Everything is All Sort of Happening at Once


As though to apologise for the barren deadlands of the Autumn, events are piling in like snowdrifts.

A lot of things are almost sorted: not rubberstamped, but getting there. New job, new flatmate, Master’s degree applications. Getting there.

New job: in my last post, I said: “I had a couple job interviews which I invested far too much in emotionally. Never heard back from one, which only prolonged the maybe-if. Shame though; I kind of fancied being a local librarian.”

Well, it looks like I underestimated the length of ‘never’. A full six weeks after my interview, the nice lady from Edinburgh Council called to offer me a part-time position at Leith Library. I’m currently jumping through all the hoops of PVG checks and such, so by the time I start in January it’ll probably be no less than three-and-a-half-months from interview to start. I guess that’s the council for you.

This is pretty exciting though. Libraries are awesome.

It also looks like I’ll be able to keep doing not only my current work-from-home job, but also move some of the work from my current go-and-sit-in-a-freezing-office job into a second work-from-home number. If this all comes through, then I could actually be able to afford bread and milk next year, which would be pleasant, to say the least.

That’s been a worry recently, mostly due to council tax. I’ve been trying for months to put money by for New Year shenanigans, but the taxman doesn’t seem to like that idea, and he’s been winning. First off I had an elongated stand-offconcerning council tax benefit, which I lost. And just when I’d more or less pulled things together after that, there was a new saga…

New flatmate: My flatmate Georgine recently decided to move out, and into a new flat with her boyfriend Marc. She advertised her room on Gumtree, and got a taker almost immediately. All fine and dandy (except that we’ll miss her, obviously, and that she took the biscuit tin). The taker was a friendly-seeming befringed chap, who we’ll refer to as ‘Sebastian’ by virtue of that being his fucking name.

Detect a note of spite? Yes, perhaps you do.

Georgine moved out on the 1st of the month, and we were all ready to welcome Sebastian in the same day – but then, the night before he was due to move in, Sebastian emailed our landlords to say that he wouldn’t be taking the room, and could he have his deposit back? By a fluke of disorganisation, he hadn’t signed the tenancy agreement yet, so he was able to walk away from the mess that he’d created without a mark on him.

Cue a disgusting period in which, facing the prospect of being the sole non-student in the flat, I was potentially looking at a further 50% on my council tax bill. First one, then another viewer turned the room down on the basis of just that – the high tax rate. Let’s just say I haven’t been sleeping too well.

(For any readers from abroad, council tax is a monthly rate paid to the council, calculated per property. Students, quite rightly, are exempt. However, instead of then charging non-students who live with students a reduced rate, the entire bill for the property is passed on to the non-students. You get a 25% discount if you’re the SOLE payer, but other than that you’re on your own. Effectively, I’m being punished to the tune of hundreds of pounds a year for choosing to live with people who go to university – a bizarre and cruel reverse-loophole.)

But now we have a new tenant, a chatty lad named Ewan, moving in on Friday. Hopefully. If it all goes Sebastian again I’m going say goodbye to everyone, take a mallet, and walk out into the street to break things.

So: new job, new flatmate, and hopefully I should have a couple of speculative MFA applications sent off in the next couple of days too. I’ve also got some extra work from the work-from-home which, though mindbogglingly dull, will just about write off the cost of those applications.

So while I’m still broke as the Eurozone for the moment, and I’ve not been able to get properly excited about Christmas or New Year at all, it now looks like I’ll be able to relax and enjoy them when they actually arrive. Fingers crossed!

(If anyone’s finding that my sporadic blogs over the past while have tended to blah on about things getting better, there’s a simple enough reason – I try to avoid whinging in blog-form, so when things start looking up, that’s the catalyst for me thinking “ooh, I should really get around to a blog post soon”. And, well, because exciting things are more fun to tell people about than glum things.)

More bloggery to follow soon, including some posts next month about Amsterdam and Berlin. Because, did I mention I’m going to Amsterdam and Berlin?

And possibly one about The Hobbit. I am quite excited about The Hobbit.

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