I'm genuinely quite excited about flathunting again. This is naïve, I know, like the way women block out the pain of childbirth in order to be able to put themselves through it more than once, but still I am excited. After three years in the same house, during which I've watched it become steadily more derelict and mold-encrusted, its cupboards more full of unclaimed carbohydrates and its plugholes more full of unidentified hair, it's time to move on. Of course, my "pastures new" are most likely to be a woodchipped maisonette above a takeaway, but it's wistful all the same.
This point of the flathunting process is definitely the good bit. It's the bit where you can still dream of stripped wood flooring and Edwardian fireplaces and a neighbour who just 'happens' to be a Calvin Klein model. When you can say things like, "three floors up with no lift will be fine, we could use the exercise" and actually believe them. Before the estate agent brethren come and piddle on your property parade.
Estate agents are my third least favourite people to deal with, after beauty counter assistants and the men who work in Phones 4U. I can barely recall an encounter with an estate agent that hasn't left me wanting to gnaw my own arm off and drown it in a pool of my tears. This summer's going to be an especial bundle of fun because I get to deal with a double dose of them - one lot trying to find me the new place, and the other lot (let's call them Incompetent, McLiars and Sons) - trying to avoid giving me my deposit back from the one I'm currently living in.
I anticipate having a lot of conversations that go like this:
Squeaky-voiced youth named Dwayne: "We've got a two-bed in Wapping for £500 a week that we think you'll be very interested in."
Me: "Really, how so? Because there are three of us…"
Dwayne: "It has a very spacious downstairs loo."
Me: "…and Wapping's about an hour away from where we're looking, isn't it…"
Dwayne: "Excellent transport links."
Me: "…and £500 seems to be stretching our budget to accommodate a moon launch."
Dwayne: "Did I mention the light fittings?"
Me: "What about the light fittings?"
Dwayne: "Well. It has them."
But, like women with their babies, I fully believe that two months of being idiot-adjacent will all feel worth it in the end. When I hold that key in my cradled arms, I will know that I'm home. And provided there's a patio to bury Dwayne under, I think we'll be very happy.