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[personal profile] devi
Hi! Hello. How are you doing?

I’ve forgotten how to do this. I want to tell you how we’re getting on, but resist letting it turn into a massive, self-indulgent 4000-word epic like I’ve done in the past. There's a metric ton of backstory which isn’t all mine to tell in any case. Anyway:

The short version is that Dan and I are moving to London in mid-September, so I can start a part-time MA at Goldsmiths in October.

The long version is that until this spring, life had been a drama-free zone for years and years. I’d forgotten what drama felt like. And since then absolutely everything’s been up in the air, thumping round like shoes in a dryer or disappearing entirely – houses, jobs, money, relatives’ health. Back in the spring we had decided we were going to move to London in the autumn. We were starting to plan. But it seems like every week since then some vital brick in the foundations of the plan has been shifted, and then shifted again just as we were starting to get used to the new configuration.

We found out by accident in February that the landlord was selling our flat. It was about-to-be-sold-any-minute-now for six months, with potential buyers trooping in and out and us hanging on as long as possible in the hope we wouldn’t have to move everything twice in one year. The sale fell through two days after we gave our final notice last week.

We found out that Dan’s father was very ill. That's a big thing, but it's his story, not mine. And as his family and work situation changed, I didn’t know whether Dan would be coming with me to London, or whether I’d go on ahead to establish a base while he carried on working in Oxford and applied for jobs, or indeed lived with his parents for a while and applied for jobs – or whether I was going to stay here and try to do the six-hour round-trip commute from Oxford like the original (expensive, exhausting) plan we had back in ‘09.

The fact that Dan had a steady job with the NHS, which was making him miserable and chronically stressed but y’know, was a steady job in this economy, was a big factor in all this; one of the few knowns in our plan. Then he was told he was probably going to get made redundant as they slashed the mental health services. By this time so much else had happened that all we could do was laugh.

And of course it’s summer and I’m freelancing, which has meant that I need to spend a great deal of time thinking about work, planning the next jobs and making sure I get paid and trying not to underquote, which is kind of all-consuming. Until quite recently, nobody had paid me for months and months* and I wasn’t sure I’d even have my college fees; then most of them paid me at once and it looks like it’s going to be OK.

In the middle of all that there was about a week when it seemed that we might have a huge, dizzying stroke of good fortune which would have solved pretty much all our problems. We tiptoed round it and tried not to hope, and we were right, because it didn’t materialise. But that’s definitely in the Not Mine To Tell category.

So yes. Headwreck and hard slog and difficult conversations, and until quite recently I haven’t really believed it was all going to happen. But it is. And we seem to have sorted a lot of stuff out in the process, on holidays in Cornwall and on a heavenly weekend camping at Truck festival in the sunshine and over many pints of ale and packets of crisps after work in the beer garden of the Marsh Harrier.

Anyway, it’s happening, which means several things:

Housing in London: Partly because we haven’t known till quite recently if there’d be one or two of us, we haven’t got a place to live yet. We’ve been looking at flats on the web but it looks as if most estate agents require both of us to have full-time permanent jobs, and that's a bit difficult if you're moving to a new city (or temping or self-employed). What we’re thinking now is that we’d like to find a room in a house share somewhere for the fairly short term, like four or five months, till we’re more established and can get a place of our own. There are various ways to do this, but obviously it’d be brilliant if it was with friends or friends-of-friends. I realise we’re all older now and there isn’t the constant churn of house shares that there used to be, but just in case: if any of you know of someone looking to fill a double room in their house, please do let us know. We’re domesticated and good-humoured, our previous landlord will vouch for us, and I can provide a pile of tax returns and bank statements and such to demonstrate that I do actually make money (and most of my work will come with me to London; it’s location-independent).

Seeing people in Oxford: Time, as ever, has snuck up on me and I keep realising that I’m probably doing things for the last time as a resident of Oxford. Next Tuesday is quite likely the last time I’ll make it to comics pub. On Saturday we’ll be at Gappy Tooth Industries at the Wheatsheaf to see The Evenings reforming for one night only – if anyone’s in town over the weekend and fancies a gig, it’d be lovely to see you there. We’re talking about having a yard-sale/giveaway/excuse-for-a-get-together sort of thing in our house. (Edited to add: how does Sunday 5th September sound?) I did it when I left London and it was great fun, and a good excuse to have people round. And there should definitely be some sort of house-cooling. And hmmm, anyone for Scott Pilgrim some time in the near future?

I might just sell or give away all my CDs, actually. I never got that attached to them as physical objects. I’ve gone to the CD rack maybe twice in the last six months. Last time I did, the first thing my eye fell on was Dead Media by Hefner, which made me chuckle.** I kind of want to just throw almost everything in storage and stroll off whistling, maybe with my guitar on my back like a great big hippy. Stuff. Who needs it? Well, my computer is nice, I guess. I’ll keep that.

*Edited to add: Except [ profile] jackfirecat, who paid me promptly. Thank you very much, [ profile] jackfirecat.

**And isn't even mine, come to think of it.
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