and the whole sky illuminated with every strike. 

For a second Peter stood still, soaking in the rain, playing with the storm. He was playing with his life, too filled with adrenaline to care. Every shot of white light was blinding and his eyes struggled to focus, every roar of thunder was deafening and he failed to hear anything else around him. Not the cars that drove by with their wind-shield wipers swishing from side to side manically as the people inside panicked over the storm, not the sirens that blared in the distance, not his parents calling from the door for him to come inside and get dry. 

Peter laughed manically, the revelry spread through him like a current until he could not contain it and he threw his arms out at the sky and tilted his head back towards the heavens where some mighty being threw down his angry bolts at the world. He thought of how scary it must have been when people did not have science and did not know how it was all about electrons and the weather. How silly it was to be scared of a storm! Peter could not stop laughing until, all of a sudden a huge vein of lightning flashed and his parents shrieked. The light was so bright Peter could not see and all he could do was listen to his mother shriek from the door as he fell to the floor. 

I hope you liked it.

What I’m Reading | The ‘Divergent’ Series (Veronica Roth)

I’m very much aware that I am late on this bandwagon. You’d have thought I’d be on it like a moth to a flame given the fact that I am obsessed with books about dystopian futures. But the books were HUGE last year and has been turned into a film that was in cinemas just a couple of months ago, I am reading the Divergent series by Veronica Roth (if you couldn’t tell by the title). I admittedly watched the film before I read the books which is sure to earn a horrified gasp from a few people. I didn’t love the film all that much, it was good, but not brilliant, still the movie made me want to read the books to see how they compared, so I did. I read Divergent a couple of weeks ago, Insurgent no less than five days ago and I have started Allegiant today.

Divergent_UK_cover

Divergent, compared to the film, was a lot better in the book. If you’ve seen the film you might share my opinion that it felt like a one and a half run-up to the second one, with the most action happening in the last twenty minutes, but in the book there actually seems to be a point behind riding a zip-wire, eating hamburgers for the first time, and playing capture the flag, more of a point than is made in the film. Instantly the book was better than the film. On it’s own I still like it, it’s genuinely exciting and well written and is fun to read.

INSURGENT

Insurgent was better than the first book, by far, which is surprising, usually the second book is favoured as the worst in a series (see: Catching Fire in the ‘Hunger Games’ trilogy and New Moon in the ‘Twilight’ saga) by popular opinion. It started with action and had thrill in just about every chapter and I was genuinely immersed in the story as it all unravelled. It was a lot heavier than the first book also, which made it feel less ‘teenage’ than the first book, which I liked. If I was to go all pretentious-literature-A-level-student-mode I would say it reflected Tris’ maturing in the aftermath of what happened at the end of Divergent, but perhaps it’s just a coincidence.

allegiant

Allegiant is the one I’m unsure of. For a starter I don’t like how it’s a hard-back while the other two are paper-backs, which is a very fussy thing to pick apart, but now it just looks weird. I also saw in the blurb that, unlike the other two, it is written in a dual perspective. For a starters it now ruins the consistency of the series, like Stephanie Meyer did with Breaking Dawn. Personally I dislike different perspectives, I often find that the structure is less fluid, often jaunted, opposed to if there was just one voice, but also they can sometimes be badly written if the author doesn’t manage to create separate the characters personal voices. I’m currently only four chapters into Allegiant, and at the minute am finding the dual-perspective a bit pointless and am finding it really hard to get into, but we’ll see.

Over-all I think the Divergent series is a bit of a tricky one. Divergent was mediocre, Insurgent was great and Allegiant I am really not sure of right now, but the concept is magnificent and if you are also obsessed with the dystopian worlds like I am then I think you definitely should read it once as it makes some particularly good points about human nature and the world as a whole.

***UPDATE***

Having now read over 100 pages I have no gotten into Allegiant  and am enjoying it. I still find the dual-perspective-thing a bit jaunty and at points hard to keep track of who’s talking, and get a little bit irritated when I’m really enjoying reading a perspective but then it suddenly stops and goes to the next person, but I’m getting over it. The storyline is none the less superb.

***

Buonanotte

I have an awful sleeping pattern. For weeks and weeks I have only let my head hit the pillows past four o clock in the morning, sometimes even five. Of course this results in waking up in the afternoon and then not being tired enough to go to bed until five o clock in the morning.. again. It’s a vicious cycle.

Tonight I somehow managed to fall asleep around one o clock in the morning, which to me was a huge improvement. I could wake up early and actually make my day worthwhile. I was wrong.

At half past four, in the morning, I am woken up. It’s not because the duvet is too warm, or because I went to sleep too early, or because I had a bad dream. It was because Italian girl- my flatmate whose bedroom is next door to mine, was having a full conversation with someone. Bear in mind that Italian-girl is naturally a very loud and excitable person. When she is being loud, and it’s the only noise in the entire flat, because everyone else is asleep, the noise travels and seems louder than actuality.

If it was half past four in the afternoon I’d have no qualms, and I’d probably appreciate being woken up. If I had stayed asleep any longer I’d essentially be nocturnal, but no. This is the morning. And so I am frustrated and fed up, Because I’ve now been awake for half an hour hearing their conversation (though it’s in Italian so I can’t understand it) I will not be able to get back to sleep for hours. Now my whole day has been thrown askew. Thanks Italian-girl.

I think I’ve now come to understand mum or my step-dad who, when Vie and myself had particularly late nights playing music and talking, would make the effort to come into our rooms and tell us to be quiet and sleep. I was extremely tempted to walk over and knock on her wall and tell her to zip her lips. Of course I don’t have to be up early or look after kids, which is what my parents have to do on a daily basis, so I’m not too angry, but still. It’s going to take days to correct my sleeping pattern.

Sorry mum for being an ignorant teenager and not listening to you when you came to tell Vie and I off, and we didn’t listen and talked anyway or played the music anyway. We must have been so annoying. There were some nights when you would get out of bed and stumble groggily upstairs three times and we still wouldn’t get what was so bad. Now I understand, and I empathise completely. This must be Karma.

Celebrating the End

Approximately an hour ago I finished my exams! For some this would be reason enough to burst out the champagne (though what student can afford champagne?) and spend an evening revelling in alcohol and parties, but to me there is actually no cause for such action. It’s not because I’m depraving myself of celebration in an act of self-cruelty but it is simply because this isn’t the end. The parties would feel stupid if my results arrive and I’ve failed them all miserably. Hubris is what the ancient Greeks would have called it, the pride before a fall. Like the Trojans I would have danced and drank and celebrated and the results would have snuck in, disguised in an envelope, through the front door before snuffing me out and killing all hope I had. Though this is mainly precautionary. I know that I have passed.

Exams have been strangely easy for me. Easier than A-levels at least. Ed said it was because Archaeology and Ancient History is my language and it comes very naturally to me, perhaps proven in my Trojan horse metaphor in the previous paragraph. Thinking about it now he may be right. All throughout exam season I studied and read books, but I was never the sort of person to sit outside ten minutes before the exam panicking over hand-written prompt cards on Augustus or Thucydides like so many other people did. When it came to being in the exam room I could spew information on Hellenistic sculptures as if I was a walking Wikipedia and could answer all questions with ease. Looking back at my A-levels I hated English Language and almost failed it, perhaps more testament to passion creating success. There’s no point on celebrating the end when I was never stressed out over the exams in the first place, there was no surge of relief at the thought of counting down that final clock and waiting for the invigilator to say “your time is up”. Instead I thought ‘what do I do now?‘. 

Of course, I could have chosen to party hard with a group of strangers writhing en-mass like the snakes on Medusa’s head, though quite frankly it isn’t even my style any-way. Even if I had cause to pop a cork and swing the poison down my throat, I won’t. I think I would much rather soak in good literature than vodka and rather fill my stomach with a chow-mein than empty it on a blurry pavement at three o’ clock in the morning, outside a kebab shop. If I want to celebrate passing exams, making it a year without dropping out or without injury, and having no strange quarter-life crisis then I don’t think I would do so by drinking within an inch of my life.