We have a home! Despite my general negativity towards social media, we have our beautiful new home because a living angel responded to a desperate Facebook plea. So it does work for forces of good sometimes after all.
I have had many realisations since our move at the beginning of November – mainly that I don’t hate Chorlton like I thought I did, I just hated living in an area that left me feeling like an utter failure, surrounded by people who have more than we could ever dream of having. All our lives we are told that if you work hard then you will be rewarded but I started to see that this wasn’t at all true – my partner and I work just as hard (if not harder) than some people and I suppose I was just trying to figure out why some people seemed to Do Life better than we are doing.
We have moved to an area which some people in Chorlton enjoy being negative about – more than likely having never actually ventured up here, but I guess being disparaging about this area makes them feel better about paying crazy money for their houses in a different part of Chorlton less than 5 minutes drive away. I have never quite understood the attitude towards this area – I know that there were social problems here during some of the less favourable periods of Manchester’s history, but I have lived in Chorlton for over a decade and I don’t recall any major issues on this estate in that time. So far we have found it to be peaceful and friendly…and we have a neighbour who occasionally blasts out Roy Orbison which is an added bonus in my eyes.
The contrast between our previous domestic life and our new life is pretty much immeasurable. I know it sounds like a crass comparison, but our old home was akin to a Delhi slum when compared to the gilded palaces that surrounded us. We lived on the same road as a bloody TV chef so I always felt like a bit of an interloper. Without seeing our old house, I know it is hard to comprehend but it truly was not an easy or enjoyable place to live in. It was only after we started to move out that we found out about the asbestos in the ceiling and learnt that it was structurally unsafe. Our old home also seemed to be the wasteland at the centre of never-ending loft conversions, fancy extensions and general home improvements all around us. This only served to make me feel more like one of life’s losers – I couldn’t afford a home there full stop, let alone be able to return the favour of the never-ending noise of hammering and drilling.
We lived in that house because it was cheap. And by cheap I mean it was half rental price it could of been if it had been structurally safe and didn’t have massive cracks across the ceiling and walls or if it had a kitchen without slugs or if it had glass in the windows which fitted the frames or if it didn’t have an ancient boiler which I lived in fear of. But for the privilege of paying less rent, we had to do everything in that house ourselves (even asking the landlord’s agent to get our dodgy ancient boiler service was laughed at). Like I said, it was not a happy place to return to at the end of a busy day at work.
When my partner and I look back we wonder why we stayed there for so long. It seems like utter madness now that we live where we do. Although we are paying more for our new home, it is worth every penny – sometimes being forced into making a decision works out for the best.
But the most eye-opening realisation during this whole moving house episode has been other people’s reactions when I tell them where we have moved to. Over the last month I have seen a wide range of sad, pitying looks, alongside looks of abject horror and have heard a range of high-pitched ‘Why?!’s and ‘Oh no!’s from people who seem to have mistaken this part of Chorlton for Aleppo. I set them straight, of course, but what I really want to say is that just because I can’t afford to pay 350 grand for a terrace house (and don’t even want to), it does not make me a lesser human being than you.