Dot writes: I don’t want to move house in June. We like this flat. It’s big and light. We have space for all our stuff, including desk, beloved iMac, filing cabinet, nine bookcases (in addition to the two bookcases that were in the flat anyway), and the trunk with Ken’s parents’ names on that, frankly, has always been a headache to fit in everywhere else. OK, the storage could be better, we don’t have our own garden, and the downstairs neighbour doesn’t see why Hugh has to run up and down the corridor at 7am instead of playing quietly with a rubix cube or something, but basically we’re very happy here. And we’re ten minutes from the beach. Unfortunately, times being what they are, we are getting poorer and we can’t afford it any more.
Now, prices are coming down. We know quite a lot of people who’ve negotiated reductions in their rent, and we’ve seen similar properties in our complex advertised for a good 350 euro less than we’re paying. So we wrote to the letting agent some weeks ago pointing out that our contract was coming up for renewal and it wouldn’t be ridiculous to drop the price. But our landlord has chosen this very inopportune time to vanish. He’s not responding to emails or phone calls, he can’t be bearded in person as he lives in Texas, and the letting agent can’t lower our rent without his consent. So, very reluctantly, today we started viewing alternative properties.
Of the three we’ve seen today, one was a basement flat with lots of steep steps down to it and clearly impossible for a family with a buggy (Hugh and I visited this without Ken, as we knew it was a bit of a long shot). One was a sweet but teeny-weeny two-bedroomed house in Dalkey (v. desirable area, own garden, but where would we put all the bookcases?), and the other was another three-bedroomed flat in Ridge Hall. Right now, we incline towards the teeny-weeny house. The Ridge Hall flat is fine, but it’s basically what we have already only not quite as good – even less storage, darker, with a windowless kitchen separate from the dining room. It would be the practical solution but it would be so obviously a come-down. The house may only have two bedrooms and the kitchen is rather shabby, but it is nice in a different way to our current flat. The garden is sunny and amply big enough for a toddler to pound around in, and it’s just across the road from one of my best friends, not to mention within walking distance of the childminder (if we can still afford to send Hugh to her, which is another question). We could probably do with ruthlessly pruning our accumulated possessions. Also, there is storage space in the attic, which will mean we can use the rooms more efficiently. But when I think of trying to get the filing cabinet in – and where can Hugh’s tricycle live without constantly tripping us up? – and what will it be like on a rainy day with a two-year-old pinging off the walls and a newborn baby? – my heart does quail.
Please could someone Up There arrange to give Ken a fabulously lucrative Dublin-based philosophy job? Or at least a prod and a fit of generosity to our landlord? Just asking…