Flat Out

Photo of Henry Kelly hosting Going For Gold

As Henry Kelly might say, if I were a contestant on Going for Gold in 1990: “Robert, you’re playing catch-up.” So, what has been going on in the 20 months or so since I last blogged?

Back in August 2015, I had taken the plunge and rented a flat. Finally, a place to call my own, except it’s not really my own, it belongs to a landlord who didn’t allow any redecorating or hanging pictures on the wall.

I’ll be honest, I was scared. The life experiences of my first 32 years on Earth had conditioned me to believe that I couldn’t cope with being an adult, and all the boring things adults have to do for themselves: pay council tax, read electricity meters, cook, clean, maintain basic personal hygiene standards. It was a big adjustment, and it took some time for things to settle down.

OK… now what do I do?

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The building’s caretaker cheerfully informed me that “things had quietened down a bit since the heroin addicts upstairs moved out”, but it was not as peaceful as I would have liked. One weekend, not long after I moved in, I was woken up after midnight by a police raid on the flat across the hall from me. My neighbour did seem to have escaped from an episode of Shameless – he lost the keys to his front door, but got round that minor problem by climbing in and out of his living room window. He also ignored the apartment block’s “no animals” policy, keeping three dogs and a snake(!) in his tiny one-bedroom flat.

Meanwhile, my neighbour on the other side fancied himself as a heavy metal god, which was all well and good until he decided to give impromptu performances in his living room at 2am. It was enough to make me write a passive-aggressive note.

I did wonder what I had got myself into. Fortunately both sets of neighbours from hell moved out by the end of the year, and the replacements on both sides were far more agreeable.

I soon settled down, and started to properly domesticate myself. I went to IKEA, for goodness sake. I bought a canvas print with an inspiring quote on it! And there were PLACEMATS purchased.

Two years later, on 21st August 2017, I vacated the place. I did it with a heavy heart, because I was reasonably happy there. However, I did it with one eye on my future: it proved impossible to save any money when so much of it was being spent on rent. Going back to my parents’ place feels like a step backwards, but hopefully will help me in the long-term.


  • Having my Men of Germany sexy calendar on the kitchen wall.
  • Commuting from Cressington station, surely the prettiest on the Merseyrail network.
  • The chippy around the corner – not only was the food excellent, I worked out a combination of food items that came to exactly £10, pleasingly.
  • If I did not wish to wear pants, then pants did not have to be worn.
  • Inviting gentlemen for some naked cuddles (this happened far less often than I would have liked).


  • The thin walls which meant every sound from my neighbours came through loud and clear.
  • The storage heaters which helpfully kept the flat nice and warm while I was out at work but freezing by the time I got home
  • The alleyway I used as a shortcut from the station to the flat, where I had to dodge dog poo, dead rats, teenage boys smoking weed and, on one occasion, a stolen motorbike that had been dumped across the path.
  • The spiders. Oh, so many spiders. Where did they all come from?
  • The weird main entrance which had to be left open and unlocked all day for the postman to get in. SECURE!

Going back home feels like a step backwards in many respects, but this is only temporary while I take stock and work out what I want to do with my life, and how best to achieve it. Not having to pay out for rent and utility bills means I have lot more money to spare, and I intend to save up as much as possible.

My goal is to be out and living by myself again by the middle of next year. What exactly I will be doing by then is anyone’s guess.