After five references including my landlord, accountant and boss; three months of bank statements, and what seemed like endless emails, I finally have the keys to my new London flat.
I’d seen it when I was jetlagged and had a cold, never a good time to make big decisions but everything was good. There is a wardrobe in the bedroom (which I’d forgotten to look at) and while the furnishings are extremely limited, there is a bed and a sofa so I can function.
Once I’d dragged my luggage over from my cousin’s flat in Arsenal (which took two trips on the bus and why I didn’t get a taxi, I’m still not sure), I set off down Oxford Street to buy the basic necessities for my first night.
Oxford Street is one of the busiest shopping streets in London and coupled with the fact it was Saturday afternoon, it was wall-to-wall shoppers. I normally avoid Oxford Street like the plague. It’s like participating in an extreme sport as you try and anticipate what the person in front of you is about to do. You might get stuck behind a family ambling along holding hands or you might get lucky and find a fast walker you can slipstream behind until they detour across the road. Luckily I’d worn trainers and power walking doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Anyway there I was, having managed to buy (in what must be a power shopping record) a duvet, two pillows, a mattress protector, two bath towels, a bath mat and two hand towels (although in hindsight, I probably didnt need the hand towels). Duvet in large box in one hand, two enormous plastic bags in the other and handbag slung up my arm, I ventured out in the thronging crowds. Barge, apologise, barge, apologise. Oh sorry, well you can see I’ve got a lot of stuff (and you could have moved…) Smile nicely, continue and repeat.
Oxford Circus, one of the busiest stations in London. I managed to squeeze on to the tube. A few stops to Euston then change for the Northern line and lots of escalators along the way. The Northern line was under construction so I had a fifteen minute wait with a welcome sit-down. I had a nice chat with a woman sitting next to me about the relative pros and cons of the Northern line and before long, we were on the tube again, I was blocking the door but it created a laugh with my fellow passengers and all was well.
Off at Chalk Farm, up in the lift (hurray there’s a lift because otherwise it’s 54 steps up from the platform and no, I didn’t count, there’s a sign,) out on to the road, round the corner, up in the extremely small lift to the miniature penthouse/attic. Done.
|Open plan kitchen and living room|
Of course I wasn’t done and so dropped everything and headed to the Morrisons superstore down the road. I’m in an interesting area. If you walk up the hill, it’s lovely with cafes, nice brasseries and kitchen design shops. Very civilised and middle class. If you walk down the hill you walk towards Camden, things get louder and dirtier and a little bit rough. I looked a little out of place in a pink cardigan, silver ballet flats and a clematis peeking out of my Eco friendly bag.
|Bed with a View|
The Morrisons superstore was quite daunting but armed with food to survive the night, a kettle and a bottle of wine (to celebrate moving in) I headed back up the hill to unpack, make the bed, have a glass of wine, watch the sunset and spend my first night in my new London flat.
|Sunset from the generously named roof terrace|