Sunday, 17 April 2005

Movin on up

Certain dubious sources inform us that the human race was never meant to be monogamous. If this is the case, then why was I born without certain crucial faculties?, such as the ability to cook chicken without getting food poisoning.

Raw Chicken

Raw chicken is something of a nemesis of mine. Three years ago, after a night’s expedition to the nightspots of St Andrews, I woke up in my Gatty bed-sit with something of a dodgy stomach. As if on cue, Calum entered my room and said ‘Who the hells been eating my chicken???’. Staggering over to the fridge I beheld the spectacle of a chicken breast that was unmistakably uncooked. Some rash fool had evidently taken a bite out of it. ‘Well it wasn’t me!’ said Eugene. ‘Well it wasn’t me either said Steve. ‘Well who was pissed last night???’. I looked guilty and beat a hasty retreat into my room, slamming the door behind me. In my English tutorial that morning my colon resembled one of those wind tunnels they use in laboratories to test aerodynamics. I recall that it was incredibly hard to concentrate on ‘Paradise Lost’ when my stomach was howling like the Hound of the Baskervilles. The identity of the Chicken Scandal culprit was all too obvious.

Another attribute I seem to lack is the ability to remember people’s birthdays. Why the hell is it I can remember the exact date every major war of the 20th century started, but not when my mother’s birthday is?. Hopefully the next world war will start on my mum’s birthday. It will doubtless be a catastrophic waste of human life but it will serve as a fantastic ‘aide de mémoire’.

I could list more but I think I suspect I would be here all day. All this leads me to the inescapable conclusion that moving in with my girlfriend is not –as is portray in men’s magazines- the beginning of my downfall. True it requires remembering to put the toilet seat down after I go to the bathroom and washing every piece of cutlery multiple times to guard against hordes of malignant germs. The appearance of an arachnid in the household is no longer a trivial incident, instead it is greeted with screams of ‘Humphrey!, there’s a spider in the bathroom!!’. I am now required to sally forth like Achilles to crush the offending insect -this feels slightly ridiculous but it does make one feel slightly heroic. After all the trials and tribulations of this year I finally feel the content I felt at St Andrews, plus that nagging feeling that I should be somewhere else has evaporated.

Whether I am moving up in the world is certainly a subject for debate. I have moved from the worst area of Nottingham (St Annes) to what is supposed to be the second worst area of Nottingham (The Meadows). This isn’t so much moving up as moving sideways. However, a cursory glance around my new neighbourhood tells me that whatever reputation this area has, it certainly isn’t deserved. My new home lies on a quiet Victorian terrace. The ‘Palais De Clarke’ is next to a vast playing field dotted with children who seem to all be playing cricket rather than sniffing glue. About a hundred yard walk from my house is the river Trent, which snakes its way along a pleasant tree-lined embankment. A little further along this route, and you come to well-maintained memorial gardens with fountains and rose-beds. If this is supposed to be a ghetto then my name is 50-Cent. I am far more likely to see joggers, Asian families and old biddys on my daily walk than I am to see crack-whores, gangstas and chavs -compared to St Annes this place is Beverly Hills.

‘Don’t forget to pack a bullet proof vest’, quipped the boyfriend of the girl who we are replacing as tenants as me and Katie left for an evening stroll. Later he was back, to store his valuables in our house for safe keeping because his house had been raided by pikey kids. Living in a ‘decent’ area is all very well but your stuff is much more likely to get nicked. In fact it seems to be something of an amusing pastime for the local criminals to rush across the Trent to the affluent West Bridgeford, steal a number of items and charge back again. The spirit of Robin Hood lives on it appears, and I for one am glad that I’m living amongst the merry men. As Voltaire would say, ‘everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds’.

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