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I got confirmation from my Landlord that my lease will not be renewed. So I have 60 days (until 18th May) to find somewhere else to live. It wasn’t altogether surprising – the local grapevine has been buzzing with tales of 20% rent increases where leases have been renewed, so even if they’d made an offer, it’s unlikely I’d have been able to afford it.
So time to move on. I don’t really know where I want to go. Partly, because I’d really like to stay here. The financial benefits of Dolphin Square are that heating, water and basic cable TV are included in the rent and because it’s Westminster, the council tax is very low (about £50 per month) so that makes it difficult to make direct comparisons – I’m clearly going to get a’spreadsheetin’. I’ve been very lucky to have such a great place with the view of the river. I’d love to stay in Pimlico or elsewhere in SW1 but perhaps I can’t afford it, if rents here are going squiffy, maybe it’s part of a bigger picture.
At the moment, I think the bottom line of my requirements are a one-bedroom unfurnished flat within zone 1 or 2 and trying to keep the rent under £250 per week. I honestly feel much more of a west end boy than an east-ender but maybe it’s time for me to do something different. Getting really different and moving right out of the South-East of England is not going to happen until my kids are that bit older.
So HALP! pls k.thxbye etc. – I’m not sure of the best way to start looking as I kind of walked into this place two years ago – if you know of anywhere that might suit or can suggest good agents/sites (other than gumtree and craigslist) to look at, you know how to get hold of me.
Thayer asked for some tips on getting video from the HG10 in suitable form for uploading to YouTube or Blip.tv
Please do not take this as a definitive way of doing things – I AM FREQUENTLY WRONG! – However, it seems to have worked for me so far, though I had to bodge around for a bit, so there may well be better, easier ways to do it, so please let me know if you find them. Oh and I’m doing it on a PC running XP – iMovie doubtlessly cleans your shoes for you while it’s speedily encoding and compressing.
First off, I installed all of the software that came with the camera – I can’t remember what all of it was, but basically I chucked everything at it.
Then this is what I do. You get files off the camera in .mts format. I start up the Corel Ulead DVD Movie Factory and create a new project. Since we’re just going to export to another type of file I don’t think it matters whether you go for a DVD project or a AVCHD project so just choose whichever one you think goes best with your eyes.
Click on the Add Video Files icon (film strip) at the top left hand corner. Choose a file and then click on the Export Selected Clips icon about half way down. (You can process more than one clip at a time by the way – if you’ve got a bunch to do)
I choose Customize…
In the file save as dialog that comes up I give it a name and change the type to .avi.
Then click on Options. I scale the frame size down to 720 x 540 on the General Tab and on the AVI tab I choose the DivX Codec with standard settings.
Then click Save. Close down Movie Factory. Fire up Windows Movie Maker or your favourite video editing program and import the .avi file for editing. With these settings the .avi is about one-third the size of the .mts file.
You may find that different codecs with different settings give you better results but having stumbled over something that works well enough, I’m not going to start messing around.
My flat has lately become a meeting place for the above mentioned society. I don’t really know what to do except to let them out the window when I see them alive and collect and photograph them for posterity when I find them dead.
I suspect though that it’s the toasty warm of central heating that’s keeping them going and once they get outside they freeze and perish anyway.
At least it’s not cockroaches.
Thayer tagged me with the 8 random things meme…again – she’s forgiven as we barely knew each other in August last year. I couldn’t manage eight last time (this was the last one) so some of these might not actually be entirely true.
1. I once spent three months measuring the hedgerows of Gloucestershire. You can still find some of my waymarkers on country lanes just outside Cheltenham, if you know where to look.
2. My favourite colour combination is the kind of orangey-brown of krispy-kreme donuts against catkin green.
3. Since the age of 12 I’ve always owned exactly 3 gerbils. I always have several dealers on standby in case one of them dies and needs to be instantly replaced. My gerbils go *everywhere* with me. Yes… I mean *everywhere*
4. I was once almost arrested for possession of a Mr Kipling Bakewell Tart (and a milkbottle). This was during my New Romantic phase, so the frilly shirt and heavy eye make-up might also have had something to do with it.
5. I had a walk-on part in the film “Stab Truck” (I was the synth player in the band during the flashback to the David Hasselhof character’s complete humiliation in a London night club.) It was filmed in the basement of the Centrepoint Tower.
6. One of my cousins was the artist’s model for Freddo the Frog, Cadbury’s 1970′s novelty moulded chocolate. He went on to design the wheel nuts of the Audi A8.
7. My gerbils’ names are Rainey, Bessie and Janis after the 3 greatest female blues singers of the 20th Century. People often imagine that if they see the white one, that must be Janis, but my gerbils (and the blues) are colour-blind.
8. As a student I worked in a launderette in Guildford. I have seen, touched and washed the underwear of Eric Clapton, Bonnie Langford, Michael Buerk and various forgettable members of the Prog Rock Hall of Fame.
So to pass it on, I tag: HM The Queen, Ronnie Hazlehurst, Lewis Carroll, Mickey Dolenz, Pogle out of Pogle’s Wood, Optimus Prime, Stuart Hall (not the Jamaican one, the one off It’s a Knockout) and the entire Electric Light Orchestra.
On my way home tonight, passing Pimlico School, I saw a couple of policemen inside the gates. I prickled, thinking poor them, it’s so cold and they’ve got to go in there and find someone who’s disappeared over the fence or something.
It turned out there was something less dramatic but just as interesting and exciting going on. A group of ex-governors are protesting against the demolition of the school and its transformation into an Academy. They were helped by some anti-grafitti artists who used a high-pressure hose to clean off the words “Anti Academy School” on the front wall.
I went and filled their hot-water bottles for them – it’s bloody cold out there and then came back for a chat. They were keen for me to climb over, but the combination of my inflexible legs, the anti-climb paint and my general scaredy-catness meant that I conducted my interview from the other side of locked gates. One of the protestors, Hank, very kindly rigged up an alternative ladder combo to help me, but I gratefully declined.
I spoke to Anthea Masey about what they were doing there. The interview petered out as we were interrupted by a year 10 pupil from the school who was passing but didn’t want to be seen on camera but had a lot to say in praise of the school as it is.
I have no opinion on this issue either way – I personally think the building’s ugly. I can imagine how uncomfortable the classrooms are when the sun shines. I know nothing of the academic record or merits of the case for the current regime, Westminster Council or the protestors, but I’m happy to lend a hand to people who are passionate enough to spend a night under the stars on a
freezing February monkey-ball-freezing March night in order to have a say on what they believe in.
Much is written about generational divides, mostly about frightened older people disturbed by young hoodies. Tonight I witnessed a different one where the spirit of protest lives on in those over 50 while 14-year-olds think making a stand like this is pointless and stupid.