I’m a bit of a destructivist journalist, as it turns out. I’m most excited writing about Sidmouth when bits of it are falling in the sea, or getting flooded – generally being swept away in one way or another. Or when the nimbies are up in arms against the council’s move across East Devon, with aged members of the communities in slinging matches with the councillors they voted in – plenty of gripping libel on our letters pages these days. Or when an MP (allegedly) tells a constituent he doesn’t have time ‘for this bullshit’. To be fair to him he had just been to the funeral of a district councillor’s teenage son’s funeral. Cracking story, if only he’d admit to it. MPs are slippery buggers – who knew?
The floods have made this place a bit of an island. The rain a couple of weeks ago meant there was no way in or out of Sidmouth, which put me in a unique position as the only hack here, the man on the street. Apparently it wasn’t as wild as July, but it has rained since then and there’s nowhere for it to go any more. The water table’s overloaded! So even though I had four days off this week (although I almost didn’t after cocking up the dates – I booked off last week but put this week down in my diary – thankfully my employers aren’t complete bastards), I ended up working again, but of my own volition – it was interesting to see the havoc the floods had wrought, plus Stefan said the nationals get off on photos of Sidmouth going to pieces, so there was the potential for some commission and exposure. I didn’t get an exclusive in the end. Other people apparently in town noticed what was happening.
My own housing is in turmoil, and it has nothing to do with the weather. I was all ready to move into a place in Exeter (an idea that I’ve got in my head now, since I was given the go-ahead to escape sleepy Sidmouth – the contrast with the buzz of Manchester’s been pretty stark), and I’d already taken half my stuff over, when literally an hour later it all goes down the pan. The guy, George, calls up to say that his great uncle had died and he was going to have to drop everything, defer his medical schooling and head home to Dubai. He was moving out, and as the sub-letter it means that I can’t move in. I did have some reservations about it being a bit extortionate, but I was in the city-living mindset, it came as a bit of a shock. It wasn’t George’s only surprise – I did some research (facebook stalked him) and found he knew one of my old housemates from Lancaster! Small world. I knew he was at med school too but never would’ve placed them together.
Yesterday I picked up the things I’d left in George’s house and was reluctant to unpack. It stayed in my boot because I’ve already been on gumtree and seen rooms available immediately. There was also an offer to live with my editor, but I foresee that being a weird dynamic, especially as his girlfriend is also a colleague. Still, it’s an option. Or I can stay here a while, see how the market looks in the new year.
I’ve got itchy feet now though.