the last time
i wrote to you all i was still resident in The Penthouse – east Devon’s largest conurbation’s finest fourth-floor dwelling. now, however, through the combined power of trains, a removal lorry and a new job for The Dr, i am currently speaking to you from our new home, here in Manchester.
we’ve been here now for ten days and i’ve held off telling you about it both in order to unpack and re-home the contents of the bajillion boxes of things that arrived just after we did and also to get a fair sense of the place.
the most obvious difference is the scape. in Devon, we were used to endless red-brick buildings, late-night living, crowded streets, a certain amount of ‘edge’ and high levels of cultural and ethnic diversity. here, however, things are so quiet, culturally homogenous and green.
our new house is a two-bedroom mid-terrace beauty with bare floorboards and burglar alarm. we’re not 100% sure what we’ll call it yet, but due to the stripped floors and furniture, The Woodhouse is an early contender.
it’s funny to think that some people look down their noses at terraced or ‘row’ houses – and yet the walls here are so thick that sometimes it’s easy to forget that the people to our right have a young child and the people to our left like to spend their evenings watching EastEnders and loudly putting away dishes.
as for the town centre, it’s charming, vibrant and offering of most of the outlets we like: even if many of the actual stores are a little small compared to what we’re used to. sadly, however, i am yet to locate branches of Devon Camera Centre or This Is It. The Dr says i’ll get used to life without the luxuries, but i’m sceptical.
one difference that certainly sticks in the throat, however, concerns the public transport. the buses here, for example, are so regular and inexpensive (or even free!) that i for one find it hard to think of them as actual buses.
then there’s the lack of decent local news. Instead of Victoria Graham and Justin Leigh reporting hard-hitting ‘something’s washed up on a beach’ or ‘local girl is promising showjumper’ type stories, up here we’ve got the bloke who used to do The Krypton Factor rambling on about gun crime.
it’s not all sobering trivia though: it was especially pleasing the other night to see an hilarious item about a couple from Stockport who had given away their dog, changed their minds and then taken the new owner to court to try to get it back – a course of action that had proved expensively unfruitful. the piece de resistance of the segment was when, at the end of an interview with the vexed, sadsack-faced pentagenarians, the camera pulled back to reveal that they were both about four foot six.
all in all we’re settling in nicely: registering for health provision, wading our way through the architecturally impressive stack of address-change correspondence and trying to remember where to look on the main BBC weather map. given that it’s August banks holidays weekend this weekend, we’re off ‘down south’ for Greenbelt, but come next week it will be back to the acclimatisation grindstone.
anyway, thanks to all those of you who wished us well, in person, text or card, and if you’re a Greenbelt type, then see you there. as for now, this is RQT, in Manchester, signing out, wishing you a merry Thursday and reminding you that only losers do glue(sers).