We’re in the lucky position of having the wonderful Kal staying with us this week. He’s just moved out of his flat of six years, bringing about the end of an Era of Weng flatsharing with FlatMateGiles.
The history of our friendship and of Weng is a long one. Kal and I grew up on the Black Isle, with Giles, Fran, Kiri and a host of others and in truly unlikely style, we’ve stayed very close friends for a long time – twleve or thirteen years, to be specific.
When we were teenagers we all fucked about, drank beer in Giles’s house under the subtle supervision of Tine and Charlie, Giles’s parents. We got pissed on hay-bales, we went mud-surfing, we forced people to do horrible but hilarious things to join our gang (“Weng”). We made, for example, Kal go swimming in the North Sea in October in the middle of the night – this is not a nice thing to do to someone who comes from Orkney. Sure the sea is an Orcadian’s home and livelihood, but it’s not a place you want to be. The sea giveth and the sea taketh away. Even on the Black Isle there were few fishing families where a brother, or an uncle or a father hadn’t been lost whilst fishing. So, in retrospect, that might have been a bit mean, but he did it and so he was in the gang (which he was already in anyway).
After the inevitable drifting away after high school we were scattered for a while – Giles and his American ballet-dancing wife Livie moved to London to pursue her career, Kal stayed on the Black Isle, Fran went to France to be a skiier, and I went to Newcastle to study Music and Philosophy.
I hadn’t banked on Newcastle being such a fucking shite hole.
Yes, I’m Scottish. Yes, I’m from the Highlands. No – I don’t like the cold. If you’re from a cold place, you deal with the cold by A) not going out in it, or B) going out wearing ALOT of clothes.
Not so in Newcastle.
It would appear that in Newcastle female infants are issued with a standard size 8 mini skirt and boob-tube combination and are obliged to wear it on every night out regardless of their actual dress size or the state of the weather. On nights out I was usually to be found huddling in a doorway, dressed in four jumpers and a winter jacket, icicles hanging from my gob-smacked lips as I watched armies of barely-dressed, lumpy women merrily “way-aye”-ing their way down the street, seemingly unaware of the sub-zero temperatures, or the conventions of decency.
After 6 months of that, I’d had enough and decided to move back to Edinburgh and do my degree there instead. Luckily for me, Giles and Liv weren’t liking London and Kal needed to move (whether he liked it or not) and we agreed to live together in Edinburgh. After some serious “You’re coming. No, you’re coming and living with us, and that’s THAT” style co-ersion to Kal we all found ourselves living in the most beautiful, wel located, perfect, affordable flat EVER – Braid Road.
Braid Road was perfect. It was a beautiful, ground floor flat with a huge garden and three huge bedrooms and a massive kitchen and a comfortable, big living room, and it cost us about £180 a month each – all in. Bills ‘n everything.
I think everybody probably has a period in their life where they look back and think – “That was perfect. As perfect as life gets, anyway. It was easy and fun and perfect.”
Braid Road is definitely one of those periods for me, and for Kal as well.
However, before I spill more of my life story, I’ve got to go and exercise my butt off (literally), because my fight loometh and my weight hovvereth.