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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

It's Wednesday and I'm still in Brighton. I'm not used to this. I had to physically stop myself driving back to Shotley Gate at 10pm last night.

But anyhoo, the sorting of my new flat is going well, and the good news is I'd been there for at least two hours on Monday morning before the police turned up. The nice young policeman who knocked on my door assured me it was nothing to worry about, but apparently there's a dead body festering in the flat next to me. Probably. All he was willing to tell me was that my nearest neighbour hasn't turned up for work recently, and his colleagues are worried about him, but I could tell by the way he banged on the door that we're looking at a major homicide case here. Not that I let it put me off cleaning the kitchen.

[Warning: outrageous national stereotyping and possible racism coming up] [although some of my best friends are black] [mostly cats, but even so]...

I'm beginning to think the previous owner was Chinese, as I've cleared enough grains of rice out of the kitchen cupboards to fill a small paddy field. I like a tin of Ambrosia as much as the next man, but I've found rice behind the fridge, under the sink, down the side of the cooker, and in every conceivable cupboard (that's if cupboards can be conceivable). I wouldn't mind, but some of them are so high that *I* can barely reach them, so if it was a Chinaman he clearly had access to stilts. Putting the Chinese State Circus high on my list of suspects. Either that or someone's recently held a wedding in my kitchen.

But having spent Monday morning cleaning, my parents arrived with a tub of magnolia paint, and I set my Dad to work on the bedroom walls while my Mum and I attempted to go and get me a resident's parking permit. Naturally they wouldn't give me one, as I couldn't provide any utility bills for my new address. I never thought I'd be so desperate to receive a demand for money. From there we went to B&Q for more paint, after we underestimated the amount required by about 300%, and I successfully bought a lock for the bathroom door. Which turned out not to fit and was a total waste of money.

Tuesday however was far more productive. And expensive. In the morning I signed up for super-fast broadband (so fast it won't be installed for two weeks), after which Mr Carpet Right came round, measured my flat, told me it was 44 square metres, told me the carpet I'd chosen was £5.99 per square metre, told me fitting was £2.30 per square metre, added it all up, and charged me £474. The mathematicians amongst you may notice a slight discrepancy there, but apparently it's all perfectly above board, and takes account of the fact that 'fitting' doesn't include things like delivery, glue, beer money, etc.

From there we went to Comet, where I strolled the aisles for five minutes before splashing out £480 on a washer dryer (or is it drier?) in an attempt to avoid having to get involved with rotary washing lines and clothes horses. The gap in my new kitchen is 23 1/2 inches wide, my new washer dryer, which is being delivered on Friday, is officially 23.6 inches wide, so I also need to buy some sandpaper.

Not content with spending half the national debt before 2pm, I then went on to the Martlets Hospice Furniture Showroom, and bought a secondhand sofa, presumably reclaimed from the home of a terminally ill pensioner, for £85. The front door of my new flat is only 25" wide, on account of the fact that you can legally rent out shoe boxes in Brighton, meaning that my current sofa won't fit in. Hence my purchase of a new slimline sofa... which probably won't fit in either. But hey, it's all for charity. We'll find out this time next week when they deliver it. Well, try to deliver it.

Anyhoo, I'm off back to my second home in Shotley Gate tonight. I have important packing still to do, and I simply must return. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that Royal Ascot is on this week and I don't have a telly in my new flat.