For someone who's spent 25 years living in a shoebox, I'm adapting pretty well to the West End bubble lifestyle.
I'm writing this in my bright, spacious office. I've just had lunch in my sun-drenched dining kitchen. And if I weren't in the middle of having a new cornice installed, this evening I'd probably be entertaining friends in my palatial front room. After a few drinks, I might even organise an impromptu ceilidh in the hall.
In my London shoebox, my office, kitchen, living room, bedroom and ballroom were the same (bijou) space. If I were a workaholic, this might have created a nasty work/life balance problem. Fortunately, I'm a lazy creature (if I weren't so indolent, I'd go out and get myself a 'skiver' tee shirt) and had only to contend with a minor getting-off-the-sofa-and-not-having-another-cup-of-tea problem.
Of course, as well as the constant proximity of the kettle and biscuit tin, there are other advantages to having a small flat. It's easy to heat and quick to clean, and doesn't demand curtains long enough to dress any number of von Trapps. You're never more than three paces from your mobile, and if you have to change a lightbulb, there's no need for a ladder; you can just stand on a chair - or simply don your most vertiginous pair of platform shoes.
Even a giant would struggle to reach the light fittings in my new home. When I walked through the front door for the first time, I experienced a brief moment of panic. Without any furniture, the place looked enormous. What have you done? I asked myself. The idea that I was responsible for maintaining and furnishing such a property seemed incredible. It was like being put in charge of a large animal - a giraffe or woolly mammoth perhaps - without any obvious means of controlling it.
As soon as the shops opened the next morning, I went out and bought a tall step ladder. With seven feet of lightweight aluminium tucked under my arm, I felt like a new woman - the sort of woman who has a spare bedroom and a cutlery drawer. Armed with my ladder, I could change lightbulbs, unhook curtains and dust top shelves. I could keep a woolly mammoth as a pet. I walked home feeling invincible (and miraculously managing not to knock any small children into the path of oncoming buses).
But although it didn't take long to become comfortable with the scale of my tenement house, I'm still not entirely used to it. The new cornice that's a perfect size for my front room, for example, looked outrageously big on the showroom wall. I had to go back three times before I could finally believe it was right.
From ornate plaster cornices to tea trays, large household items can have alarmingly large price tags. It's easy enough to find a small rug that feels like a snip, but its six by ten foot cousin is a different matter. I enjoy hunting for secondhand bargains, whether on eBay or at the Barras, but furnishing my Glasgow palace is going to be the work of a lifetime.
Sadly - however long you wait - you won't find gas and electricity in a junk shop or on Gumtree, and so I'm being resolutely puritanical about not switching on my heating. When it started to get cold in September, I vowed to leave it off until October. But October's been balmy, so now I'm aiming for November. Having bought a pair of sheepskin slippers, maybe I'll even hold out till December.
In fact, if I don't learn to keep my mobile handy, I might just keep warm enough by running from room to room to answer it. At least that option's available to me. For anyone less able-bodied - let alone on a lower income - the prospect of further gas price rises must be causing anxiety. Because as every freelance writer knows, sitting still for any length of time can leave you feeling very cold indeed.
Luckily for me, my number one displacement activity is walking. (Yes, it's even better than not getting off the sofa.) So when my fingers start to freeze over my keyboard, I take myself out for a good, brisk walk along the Kelvin path and back through the Botanics. Glasgow's green spaces are especially beautiful at this time of year. What better way to warm up for another cup of tea and a Tunnock's wafer?
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