At the age of 41 I’ve started a new chapter in my dog-eared book of life. I no longer live alone. For the first time ever, I am living with someone else who isn’t a friend or family member. Or cat. That’s right, I’m living with an other half, a bloke, a boyfriend, a partner!
I underestimated how overwhelming it would be when 20 boxes of crap (otherwise known as his life belongings) were dumped in my spare room slash office.
I was surprised to see he’d packed a lot of stuff in shoeboxes. He claimed it was to save his back. He photographs miniature toys so it was fascinating to watch him pull out dolls’ house toilets or tiny Victorian clocks as well as dancing dogs and Star Wars characters. Even more fascinating, and slightly frustrating, was to see him ‘empty’ a box by taking a few things out, putting them on the side and pouring the rest into another box.
As we unpacked his DVDs, some of which had rather dubious content (he called it arthouse, I called it porn: we settled on porny arthouse) and put half of them in a carrier bag destined for the charity shop, I realised this was a big deal.
No more wistful goodbyes as we both went to our own homes. No more watching exactly what we want to on TV (strange in this day and age, but we only have one). But hello dinner on the table after a busy day at work and being able to reach the stuff at the top of the kitchen cupboards.
We had a wonderful bookshelf unit made by Walthamstow-based artist and carpenter Jonathan O'Dea. As we unpacked box after box of books, I realised we’d need some more. I bit the bullet and gave away 10 years’ of Living Etc magazines to make room for MASH and the A-Team boxsets. Don’t tell me I don’t know how to compromise.
Today’s the fourth day of cohabiting bliss and already I’m learning lots of new things about my other half. He thinks any small box is worth keeping as "it might come in useful.” And his idea of heaven is watching the Come Dine With Me omnibus in a pair of trackie bottoms. What have I let myself in for?