Hee has moved out. This has brought residency levels in the house down to normal, as well as increasing the average level of normality of housemates.
Claire has also moved out, making the house feel rather empty and less prone to bursts of Beyoncé between 5 and 8pm. All that remains of her presence is a Rugratz Chuckie doll on one of her shelves.
My pond has gone, along with the nicer of the two rockeries.
I don't link Hee to this, apart from the likely fate of the plants in the rockery being used to make more brain-enhancing pills, now heading for the lucky people of Winchester. I would blame Hee for Claire's going, but hopefully not in an axe-murdering kind of way. Maybe it was the other way round. Hopefully.
Khalil, the Astrophysics finalist to whom I leant my PS2 whilst away, has turned out to be the first housemate since I moved to Hatfield that I can actually talk to.
Which is nice.
When the guy delivering Khalil's evening kebab (this is how classy this chap is) asked after our spare room for one of his employees, it hit me that I've been living here the second longest, and just how shit this type of houseshare is. I hate the fact that the only social area in the house is the kitchen...the fact that there's no lounge or eating area. But the problem is that the old lounge and dining room are now my bedroom, which is cool.
But crap as well, if you follow me.
Victoria really bloomed while we were on holiday. She has a new line in bigger, redder and hungrier-looking leaves, and a nine-inch stem was rising up from the middle with five or six pale yellow buds spiking off the end.
It had flowered by the time I padded into the kitchen yesterday morning, so I now have wonderful thing in a glass in my room - the flower of a carnivorous plant.
Life is a strange and beautiful thing.
Beans Means Grinds
I have recently made a few small capital investments, in the form of a cafetiere and some quality ground coffee. I might take the next step and get a grinder and beans for that fresher, sharper taste. I mean, coffee has always been and interest, nay, passion (nay, addiction)(nay, er...), so why the hell not?
Alice's Spanish flatmate Nadia has a full-blown coffee machine that I haven't seen used since she moved in. It has black plastic, lots of knobs, dials and buttons, and pieces of shiny chrome sticking out at surprising angles. I'm itching to play with it.
Broadsheet Blogread: Great Expectations
When I recieved my cards and gifts on the morning of my 21st birthday, I cried.
Not in a 'New Man' kind of way, nor was I emotionally overwhelmed at the three cards my new Leamington postman was sarcastically shovelling over the threshold.
I was disappointed in myself.
I'm the kind of person given to taking 'thinking about something' to a level that most people would probably feel is a bit far. If I can be bothered to worry about something, I really go for it. If something interests me, I will think about it (for periods of up to 30 seconds) on and off for years. The more enduring of these trains of though have become almost a part of me.
One of the things that has occupied me in idle moments across the years is whether or not I would recognise an older version of myself if I time-travelled back to the present to say hi. Would I be able to pick out a snotty-nosed seven year old me from the horde of other seven year olds? Probably. But then what would that seven year old make of the man I've become?
Why the seven year old me? Well because at that time, I was utterly convinced of my own potential. I was a superlative youngster, amazing, intelligent, kick-ass (although I would never have used this word at the age of seven. 'Ass' is naughty. I would probably have put my bottom lip behind my upper teeth and gone 'Uuuummmmmmmm' at this point) forthright and I was going to do great things. My ego was at a youthful peak, when the teacher and myself were the only two people in the class who could spell 'compromises', I had never made any, and believed I would never have to.
He would be shocked at my drinking, my debts. He wouldn't care about my tales of girlfriends, but I like to think he would shruggingly accept my assertion that girls get more important when you get older.
He would have a low opinion of my scruffy hair. His is smooth, straight and bouffy. He has a tendency to lose his v-necked jumpers when using them for goalposts on the rare occasions he plays football at lunchtime. Other times he just wanders around with Matt or Michael and Olav, not doing very much. He would be annoyed that I still lose things absent-mindedly, and that I wander around at lunchtime, reading Joyce, James and Hemingway, surfing the net, not doing very much.
Most certainly he would be disappointed that I still haven't gotten a book up to a standard we would both be happy with.
The 21st birthday is a biggy. It doesn't stand for much in this country any more, but it still represents the invisible line between legal adulthood and that true 'Oh shit, I'm a grown-up!' realisation.
On that rainy morning on the 10th of October 2001, my seven year old self took possession again for a few minutes. In he breezed, wondered, in passing, why on earth anyone would need to own three dressing gowns, took a quick look at the state of play of his 21-year-old self's life, and rather understandably lost it.
Second year of University. Far from the smartest kid in class any more. Tiny...cheap but tiny room. Grey and rainy day. A newly-ill Mother. Neither fending nor cooking for myself with any kind of competence and sickeningly reliant on borrowing, and after a year of student life even my 21 year old self wasn't happy with that. My inner seven year old took it all in, and then began my rather disconcerting reaction to my landmark birthday, confusing the hell out of my girlfriend of the time.
In lots of ways, both definable and indefinable, I feel I'm in a completely different place to that day, three years ago.
I've graduated with a 2:1, got myself a job, moved out, started a different life. There is a good novel on, under, and within arm's reach of my desk, and even if it's not as good as I feel I can do, that's more than my seven year old self has done. He hasn't even got a girlfriend, the snotty little oik. I'm still learning and growing, but at my own pace now. I still run, still fall, still seem to have fun through it all, but now it's on my terms, and I'm reaching in all the directions I like, ways that I've chosen.
So even if my seven year-old self does happen to drop in next Friday, I don't think it will be a crying occasion.