So this is happening again


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Trying to find a new home

Story of my life at the moment...
Story of my life at the moment…

When your landlord tells you “you cannot live there any more” because they are unable to deal with the mould problem without completely gutting your flat, then you know your living situation isn’t great.

Since June we’ve tried to find somewhere, with very little success. And the reason is contained in the above graphic. If you want to rent in London, you can only choose two of the following three options:

  • Within your budget
  • Within reasonable commute of your work
  • Meets your needs

There are any number of flats within commute of my work which fit my needs, but which I cannot afford. There are plenty that I can afford which are within reasonable commute of my work, but which don’t fit my needs. If I want to be able to afford somewhere that fits my needs then I have to be so far away from work that the extra travel costs mean I may as well have picked one of the unaffordable but closer places!

Landlords, being rapacious scoundrels (and that’s me being polite), hold out for the mythical ascetic tenant who wants to drop £5000 per month on a cardboard box under a motorway flyover. They are less concerned with real people, their real needs, and their real wages. Over the past 8 years house prices have risen by 28% in London, whilst wages have risen 12%. And that’s just going back to 2007. In 2007, house prices were at their most unaffordable. The situation has got worse since then, even accounting for the dip in property prices caused by the financial crash.

How much longer can this situation go on? Something has to give.

A distinct lack of comments…

I wondered why so few people had responded to my last post, as it got quite a bit of traffic.

Then someone mentioned in passing that they tried commenting twice, but got error messages each time. I checked the site, and my own test comments on multiple devices had the same result. Turns out Bad Behavior, a plug-in I use to combat spam bots and brute force log-in attempts, was doing its job a little too effectively!

I think I’ve fixed it, and the test I tried seems to work, so if you did have a comment then please do try again!

What scares you?

Asking for a friend…

And that friend is me.

Hallowe’en may be past, but I have been thinking about fear, terror, horror and all the associated synonyms. I’m thinking about fear because of a thing I want to do, which I don’t want to publicly commit to, because if I wind up not doing it I’ll feel guilt and self-loathing like I always do when I publicly commit to something then fail to do it (see my long history of postponing my Tough Mudder entry – now delayed to May 2016). It’s not NaNoWriMo, just before anyone starts thinking that.

I am a very fearful person, and I don’t know what about. When I entered counselling at LSE during my PhD year, the counsellor mentioned that I constantly spoke in the language of fear, was drawn towards fearful things, and was studying a fearful topic (international terrorism and war crimes). She told me that fear drove me. Towards what, or from what, I’ve never figured out.

I don’t get scared by horror movies, and it is rare that any story unnerves me (House of Leaves and The Thing on the Doorstep being notable exceptions). There are things that do scare me though.

But what scares other people? I’m curious, because the thing I want to do involves scaring others. What are the things that unnerve you, make your heart stop then begin to pound furiously, cause a sinking dread in your stomach, raise the hairs on the back of your neck and begin the voice in your head that says whatever you do, don’t turn around, don’t open your eyes, don’t open that door

Given how hard it is to unnerve me, maybe if I find something that scares me it will be guaranteed to terrify others…

What I did(n’t) on my half-term holiday…

Ah, half-term. An opportunity for reflection and relaxation in a busy teacher’s life. A short week where you can catch up on all those little tasks, socialise, chill out, and prepare yourself for the second half of term.
This half-term I had planned to do the following:

  • Correct the homework I set my classes (a short story about Malvolio’s revenge for the Y1 Lit students, a model answer on the Anthology for the Y1 Lang & Lit students);
  • Write two model answers to the Y1 Lang & Lit homework so that students could compare their work against mine;
  • Plan the first few weeks of lessons with resources so I’m ahead of myself for the next half of term;
  • Catch up on some reading I had wanted to finish over the summer (I need to read the relevant parts of Cupcakes & Kalashnikovs before my A2 Lang & Lit students start on it);
  • Start a running training program in preparation for winter running;
  • Relax, catch up on some TV shows, go to the cinema, see friends, sleep in, read for pleasure.

Life, however, had other plans… What I actually did over my half-term was:

  • Spent Friday night to Wednesday morning howling in pain, screaming into pillows, stamping my feet and hitting my head all to distract myself from toothache. Emergency visits to both an emergency dentist and my own resulted in x-rays which showed nothing obvious, a prescription for Amoxicillin in case it was sinusitis, and a prescription for dihydrocodeine since ibuprofen, paracetamol, codeine and topical benzocaine gel were doing nothing;
  • Spent Wednesday morning to now, gingerly avoiding chewing on the left side of my mouth as while the toothache has gone, there is clearly something wrong, and biting food causes sharp pains;
  • Spent Wednesday morning to now, cursing the fact that my lower back and legs have started to develop sciatic pain.

I’m seriously wondering whether extreme pain everyday during half-term is enough to qualify you for a second week off, since I really didn’t get to enjoy this week…

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