Red tape

There is a system in the UK especially in London where you either buy a leasehold (usually to a flat) or a freehold. Essentially if you buy a leasehold you buy the interior of a flat whereas the freehold refers to the exterior of the building. Confusing indeed.

When we bought our current flat we were able to get a share of the freehold. It’s divided between the three flats and we have equal share in decisions and expenses for the maintenance of the building. It’s enabled us to renovate without having to worrying about getting planning permission from the freehold. Simple.
Last week we made an offer on another flat. Just across the road it seemed like the ideal project while we wait for things to settle down post Brexit. Our offer was accepted and we started the process of getting a mortgage.
Judiciously we did some research and discovered the freehold to the building was owned by the City of Westminster and upon further research discovered that all plans have to be submitted for approval, even down to changing interior doors. Contractors have to be insured for a minimum of £2 million and suddenly our idea of converting a one bedroom flat into a two bedroom and making a quick profit seemed to be very complicated indeed.
It looks as though we’ll be pulling out of that one and looking for another freehold property. 
Too much red tape for us.

Going home

After a busy week in New York, I was heading home. Contrary to popular belief, I was not on holiday!

Still, I managed to spend time in parks and while there were the usual meetings, it wasn’t the ordeal it used to be.
Heading home.  

Central Park Picnic

After four meetings I was finished for the day and so decided to have a spontaneous picnic in Central Park. 

I felt I hadn’t really explored Central Park properly and so with a Whole Foods bag and a random selection of food, I walked through the park towards the lake. 
It was a lovely afternoon, hot and sunny and before long I found a nice tree with a view to sit and watch the boaters on the lake. 

We are spoiled in London as we have so many beautiful parks and I’m afraid to say that Central Park just didn’t quite cut it for me. 
I felt sorry for the horses pulling carriages of tourists around the edge of the park, the pungent smell of hot horse shit filling the air. 
The grass in contrast to the pristine lawns of Regents Park, wasn’t very comfortable to sit on. A bit dirty, I didn’t fancy lying down and then I saw a strange black squirrel/rat hybrid which was incredibly disturbing… I would call it a Squat. Squirrel and Rat. 
Still, apart from the Squat, it was a welcome break from honking horns, skyscrapers and gridlocked traffic and a chance to see another side of New York. 
And after nine meetings so far this week, It was nice to have a relaxing picnic in Central Park! 

Grand Central

After three meetings I was finished for the day and set off to find a soba noodle restaurant I’d read about. On the way I saw a few buildings…
The Chrysler building
High rise buildings

Grand Central station.

It was hot and it felt like a long way but then I found Soba Totto and it was worth it.

ABC Carpet and Home

I was down near Union Square when I saw a sign for ABC Carpet and Home. 

It’s one of those institutions, a huge furniture and homewares store which I’d heard about but never been to and so I wandered in for a browse. 

I have a love of furnishings, vintage glass and eclectic tableware and it seemed I had found my Mecca. 

I strolled around touching wood, ceramics and glass. Admiring the merchandising and thinking that perhaps I should be an interior decorator or just a collector of lovely things. 

It was inspiring and while I resisted the temptation to buy, I have time to go back before I leave…

Brocanting in New York!

Coffee in Bryant Park

I was up bright and early after a busy day of presentations and so sat in nearby Bryant Park to enjoy a coffee in the early morning sunshine. 

The view of the Empire State Building glinting in the sun was quite spectacular. 

The noise of the traffic echoed off the buildings and rather than tranquility, created a backdrop to the view. 

Time to go to work!

When Agnes met Leonard…

We were spending the afternoon at the Walthamstow Garden Party to celebrate the birthday of a friend. 

It was a lovely day, sunny and warm and so the three of us set off with a picnic blanket in order to enjoy an afternoon with friends, kids and a festival. 
Agnes loves a social event and was on her best behaviour being fed and cuddled by small children until she saw Leonard. 
Their brown eyes met across the grass, her furry face perfectly reflected in his, it was love at first sight as the two Welsh Terriers ran into each other’s arms. 
Leonard was nine months old and a little taller but otherwise almost identical. 
There is a recognition between breeds. Agnes has only hugged other terriers and it really is a hug as their forelegs wrap around each other as they stand on their back legs. 
Agnes and Leonard played together while we chatted with Leonard’s owners. 
Eventually it was time for them to leave and Leonard was reluctantly dragged away looking sadly over his shoulder. Agnes lay on the ground looking bereft. 
It was a lovely thing to see the two dogs recognize each other and we regret not getting Leonard’s contact details. 
Do we now embark on a search for Leonard the Welsh Terrier?

Charlie and Barry

We have a very nice blackbird who sits on our fence post and sings quite immodestly. His song is spectacular and it’s always a pleasure to hear him. We’ve named him Barry. Perhaps an unintentional nod to Barry Manilow?

On the other hand there is Charlie, an Italian Greyhound who goes to our local park. Charlie likes to bite the other dogs and is a complete bastard. We’ve called him Charlie the Bastard because he is. 

The year so far…

It seems that 2016 is the year where people died from cancer, quit their jobs or in fact their continent, or were killed through acts of terrorism. 

It’s been a year of change and every day seems to bring another horrifically shocking headline. 

From the deaths of David Bowie and Alan Rickman to the news of Brexit, the death and rebirth of Boris Johnson and the recent horrors in Nice immediately overshadowed by the coup in Turkey. 
It seems to be an endless list of sadness and it’s hard not to be affected by recent events. 
The conversation in London has now switched to the economy and a possible downturn in the property market as a result of Brexit. Business deals have been put on hold and there’s a general state of uncertainty about the future. 
The only thing to do was ignore the news, go to the Walthamstow Garden Party, go to New York for another week of meetings and put in a spontaneous offer on a flat across the road. 
It looks like we’re going to need a new project to survive the doom and gloom.