08 October, 2008

A Home at the End of the Randomers

It's been a long time coming, but is no less sweeter for it. In about a month, myself and Megan plan to get a place together. It's going to be so special, I just cannot wait.

The list of reasons how this will improve my life is endless. No more living with strangers, no more dead phones, no more sour milk. And it will come together so easily for something so great - in jest, I've decided we will need just a blanket and two wine glasses to make our teeny place home!

But trully it will be fantastic - we already enjoy all of our free time together, and now we will have all our stuff in one place. I've had a few funny instances already of showing up to work wearing whatever's lying around where I rise and hoping no one will notice. My nice new runners with orange shoelaces don't help in this regard!

Of course me being the broody type, I'm already reminiscing about my eight years and one month of single man rentdom. Feeling distinctly upbeat about it all - it's the end of one era and the beginning of quite another that looks very rosy indeed. The move makes me feel better about being 27, proud in fact of what I've experienced and achieved since I packed my bags and left the family home in Scholarstown in September 2000.

So to mark the occasion, I've prepared a little run-down of the happy shacks, drinking dens, boltholes and shitholes that I've called my own over the years.

1. 364 Charlemont, Griffith Ave, Marino
Timeline: Sep '00 - June '01, Sep '01 - June '02
Lineup: me, Ian, Ollie, James (year one), Tim D (year two)
Soundtrack: U2's All That You Can't Leave Behind

John still says he's 'Charlemont 'till I die'! We had some legendary parties here, including the notorious 'fish face' incident (sorry AO'C if you ever see this) in which Gar shagged a classmate of mine on the windowsill of my tiny single room - in the middle of the party. I was left half a bottle of Jameson by way of compensation!

I also remember listening to David Kitt's debut 'Small Moments', consuming large cups of tea/coffee/soup/cereal in Gar's giant Homer Simpson mug and a having lots of conversations that we thought were highly intellectual but which I realise now were more about the delight of self-actualisation in the making.

2. C 29 Batiment B1 RC, Ponsan Bellevue, Cité Universitaire Paul Sabatier, 115 Route de Narbonne, 31400 Toulouse
Timeline: August '02 - December '02
Lineup: me, with Julie-Anne in the next building. And Rachid the happy-go-lucky chocolatier sleeping on the floor for an extended period
Soundtrack: Coldplay's 'A Rush of Blood To The Head'

Yes, the address is a bit of an eyesore, but so was the accomodation. I remember being tickled by what I could now call my first intercultural joke in another language - I nicknamed the residence Ponsan Mauvaisevue and got a hearty laugh from French, Irish, Polish and German people present.

Great fun though, and perfect for getting out to class and out of the house to experience southern France. My room was so tiny, with a bidet I filled with cold water to act as a fridge and a mini-kettle that proved so popular it became known as 'Le Salon du thé de Bill'. The wine from a then-alien Lidl was comically cheap with a surprisingly high hit-rate.

2. 71 Shanliss Way, Santry
Timeline: January '03 - July '03
Lineup: me, Ian, Ollie, Julie-Anne
Soundtrack: Damien Rice's 'O'

The one with all the wine! Came back from France a permanent oenophile. My room greatly improved to a back-garden facing double, but I had a hot water tank next to my pillow which gave me serious sweats. Around the time I gave up smoking for two months it was like the scene from Trainspotting, I was crawling on the ceiling! Also home to 'the poetry corner', a cosy reading spot with armchair and lamp where Ollie would read stories from the hearth!

3. 59 The Maples, Clonskeagh
Timeline: August '03 - August '04
Lineup: me, Tim, Liam
Soundtrack: Muse's 'Absolution'. And the theme tunes to 'Gladiator' and 'Lord of the Rings'

The home of drinking, DVDs and Dominos. Anybody who says students drink the most never came to this place and saw 'Moosehead Mountain'! Some great parties as well as plenty of late nights after the pub. Gin and tonic was so prevalent it may as well have been invented here!

I had a spacious double with an ensuite bathroom, happy out. Also home to the craziest hooch collection yet seen, a box of party hats and the occasional ferret. As well as the largest collection of DVDs a 'coffee table' has ever held and a host of computer game consoles and other gadgets. Just don't mention 'Top Gun'.

4. 123 Morehampton Road, Donnybrook
Timeline: August '04 - December '04
Lineup: me, Maria and some seven others
Soundtrack: Keane's 'Hopes and Fears' and The Killers' 'Hot Fuss'

Like Bono's 'The Million Dollar Hotel', but without the money. Four floors of down and outs, miscreants, Finnish booze junkies, a middle-aged alcoholic with a non-stop cough, and even the occasional homeless person in the sometimes unpadlocked laundry shed. Watched lots of Channel 4 News and left-wing movies. And lost my shirt on gourmet ready-to-go meals from Donnybrook Fair. But never let it be said that 13 people (including couples) cannot share one kitchen. It happened.

5. 45 Lr Churchtown Road, Churchtown
Timeline: December '04 - April '05
Lineup: me, Micheal the waiter, Becks the waitress, Don the sap. And an alsatian.
Soundtrack: The Arcade Fire's 'Funeral' and U2's 'How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb'

Still probably my best ever bedroom - I got the master, complete with writing desk and fireplace. The family owners had just moved out so the greenery was impressive, even if the narrow back garden was dominated by my housemate's huge dog and terminated with the Green Luas Line.

Very comfortable place and location - 14 mins to St Stephen's Green - but we had to leave after the landlord flipped over the mess the dog made and kicked us out so she could redecorate. Prior to that she issued us a four-page handwritten cleaning list under the headings 'Immediate', 'Urgent' and 'General'. Monica eat your heart out.

6. 14 Cumberland Row, Britain Place, Dublin 1
Timeline: April '05 - April '06
Lineup: me, Guillaume, Kavo, Leona
Soundtrack: Sigur Ros' 'Takk...' and my burgeoning stock of music DVDs

The one with all the Chinese students. Only six apartments in my block-within-a-block, but there must have been more than 20 different faces going in and out. This two-bed was the best-looking modern apartment I've lived in, and I benefitted from another ensuite. Great to be so central as well - I'm surprised my Cineworld Unlimited card didn't warp from overuse. Although the hobos and junkies were never too far away.

The rolling stock of flatmates was good and bad. 'Word of the Day' conversations around a dictionary and wine and cheese with Guillaume tops the list, along with music and beers with Kavo, the provider of bootlegs. On the downside, there was the first girl I can't remember the name of with her individually washed & dried petticoats that ultimately resulted in an upaid ESB bill for a whopping €450, and Leona the loud and fussy country lass who thought she was charming but definitely wasn't.

7. Apt 4, Seabury, Sydney Parade Avenue, Sandymount
Timeline: April '06 - April '07
Lineup: me and Agnes
Soundtrack: Radiohead bootlegs from '97 and '03, as well as Muse's 'Black Holes and Revelations' for jogging

My 'spoil yourself' period! €675 a month for plush Dublin 4 two-bed with house cleaner, call-to-your-door driving lessons, the King of Belgium's coffee from Sandymount village, the cheeses of Tesco Merrion and regular-ish jogs on adjacent Sandymount Strand. The DART was super-handy for getting in to town, and of course the 15 min walk to work was hard to beat.

Agnes the fortysomething French waitress was good at sharing vegetables and smoking indoors, but bad at the sight of crumbs on the table - she thought they were the end of the world, zut alors! We took delight in the size of this 1970s pad, which was built before Ireland knew what an apartment was and consequently about twice the size of the ground floor of an average house. It even had a separate sun room we used for drying clothes and a full size dining table. And where was the last place you saw that had 'visitors' parking'?!

8. 177 Moyville, Rathfarnham
Timeline: April '07 - Present
Lineup: me and Mick, and two screaming children one night a week
Soundtrack: Radiohead's 'In Rainbows' and Caedmon's Call

The bargain after the splurge! To make room in my discretionary spending for Lenny the green Ford Ka, I downsized to no-less-leafy D16, where I ended up with half a three-bed house for €450, all bills included.

Sure, my housemate's quite loud, but he also keeps to himself and generally never complains about anything. Plenty of Friday night dashes to the cinema or pub to avoid the marauding small people, but few problems otherwise. Great access to all the old spots of my childhood and adolescence, and many fun trips up the mountains for a Guinness or two with Gar and Gargan.

Most notable also for all the fun times with Megan in the last seven months and 25 days, which brings us back more or less to where we came in. Four years of friends, four years of randomers, and now a home at the end of it all. A toast to the good times of the early and mid-twenties, and roll on the late twenties!

1 comment:

megan said...

aw, reading it, i actually teared up. so many houses! seems like an exercise i ought to do, myself - cathartic, to say the least. i can't wait to live with you, darlin'.