House hunting is turning out to be a depressing experience. I've looked at several properties in the past several days and the choice is twofold: either get a decent house in an area I don't want to live in, or get a crap house in an area I do want to live in. Not only that, the crap house in the decent area could cost twice as much as somewhere twice as large and in much better condition and in an area that is in itself just fine, but ... just not the area I'm looking for, which is the West End of Glasgow.
Places I've looked at in the past week:
a huge city centre property undecorated in forty years for offers over 65k with flammable roof tiles, artexed walls, no electricity, needing rewiring, needing replumbing, next to a motorway, decorated in the most tasteless early Seventies style, replete with fake 'cabin' style false ceilings and walls.
A two bedroom property in Anniesland, a couple of miles from the West End but easy commuting distance: see all of the above, but with electricity, which is unfortunate, because then you can see how ghastly the goddamn shoebox is. Same price, which is a joke. Bleak, bleak, bleak: the guy who lives there bought it ten years ago, and it didn't take a great deal of imagination to see no woman had crossed that threshold in all that time.
A two bedroom property near Queen's Park on the South Side. Glorious. Varnished floorboards, huge kitchen, two bedrooms, gigantic lounge, nice street, a minute's walk from the park, and the more of this sentence I write the more I wonder how crazy I am for not putting in an offer. Why didn't I? Because it's not the West End. Aaargh. And for five grand less.
And today, the piece de resistance: same description as above, in Bank Street, in the West End, just about big enough to bludgeon a cat to death by swinging it in small tight circles. In the West End, estate agents usually recommend putting in an offer a third over the advertised price, which is a huge amount of money.
It's weird, because I used to live on the south side and really liked it there. It's where I grew up. But the West End has a 'bohemian charm', I guess you'd call it. There's nowhere else in Scotland outside of Edinburgh quite like it. Artists, writers, tv directors and actors ... the place is stuffed with creatives, giving it the flavour people have told me they get in equivalent areas in other cities, like Greenwich Village in New York (not that I've ever been there, so can't compare). Large parts of the rest of the city are going to the dogs, though the south side is generally okay. However, I did have a bad experience with an aggressive beggar on my trip to the south side. Apparently he didn't know the meaning of the word 'no', even when repeated several times. That worried me.
So what next? Back to the south side, I think. Maybe I'm just going to have to bite the bullet.