Advent Calender 2013 – Dec 15th: Christabel

15 Christabel

The 2013 Advent Calender: For the 25 days of Christmas, I will be blogging each day about a miscellaneous thing I love. Not necessarily a big thing, not necessarily a small thing and not in any order.

Remember good old Chris Black from a few posts ago? Well, at university I gave him a nickname–which he actually despised, and not in a good-natured way, so it never really stuck–to describe his more extroverted camp persona. That name was ‘Christabel’.

So imagine my delight, when viewing flats before moving up to Manchester, to find myself at the base of a tower named ‘Christabel’. The words were in giant letters on the side of the building (although oddly enough it wasn’t named after one of my friends, but after the suffragette Pankhurst sister). If that wasn’t camp enough, the walls inside are a bright, livid pink, and there are more gays living here than on the whole of Canal Street. There are a lot of pocket dogs, and Grindr is very crowded.

I can only assume that the previous occupants were drug addicts who had done a midnight flit, as when the estate agent showed us in it was like walking into a war zone. The poor agent had clearly not expected it, and went a little pale. He did his level best to sell us, but honestly, he didn’t need to, because when you step into our living room you get this view:


This summer I turned that window into my writing spot: a little chair, and a folding table, worked my way through 20,000 words of a novel, and skulked around watching videos of cats on youtube. It’s a beautiful spot to write in: from the sun rising, through the people-watching of the afternoon, to the often-spectacular sunsets. Meanwhile, the living room is a constant battle-ground of cleanliness and tidiness between myself and our OCD flatmate, the walls are full of bookshelves brimming with two people’s collections, and half our hallway is now plastered top to bottom with comic book panels.

Christabel is one of the Three Towers, and they hover on the edge of a slightly wild park; walk far enough in the right direction, and Christabel becomes a tiny tower clinging to edge of a craggy cliff. From one window of the flat, you’re looking out over the city, from the other, you could be in the countryside.


John and I have just started house-hunting, and, fingers crossed, this time next year it’ll be a different view out of the window. That said, I shall miss Christabel when I move on from my first Manchester home.


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