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Home Is Where…

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Tomorrow, I will have owned my flat for exactly two years and – despite cracks and leaks and dodgy doorbells – I love it.

However, this post is not about my (now our) current flat; I have plenty of posts about that planned for the future. This post is a slightly self-indulgent run down of all of the other places that I’ve called home since leaving… um… home back in 1995.

Let’s start at the very beginning.

When I first ventured out into the world, I moved into catered halls of residence. I don’t have a picture of my room (which was just a room with a bunch of film posters on the wall), but I do have a picture of the door to my room, beautifully adorned by my neighbours to welcome me back after a few days away:

Back in those days, vegetarian catering was basically baked potatoes and cheese night after night so after Christmas I moved into a self-catering flat in the same university-run complex. These show me getting my calcium fix in the kitchen and the noticeboard above the desk in my new room:

Ahhh, nineties grunge in all its plaid shirted glory. I stuck a poster back-to-front over the noticeboard and got my friends to draw on it when they came to visit.

During the summer holidays, my then-boyfriend and I moved into the cheapest flat we could find (there was no such thing as minimum wage in those days and I was working in a newsagency for £1.12 per hour). The flat was an illegal sublet of an illegal sublet of an illegal sublet of a council lease and we felt ever so naughty living in squalor whilst neighbourhood children set fire to things outside.

During second year, we lived in a dark, dingy university flat full of broken furniture. Unhappy times. I have no pictures of either of the places I shared with him because he ripped them all up when we split!

After that, I moved into a cruddy little bedsit which I loved. It was one room in a former house, had a window which wouldn’t close, an electricity meter which ran on discontinued coins and an ever-present smell which I now recognise as damp. I was sure I had pictures of the inside somewhere but apparently not, so here’s me sitting on the doorstep instead:

After that, I moved into Roddy’s flat for about six months. He was (actually, still is) a film and music and comic book geek and the flat was covered in STUFF:

For my final year at university, I got a room in a shared flat with two girls I didn’t know. My bedroom was an old bathroom stuck on the back of the building and then converted; it was smaller than a double bed and freezing – one of my flatmates (who never once spoke to me!) and I had a running battle of turning the heating on and off because her room was toasty warm and mine was an ice bucket. But I did have a cool Wayne’s World poster above my bed and a fab patchwork pillow:

After graduation, I moved to Edinburgh for six months. I was sharing an ace flat with three other girls; my bedroom was roughly the same size as my current flat but I don’t have any pictures of it. For some reason, I only have this picture of the fridge:

When I came back to Aberdeen, I stayed at Roddy’s again until I got my own council bedsit. I adored that bedsit – there was no soundproofing and the people upstairs kept carving crucifixes into my door, but it was pretty big and looked out onto a bowling green and it was mine, all mine:

Hmm, I’m glad I ditched the black hair! I had so much fun looking through old photos to create this post!

Anyway, after a year and a half in this bedsit, the council offered me a one bedroom flat in a really nice area. It didn’t feel right when I viewed it but the woman showing me round said I’d never get such a good offer again… so I accepted. Big mistake. The downstairs neighbour eventually drove me out. He had also (according to one of the other tenants in the block) driven out the previous three people who had lived there. And he was later jailed for murdering a neighbour who complained about his noise. Yikes. I have no photos of that place (but that’s probably for the best as I’d painted it mustard yellow).

After running away from there, I stayed with my boyfriend and his mate for a couple of months, and then the three of us and one of my friends moved into this enormous house in a really nice part of town. We got it cheap as the owners had been halfway through doing it up when they were transferred overseas; the living room and kitchen were lovely but the rest of the place was an absolute state. It was awesome:

After two years there, we were all ready to move on. My boyfriend and I got a large flat near by which, again, was cheap because it was a state. The living room was painted in a patchwork of small orange squares – eek!

I’d forgotten about the horrible fireplace! But yum, battenburg cake! I could really go some right now…

A year later, my boyfriend and I bought our own flat. It was in a seedy part of town and we had trouble with people getting into the communal area and using it for nefarious purposes, but the flat itself was beautiful:

We built those shelves out of window sills and were ever so proud.

Anyway, eventually we came to an amicable separation (we’re still friends) and I went off to first Edinburgh, then France, then to a friend’s sofa while I lounged on the council housing list again. Five years ago, it was possible to get a council flat within a couple of months if you were prepared to take somewhere in a dodgy area and didn’t mind having holes in the walls:

I was there for three years. In many ways, it was great. First of all, it was huge. Secondly, I was allowed to decorate and furnish it however I saw fit (this photo was taken early on; this flat was where I really started thinking about colours and carpets and so forth and it saw a lot of changes; the kitchen walls went sunshine yellow for a start). And thirdly, it was so cheap that within three years I was able to save up the deposit for a mortgage. This was perfect as three years was about the point at which I decided I was tired of water pouring through the bathroom ceiling every time it rained and that I wanted to be in control of my own home repairs.

And so, two years ago tomorrow I got the keys to my current place (and promptly changed the locks):

This one feels like home.

(some of these photos of me are so old I’m not 100% certain who took them but I think if I mention Roddy, Simon, Janet, Jill, Kirsty and my mum I’ll have covered all possibilities!)

7 responses »

  1. El and I were just commenting today how plaid shirts were becoming popular again…

    • Yeah, but nowadays I think they’re supposed to fit you properly and smell like they’ve been near a washing machine. The kids just aren’t doing them right.

  2. I have a couple, but they’re ironed, it’s just wrong!!

  3. Ah what a lovely journey to how you got your current flat!


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