After viewings that ranged from the dreary to the dreadful, we found our Norwich city centre loft in appropriately named Queen’s Street. It’s a newly converted top-floor, top drawer flat with skylights, down lights and grey appliances with real feel-appeal. Yes, we are that shallow. The apartment is above a trendy bar with a student clientele. We’d rather hoped it would be a seedy clip joint to cement the sanitised neo-Bohemian garret theme we were looking for. Back at the letting agents, we paid our fee for our credit assessment. Without being prompted, the nice young man processed our application as a married couple which gave us a bit of a discount.
On the last evening of our exploratory week, we celebrated our continued good fortune at the Premier Inn restaurant where the fare was surprisingly good and wine surprisingly fine. As we raised our glasses, we watched the smart suits with smart phones file in two by two. It sent a visible shudder down Liam’s spine as he was rudely reminded of his old laboured life. “Never again,” he muttered. Our young waiter was a busy walker who darted about dispensing friendly but unobtrusive service to his charges. Now we’ve left Turkish airspace, my gaydar is fully-functional and we exchanged sly we-both-know-what-we-are glances. At the end of his shift, he joined us for a large glass of red and a little casual conversation. He’d recently moved from Devon to Norwich to be with his new partner and gave us the low down on the low life of the Norwich gay scene. Apparently, times were tough when he first got off the bus. It took him three months to find a job. He said:
“I was the assistant manager of a motorway service station. It had a Burger King and a Costa Coffee. I was trained in both. They said I was over-qualified.”