1) Lock Every Window and Door Several Times Before Going Out
Leaving my flat takes an age. In the warmer months, when I’d have the windows open, it took even longer. There is not a drive away from my block of flats that doesn’t feature some kind of paranoia about whether or not I’ve closed and locked every single window and door, even though the reality is that I checked each about ten times before leaving.
2) Over-estimate How Much Mange-Tout You Will Need
Excess mange-tout seems to be a recurring theme in my flat… and probably my life in general, or so it sometimes feels.
I don’t normally have a lot of things in my fridge at a single time; I try to only buy the fresh groceries I really need and always like to use them up quickly, before they go off. But mange-tout seems to be a little more stubborn than all of the other vegetables. It’s flat little pods manage to mislead me frequently. I always think that the contents of such a small pack should be gone within a couple of curries but… no… there is always a lot left over. And I always forget, and buy more…
3 Eat Curry Every Day… Because You Can
…And because it helps use up all that mange-tout! But also because before living alone, I would have to go out to a restaurant if I wanted to eat a Thai curry. Now, I can make one every week if I so feel, and I can add as much crunchy peanut butter as I wish! It’s a novelty that has still not worn off even now, after five months. My stomach mightn’t appreciate it, but the rest of me does.
4) Arrange & Re-Arrange Your Bookshelves Until It Appeases Your OCD
The travel-writing books should take up the entirety of the top shelf, because they’re my favourites, and Bill Bryson should start the row because his surname begins with one of the first letters of the alphabet. I’m happy if the remainder are just grouped by continent.
The second shelf should be for the various travel guides accumulated over the years, and the bottom shelf is the one for all those books with titles like, “The Little Book of Thinking Big” and “How Not to Worry” that I can turn to for inspiration when I feel flattened and depressed by the realisation that my mortgage, and ongoing need to buy bin-bags, have greatly reduced the possibility of needing the books on shelf two again. Also includes a couple of anomalies in the form of over-sized journals to scribble in, and the Cilla Black autobiography.
5) Donate Cupboards to Things Others Wouldn’t
The Crisp Cupboard under the sink was quite unintentional but is what I personally perceive to be the jewel in my flat’s crown, and the first port of call after a hard day of work. At the moment it’s in need of a freshen up; too many bags of Ready Salted left over from a cheap multi-pack from Tesco, but I’ll get there, and replenish without shame, with something a bit more exciting, like erm, Frazzles…
6) Consider a Jar of Pickled Onions a Treat Because You’re So Damn Skint
My philosophy with money since living alone is to try and make it stretch as far as possible by only buying the food and drink which I definitely need so that I can spend the rest of my money on trying to still have a life. I’m quite happy with this arrangement, but there are still times when I feel completely torn. I’ll never forget the time I walked around town for ten minutes deliberating about whether or not I should go back to the farm-shop and buy that jar of pickled onions in honey vinegar which cost £3.50 but looked at me seductively from the shelf. I caved, as I often do for food, and, well, I’m still enjoying them to this day, so perhaps it wasn’t such a needless purchase.
7) Celebrate Having Your Own Condiments
Never underestimate the power of this. Your own condiments permit you to squeeze as much ketchup over your chips as you want, and it’s up to you, and you alone as to when you replace the bottle. You don’t have to put up with that red spray of emptiness if you don’t want to, and if you see that thick, congealed bit of goo round the lid, take comfort in knowing it’s only your goo, a solace you can’t get from those provided in restaurants and pubs.
How much longer does the boiler have left? Should I start saving for a replacement now? How much will that be? What did that comment mean earlier? Was that a weird tone? Can a common cold be a symptom of imminent death? What am I doing with my life? *And repeat*
9) Only Properly Clean the Place When Others Come Round
Well, I do like things to be tidy, no matter if it’s just me in the flat. I’m not one to leave rubbish lying around or let the washing up stack-up. I do like everything to be put away daily, and detest clutter.
But, clean the floors? Hoover? Polish? Dust?
Nah. Life’s too short for that kind of nonsense. I’ll save it for only when the visitors come. And if I distract them with a Bourbon biscuit and a cup of tea, they probably won’t inspect the place anyway.
10) Assume Every Unusual Sound is a Ghost or an Axe Murderer
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve crept up nervously to the spy hole, convinced that I’ve heard a knock signifying an unexpected visitor, but of all the Ten Things, this is the one more likely to fade over time, once the surroundings have become more familiar.
I mean, I’ll still do the chain and activate the additional three locks before I try and sleep tonight but, I’m getting there…
More to come…
Song of the Day: Weezer – Longtime Sunshine
This is from the deluxe version of the ‘Pinkerton’ album, a disc I remember borrowing from the Library as a young teenager and falling in love with. Towards the end of this beautiful song, they blend in elements of ‘Why Bother?’ – one of my all time favourite tracks – to create a mind-blowing version of jaw-dropping goodness. Jaw-dropping if you like this kind of music, that is. But I certainly do.