Sunday, 9 May 2010

Time to move?

I've been looking at possible new flats for a while now. Whilst my current accommodation is lovely, its situation is a little unfortunate as it's right next to a park (bear with me, I know this is usually a Good Thing), which has benches just perfect for drunken parties, come the warmer evenings (some until 5.30 a.m., some with occasional harmonica accompaniment, many with singing - or it could be scuffling, it's difficult to tell). Come summer, we have a LOT of warm evenings here, and as the gatherings are pretty much underneath my bedroom window, I can't sleep properly. Now, I try not to get precious about my voice, but there are two basic things that singers need, and those are hydration and sleep.

So I was glad on Friday evening when the place provided me with yet another good reason to move. It's the doorbell, you see. Or rather lack of one - it stopped working during the ice storms before Christmas, and has never been fixed. I've asked the Hausmeister and his wife about it many times (it means that anything that comes by courier is sent back undelivered, which is annoying), but was presented with a series of excuses, starting with the cold weather and mutating recently into the entire system needing to be overhauled and they are looking into it...

I'd invited a couple of friends over for dinner on Friday. They hadn't met before, but I was hoping that a shared nationality would mean they got on. First friend arrived - as instructed, she rang when she was outside the door, and I buzzed her in. I fixed her a G&T (gin and tonic, for non-English types) and we went to guzzle our drinks, with a little background music and a few jokes. Eventually I thought, hmm, maybe I should ring my other friend, to see where she'd got to. I looked around. Drat, must have left the phone in the kitchen when I fixed our drinks. I retrieved the phone, saw a few missed-call notifications, and pressed "call". Only to be greeted by my poor friend in a slightly hysterical state. She'd managed to arrive on time - it must have been only a few minutes after my first guest - but her calls had gone unanswered (my fault - combination of background music, leaving the phone in the kitchen, having unwittingly turned the phone volume down, and (I must admit) assuming she was going to be late). However, evidently I'd not managed to replace the intercom phone thingy when I'd buzzed the external door open, because apparently, our voices upstairs were being relayed, albeit slightly muffled, to the outside world via the intercom system. The poor sod had been standing shivering outside in the cold, clutching her very nice bottle of Spätburgunder (did I mention I now have a passion for this grape?) and listening to us giggle and fail to answer the phone...

All I can say is, thank GOODNESS for friends with a sense of humour!!! As it happened, we had an absolutely glorious evening; once my original abject grovelling had been dealt with, I seldom recall so much laughter in one night. Wonderful! However, on my list of requirements for a new flat, along with peace and a bathtub, is now the need for a working doorbell.

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