Alice-Azania Jarvis: 'A taste for renovating is making me feel old'

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The Independent Online

All this wedding chat (for those who didn't read last week, a quick disclaimer: Not mine. I repeat, not mine) is having a strange effect on me. It's making me feel old. Well, older, by which I mean approaching adulthood. Adulthood, you see, has always appeared an abstract, almost futuristic concept. Something which had yet to seem relevant to my life. Well, until now.

Witness, if you will, evidential display number one: I'm contemplating home improvements. This is quite a volte face. Until recently, I was thinking about moving. In moments of weakness (or ambition?) I still do, though the task of selling rather deters me – possibly because it is very, very, adult indeed. Still, moderately adult are my plans for renovation, abstract as they may be at the moment.

I very much want to lift up the carpet in my bedroom. Ideally, I'd find a set of beautifully preserved floorboards, in need only of a quick varnish before they face the world. Given that I live in a high-rise in Tower Hamlets, this seems unlikely. The probable alternative is concrete. Still. Sounds all right to me. After all, that must be true of the whole flat – most of which has no carpeting to speak of, but a curiously 1970s mock-wood laminate over it. On initial inspection, it might look naff. After two years of living with the poor taste I've grown rather accustomed to it, and would like to extend it to my ultra-bland, ultra-cluttered bedroom. If only so that I can get away with less vacuuming.

It isn't, however, just the newly acquired taste for DIY that's making me feel old. There are other things. The fact that the item of clothing I'm most coveting at the moment is an anorak I saw in the Gap; the fact that I got excited when Boots was offering three bottles of mouthwash for the price of two; and the fact that, three days before getting paid, I realised I had nothing but the funny-looking vegetable left in my fridge, and I made soup instead of rushing down to Costcutter. Yes, financial responsibility! Me!

I have, at least, decided on a remedy for this daunting display of maturity. The Reading Festival. Regular readers will recall my on-going relationship with Festival Economics. Well, brace yourself for more. Last year I strayed, but this time I'm hoping to return to Reading which – if I remember correctly – can be done affordably enough. Depending on how juvenile you're prepared to be in the nearby Tesco.

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