Living Arrangements

Posted on Tuesday 3rd April 2007 at 00:00
Over the last few days I've been puzzling over some ideas about the level of affection one has for the house and the area in which they live. This has come about because on Sunday I moved back home for the Easter holidays.

Despite my best efforts over the last three years, I've been unable to stop myself from noticing how much more I like Yateley and my family home than any of the three places I've found myself living in since I came to Bristol at the start of my degree course.

Granted, I have things pretty sweet when I'm at home. My house here is large, modern and well decorated. It is situated a little way from the nearest main road and we have a large garden. There is ample drive space for the four (soon to become five) cars parked outside, the neighbours are pleasant, quiet and very much detached from us. Basically it is as good a place to live as you are likely to find in suburbia. The town is also rather lovely, being more of a village than anything, with not too much traffic, little crime and more than your average number of parks and greens.

Bristol on the other hand does not have any of these qualities. Despite living on a supposedly quiet street, hidden away down the back of Fishponds, I find it noisy, dirty, crowded and often rather intimidating. The house is also nothing to be looked twice at, with a badly paved over front 'garden' and a back that doesn't exactly shout out 'Alan Titchmarsh? when you step outside. The house itself is old fashioned, in a dreadful state of repair and full of unexpected holes in all sorts of odd places.

It is perhaps not surprising therefore that I like my Yateley home a lot more. But is it really that simple? Do I only like Yateley because I've been to Bristol or did I like it before? Given that Bristol is a fairly average place, will I find that where I live in the future will be met with a similar disapproval?

I guess what I'm really trying to work out is do I like Yateley more because it is where I grew up and have most of my memories, in which case I might well never be as at home anywhere else again, or do I like it because it is a nice place and because it is my full time home, where as Bristol is not as nice and only temporary, in which case I will hopefully hold a lot more affection for my future home once I find somewhere that I like, in a place that I like and decide to settle down there.

I think one of the key points is control. I have no say in the house in Bristol. I can't paint the walls, change the carpets or install a porch light so people can spot the door bell when visiting at night. It is an ugly building and I can't do anything to change it. When I finally own somewhere of my own I'll be able to mould and shape it to suit my tastes, whatever they may be. Even renting as a graduate will allow me choice of some nice flats, not the scabby houses given to students to dwell in.

Perhaps the most valuable thing I'll take away from uni, when I eventually leave, is a firm idea of what I do and don't want my living situation to be like in the future. It is practically a life ambition to find somewhere as nice as my family home. If I can do that, I know I'll have made it.

Because let's face it, there are few things worse than living in a place that doesn't make you happy.

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