MOVING house can be quite emotional and is something I believed I hadn’t experienced too often until my mum commented on the amount of space I had taken up in her address book (she should have bought a bigger one).
I’ve written before about how I felt when she moved out of the family home after just short of 50 years, a time frame that created the illusion I hadn’t shifted abode on a regular basis.
If you don’t count the house in which I spent the first three years of my life, the three I lived in while doing my degree, the one while studying for my journalism qualification, the bedsit I rented when I moved out of the family home, the seven while working in Exeter, the one in Exmouth, the two in Bolton and the two in Rotherham (if you include 27 weeks living like a low-rent Alan Partridge in a local hotel), then I haven’t.
I hate moving. I’m not one of those fussy types who has to upsize, downsize, upgrade every couple of years. It’s mostly been force of circumstance, largely driven by taking jobs up and down the country and sharing houses with people who, for one reason or another (they hated me, had got jobs elsewhere, met partners and moved in with them, were my partner and we split etc) had left. In fact, I was 37 before I even bought a house.
The worst I have lived in was undoubtedly one when I was studying. It was a bedsit in a large Victorian house, with shared bathrooms you would never have used (you can let your imagination run riot here), a fridge from a scrapheap and a cooker of which only the grill and two hobs worked. Upstairs was a man with a cross tattooed between his eyes, the rest of the virtually uninhabitable building populated by misfits and criminals. The police were up and down the street on a regular basis. A murder took place a couple of doors away and we were in the nationals. Get in there Bromwich Street.
The poshest was probably a shared rented regency house in Exeter’s Mont Le Grand (now going for around £700,000), the rest ranging between single-room bedsits and 27 different rooms in the aforementioned hotel.
Have I been unsettled in any of these places or desperately wanted to leave any of them? A couple, particularly the lovely riverside flat I was forced to briefly share with an unhealthy, untidy, unpopular Manchester United fan, but that’s another story.
Have I desperately wanted to stay in any? I would have liked my mum not to have had to move last year, but she’s happy now, and the house I rented a floor on by the sea in Exmouth was about as good as it gets.
The average person in this country moves house every 23 years (I suspect this figure means buying), which means I’m a leader in the field and currently about eight times the average. I must know way more about it than the annoying, patronising, smug Kirstie Allsopp.
Is moving good for you? It broadens your horizons and increases your knowledge, but lessens your attachment and commitment and reduces the number of true friends you have, so I’d say it has its ups and downs.
The place I live in now definitely counts as an up as it’s the first one in which I’ve achieved having a proper dartboard up in the garage. It took 18 houses, but I got there in the end, so don’t plan moving ever again. Double top.