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Why… Why won’t anything good happen today…? … Here goes, today in a nutshell.
Wake up, shower, breakfast, go to 11am lecture, same as every Monday.
Meet James in the Garden Court. He’s been to the Estate Agents’ this morning, got some draft tenancy agreements and a form for me to sign, and has payed both our £110 agency fees.
Form completed, I head off to the Estate Agents. On the way I’m on the phone to my mum, and I ask if I can have the £110 soon to pay James back. She agrees, and reminds me to ask the Agents how much rent we have to pay over the summer months, and if there’s a problem with my parents setting up a Direct Debit for the account rather than me. And, like a trickle before the dam bursts, I’m told that James can’t stay round at the DDRFUK Bournemouth meet in April.
Just come out of the Estate Agents’. We have to pay full rent all summer, even though we won’t be living there for three months, which overall adds up to about £800 each in wasted money. Apparently, it’s non-negotiable. Slightly annoyed by this, but it seems that’s commonplace here, so what the hell, I just go with it.
Back at home again, I report the news first to James, who’s okay with it, then my mum, who isn’t so convinced. To be fair it’s a lot of their money that’s being wasted here, but I think every rented place in town rips students off to the same extent. She’s also concerned by the fact that we’re jointly liable for the rent, so if one of us pulls out the other will be left to pay the full rent for at least two months, unless they can find another tenant quickly. By this time, the facts that I should really be going to do my laundry and should start doing some work soon are preying heavily on my mind. I wait for my mum to confer with dad and phone me back before I think about going to do the laundry.
Spoken to James over MSN about what my parents said, and he and his parents seem fine about it. I’m also reminded that our £110 (each) agency fee is only refundable provided we pull out before 5pm tomorrow (Tuesday). We both have full days on Tuesday, so it has to be decided by lunchtime at the latest. He leaves for a Union Council meeting.
Back on the phone again. My parents seem
deeply unhappy about the issue of looking after the property in the summer months, for example picking up bills and doing the gardening. I’m not sure if gardening is included in our responsibilities, because we haven’t been given a real tenancy agreement to sign yet, only a specimen. We get into a long discussion about the problems here, and my parents suggest that it might be a better idea to look for a place to rent in September to avoid the summer problem (possible for me because my parents live within commuting distance, so if I fail to find a place it’s not the end of the world). Unfortunately that kinda’ screws up James, since he’s got no-one else to rent with. By now, I’ve given up all idea of doing my laundry today. I’m also beginning to realise that however the decision goes in the end, I won’t be happy.
By now I’m really hungry, but I have a ton of washing up to get through before I can start cooking. I’m really starting to feel depressed now.
I finally get to eat dinner. It’s quite nice, but doesn’t cheer me up.
I get to my room, and find my parents phoned and left a message. I call back. Commuting from home on a permanent basis or trying to get accommodation in halls next year are discussed, I’m not keen on either. The problems of renting over the summer are d
iscussed again, but the conversation really can’t go much further without James being involved, and MSN still shows him as away.
I call James, and he is at home. I discuss what my parents have said with him. He suggests that the landlord must have something in place to deal with the fact that students aren’t there in the summer to sort out bills. Also, renting starting in September doesn’t reduce the term of the contract, it just means you have to pay over the next summer instead.
On the phone to my parents again, and it’s starting to sound like they don’t want me to rent at all, but want me to commute or go back into halls. I’m frequently reminded of how much more expensive living in a house or flat is, but personally I think I’m okay with spending more so that I can enjoy my time at Uni… My parents need to go away and discuss things, mum says she’ll phone me back later.
And with a clanging sound that shook the horizons, the doors closed, and were barred. My mum calls… I found out that she’s under threat of redundancy and so my parents can’t actually guarantee they can support me if I live away from home next year. I also discover that my last possibility, my as-yet unclaimed student loan, won’t provide nearly enough for me to be able to afford to rent next year.
I speak to James on the phone, and tell him the news, apologising as much as I can. We’re going to the Estate Agents’ at lunchtime tomorrow to get his £220 back.
And so, it’s over. No more flat, just the guilt of leaving James out on his own, and the guilt that I already cost my parents too much money… And the sadness inside, of feeling the strands of my life changing their course into the future…
All hope of doing laundry or problem sheets tonight is gone, I really don’t feel like doing anything now. I still have three problem sheets to do in the… about four hours… of time I have left before Thursday morning’s tutorial. I’m burnt out, and, even though I know it’s no sensible way to get over stress and depression, but… I think I’m going to go and buy some cans of Strongbow and a big block of chocolate…
Broken shards of mirror.
~ Everything that has a beginning, has an end. ~