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Home ownership

  Tue 27th March 2018

5am in Amsterdam airport, and a swaggering bullyboy security guard, followed deferentially by two tamer and more considerate colleagues, is poking at my comrades in sleeplessness curled up on the floor.

Trina picked me up from Manchester and drove us back to Lancaster. I wondered how Lidia and Hera were coping with the extra classes I had shrugged on to them, whilst cowardly relieved that the SIM card transmitting her reactions lay snapped in a litter bin in Astana.

She stopped the car outside my house. Reducing the power of the gesture's effect by mistakenly dangling a key to a bike lock rather than that to a front door, she turned to me and made an announcement. "Let me give you the keys to our house." She'd bought my house, offering £10,000 more than its asking price.

I feigned delight and performed a hug. "You've bought it? Wow! Fantastic," I said, smiling through my detachment. Possession, her project for me from which she will never tire.

We drank Prosecco and I chewed over the news, unsure whether it was silly to be robbed of having to deal myself with the imminent termination of my licence. It felt like hers straight away; me, a licensed squatter.

Going upstairs, I saw that she'd already moved some boxes of her stuff into the smaller bedroom. "You don't mind if I stay here in the interim, do you? Until it all gets finalised?" Without mentioning anything to me, she'd moved in.

We had a couple of days in which I went along with her cohabitation fantasy, which was suddenly all too real, but which I find oppressive almost straight away. Texting me from town one day, she came out with the unwonted (and unwanted) suggestion that I show her a few new things in bed. Trina enjoyed the bland, obvious sex we used to have, but more than a year has passed since the last time I dismounted from her, ashamed at myself for having availed myself of her, and an absurd sense of infidelity to Wendy. I have no desire for Trina, least of all after her unilateral takeover of what is still legally my house for another couple of weeks.

Things soon reverted to drunken type. On Tuesday we had one of those arguments for which it is impossible to trace the source, where one wishes in retrospect that one could have identified the tipping point into hostility, so as to deflect it. She ratcheted herself up to a tirade of frustration and aggression. Too used to this by now to offer any opposition or self-defence, I nodded my way through it, wondering at what point she was going to get in her car and drive a risky ten miles to her boat on the back of a bottle-and-a-half of wine.

Moments after she had slammed the front door to do so, pausing only to rip her birthday card to me into pieces on the way out, Wendy rang. I related what had happened. "You've got to get out of this co-dependency looby. She's dangerous."

To my shock, the front door was suddenly flung open, and there stood a raging, drunken Trina. I fumbled to switch off the phone, making myself look guilty. "You're talking too loudly," she said. "I know who you're talking to, I know fucking well who it is." I readied myself and sat down in the armchair as she stood arched over me with clenched fists, yelling slightly misheard phrases from my conversation with Wendy.

I managed to persuade her not to drive home. She had a couple of glass-shuddering slams of the kitchen door, before returning for a couple of repeats of her somewhat imprecise moral criticism of me. Thinking her temper had run its course, I fetched a quilt and lay down on the sofa, but half an hour later she was standing over me again, with a coda of a stream of abusive repetends. "You're a fuckwit, a twat, a total twat, you fucking little shit. You can get out on 6th [the end of my term]." She finally went upstairs; from there, I could hear her sobbing and cursing both herself and me.


The following day I was meeting Wendy. As usual her lips deftly refused at the last moment; she sat opposite me, which is too far away. The precision of distance.

After the lour of Trina, being with Wendy was like being able to breathe again. She told me that she gets looked at less now. "I know you look at me, but you see me through rose-coloured spectacles." "I see you absolutely clearly Wendy." She told me about momentary fantasies of killing The Little Dictator's father.

At her suggestion, which chimed with my own curiosity about the man, I have started writing to her Dad. Three pages came without effort. I opened by introducing myself as the latest in the long line of men who have become smitten with his witty, intelligent, literate and gorgeous daughter, before going on to an account of my time in the Gulag. "He was made up to receive it, but T-- [his wife] found it unsettling. She's not used to someone being so self-disclosing." She's probably from Lancashire.

Wendy correctly predicted that Trina would be winding herself up for another onslaught of bitter, groundless jealousy, but we shunted such thoughts away. She walked sexily up to the bar, and returned with a flourish of two large ports.

And so it was. We had arranged that I would help Trina move some stuff onto her boat, but she huffily cancelled it saying that I should spend the afternoon with someone I really like. I went to bed, not out of tiredness but from a desire to avoid her presence. She stamped about the house, raising her voice when she was outside my room.

Her motor of anger wound down. In the morning she was apologetic and careful around me. "It's ok Trina, don't worry. I'm planning my escape"


Kim asked me to imagine how it would be seen if a man took up residence unasked in a woman's house, where he repeatedly yells abuse at her. When I was in Kazakhstan, Kim said that I could stay at hers over the summer, and has reiterated that offer. In the short term I'm going to request a few day's respite. I'm on eggshells when she's around; they become thinner the more she drinks.

11 comments

Comment from: organ grinder [Visitor]

It’s difficult going back. I was kind of hoping that Mongolia would be next.

Tue 27th March 2018 @ 16:34
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

There were some jobs going in Mauritania. But reading about the place makes Saudi Arabia sound a riot of fun.

Tue 27th March 2018 @ 17:21

She bought the house?! Is that what you’re saying?! I had to read it a few times and I still can’t quite wrap my mind around it. Why would she do such a thing? What a glutton for abuse. Have you booked a return ticket to Kazakhstan? It’s as if nothing changed in your absence.

Tue 27th March 2018 @ 17:40
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Yes, she purchased it, partly because it’s an investment for herself, partly because her mother’s house is up for sale so she won’t have a house herself soon, and partly because she entertains this fantasy of us living together. That will never work – it’s nigh on unbearable already.

I’m not going back to Kaz. I’m looking in south and eastern Europe. And a job with older students or adults. I’ve had my fill of children for a while.

Tue 27th March 2018 @ 18:40
Comment from: Homer [Visitor]

Reacted like Exile. What the fuck is she thinking?

Kim’s take at the end is interesting - I hadn’t thought of it like that.

One thing I’ll say Looby, your life’s never dull.

Wed 28th March 2018 @ 00:24
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I’d quite like a bit of dullness at the moment.

Wed 28th March 2018 @ 01:20
Comment from: Homer [Visitor]

Also: thank you for teaching me the word lour. What would it rhyme with? Flower or pour?

Thu 29th March 2018 @ 08:42
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Well, given the strange form of English you speak I don’t know how to answer that :)

It would rhyme with neither of those up here. The first element of the diphthong is half way between how we say “law” and “loo". It’s a Scots word so you make it an elongated complaining sound, in that country’s natural style.

Thu 29th March 2018 @ 12:00
Comment from: Tony Lea [Visitor]  

Wow. Somehow or other I’ve got a lot of catching up to do and the first episode is amazingly good. I can’t believe Trina’s bought your house. It must be so sad when you have introduced her to your varied and excellent social sphere and nothing, but nothings happened except she still fancies you after ALL you have done to try and put her off.
Interesting that Wendy’s still on the scene a sort of role reversal in a weird way.
We must be due a drink soon.
I am looking forward to the older episodes.

Tue 3rd April 2018 @ 22:16
Comment from: daisyfae [Visitor]

quite a turn of events! while i used to feel a bit of pity for Trina, no self-respect, always hanging around, living such an openly desperate existence… i now see her as a bit of a sociopath!

get out, looby! whatever it takes! she’s a nutter…

Thu 5th April 2018 @ 02:29
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Hiya Tony – yes, it’s occasionally uncomfortable for me to imagine my position vis-a-vis Wendy as similar to that of Trina’s, but as people they couldn’t be more dissimilar.

I agree that a visit to the finer beer houses of England would be in order. As next week’s thrilling episode will reveal, I’m going to be in Durham for a while. Bit of a trek for you I know but would be great to have another proper catch-up.

DF – yes, she’s paranoid, jealous and emotionally stunted. And it’s a shame because underneath it there’s a much nicer woman somewhere.

Thu 5th April 2018 @ 13:53


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looby, n.; pl. loobies. A lout; an awkward, stupid, clownish person


M / 53 / Lancaster ("the Brighton of the North").

"Looby is a left-wing intellectual who is obsessed with a) women's clothes and b) tits." -- Joy of Bex.

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