It’s said that we sometimes forget the pain involved in certain activities; childbirth, for example. I’ve never experienced that myself, for one very obvious reason, but the pain of searching for a new place to live is swiftly coming back to me now.
I had five viewings booked in on Thursday. I got to see two of them. I’m a bit unclear to the first three; the agent was late to the first booking, to the extent that it blurred into the second and third – which he skipped over in the belief that another property was the right one for me … except that we couldn’t get inside because the lock and the key were having a fundamental disagreement and refused to work with each other. We parted company after that, and I began to wonder – after the experiences I’d had two years ago and now this time around – whether I was cursed.
But, one pleasure was that I could introduce my son to the world of viewings. He was entranced at the possibility of helping to find our next home; it’s the first time he had the opportunity to get involved in a house move, and he lit up at the prospect. We’ve had two viewings together over the course of the weekend (it was meant to be three, but one got taken off the market fifteen minutes before we were due to arrive – that’s something, I suppose), and I’m guiding him to look for the good and the bad in each potential viewing. Bryan seems to be something of a connoisseur; in the second flat, he went first into what would have been “his” bedroom, and he immediately spun on his heels and shook his head.
“What?” I asked – I hadn’t even got through the door at this point.
“There’s not enough room to swing a cat,” he reliably informed me, “and you promised I could have a bigger bed.”
I peered inside; to his credit, it was far too small, but it’s possible I’ve unleashed a monster.
To recover from all of this exploration, we adjourned to a local park so that Bryan could let off some excess energy, and I fell into conversation with a mum who had taken her daughter there. As it turned out, we were both single parents, and she noted that it was rare to meet a single, full-time dad. She’s right, of course; it is rare, but what pleased me was her response; there was genuine curiosity, but a warmth to it that I appreciated.
I’ve had a couple of occasions where I’ve been considered “unusual” – well, there are many times in my life where I’ve been unusual, but that’s the subject of another column – in terms of being a single dad. I, of course, don’t care what the perceptions of me are, but I was pleased to see that Bryan was just … comfortable. He didn’t bat an eyelid when he heard it being discussed, and I took that as a positive; he’s seeing our family as normal, which of course it is, so why would he worry?
A little less worry in all our lives would go a long way, I’m sure you’d agree. Moving house, therefore, might be counter-intuitive … but I’ve never done anything by halves.