Here I am, back in Hampstead, sitting once more on this lovely evening balcony.

I’ve mostly cleaned the flat, ahead of another Airbnb booking for my friend tomorrow that came through unexpectedly. I’m running a little low on good will where this is concerned, especially as the boiler isn’t working properly. When I show them the flat I say “oh and I’ll just show you this button on the boiler. One time a few weeks ago the hot water cut off, and I pushed this button – look this one here – remember it just in case because I just pushed it and it came back on immediately.” I can feel it going in one ear and out the other. I can’t tell them I know it’s going to happen. And then five days later I get a phone call. “Oh goodness me, has it happened again? I see. There was me thinking it was a one time thing. Oh deary. If I’d only known it was a repeated thing we’d have got someone in to look at it. Have you tried the button I showed you? You can’t remember which button. I could send you a photo? No. I can describe it? Or tell you the location? No? Oh you’d like me to come round. Of course you would. Wonderful. Well I’ll just do that then. I’m working all the hours that god made and I live in Narnia but fine. I’ll be with you this evening.” It happens either once a week, or whenever Bruce the boyfriend goes in to fiddle with the settings because he reckons there must be air con and that it must be operated from the same console as the central heating so if he twiddles with all the knobs then Man Make Cold Fire. Oh no, darling. Man Fuck Up. This is the UK. There’s no aircon. We all get a little hotter instead of making the climate a little hotter. Still, I wish my friend would fix the fecking boiler. I offered to get a plumber in. She says it’s the landlady’s responsibility and doesn’t want to pay. Even though she’s basically a landlady too. She doesn’t know what her landlady will make of this subletting and so thinks it’s better to keep it all clandestine and under wraps. I have to be careful when bringing people in not to have loud conversations in the stairwell about Airbnb. It’s all so bloody complicated.

Does everything really have to be so complicated? I don’t think it does, frankly. I think sometimes we just make things complicated for ourselves on purpose because we don’t think we deserve things to be simple. We do deserve for things to be simple, people. Most of us are kind. Life is tricky enough without us inventing reasons to make everything infinitely more convoluted. I do it as much as anyone. But right now I crave simplicity.

I’m off to see some plays written by children I’ve helped mentor. It’s with a charity called Scene and Heard – I think I’ve blogged about them before. They’re great. They’ll be a tonic because I’ll get to hang out with powerfully positive humans. Nobody volunteers for that job if they aren’t kind. Thank God. I’m feeling sad and happy, confused and alive, angry and fluid and odd. That gutsnake is still shouting up my neck. There’s a lot that needs shifting. But I’m leaving the house for the right reason. And I’ll get back to finish tidying properly.

Also don’t get me wrong, I thought we were done with flying ants day, nature. There’s one on my hat brim, one on my nipple and one in my drink. It’s as bad as the last time I sat on this balcony, when I wrote about them because I’d eaten one. Maybe there’s just a huge load of nests on Hampstead Heath. Little buggers.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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