Home #6

*dusts this thing off*


I’ve recently entered a new phase of my London experience: searching for a place to live where I can do so without flatmates. (London is expensive. This is hard. It’s still exciting.)

I’m currently in my fifth London home: six weeks in a boarding house in Notting Hill; six months in Bermondsey; four weeks subletting in Angel; twelve months sharing with coworkers in Kennington; and now I’m in Clapham Junction, living in a friend’s spare room for a few months.

The current place is great, but temporary: I need to move out by early May. Beyond that, I’m really, really ready to start living alone again. I think the one thing that sharing has really hit home is exactly how much alone time I actually need. I lead a much more social life here in London than I did in Sydney; at the end of it, there’s something very comfortable about going home and not having to deal with anyone else.

The current flatmate and I have a pretty good balance of spending time together and time apart, and I generally get home at least an hour or two before she does after work, which gives me a chance at some quiet time, but it’s still time. The nice part about the current arrangement is that I have 2-3 months to find and move in to a new place, which means I’m not in a frantic rush to find something (as I have been every other time I moved).

On the downside, a lot of places are advertised as available ‘now’ which makes it more difficult to find something well in advance.

Still, some of them are advertised well in advance, and so I’ve started my search already. It’ll probably start slow and ramp up over time, but it’s refreshing to know that I don’t have to take the first place that looks like it might work.

I’m really looking forward to settling down somewhere for the long(er) term. Hopefully, London Home #6 will last longer than the others.

I inspected my first property this morning. Located in Streatham Hill (that’s streat-ham, not streath-am), it’s on a direct bus route to work, even if it is a long way out, and that appeals to me. The area is nice: a beautiful old high street with lots of interesting bars, cafes and pubs, lovely nearby parks. The flat, on paper, was perfect: studio with separate kitchen, gas, bathtub, ultimately no more expensive than my rent was in Kennington.

In practice, it was very nearly perfect but for one thing: the kitchen, while separate, was so tiny it did not have so much as a single counter/bench. It had a fridge, a sink, a stove, some cupboards… and that’s it. Reader, I could not live like that. Where do you chop? Where does the toaster go, the kettle, the microwave? The rest of the flat was small, too – it would be bed, desk (or table, I guess), wardrobe, chest of drawers, and that’s it – but I’m not afraid of small. Still, it needs to be functional.

Were I in a rush to find something, I’d probably have been tempted to apply for this one; but I’m not, and so I won’t. I’m glad I forced myself out into the rain this morning to look – it was educational, if nothing else – and I’m equally glad I don’t need to move there. I’ll just have to keep looking!

(I think the most interesting thing about inspecting that flat, for me, was all the couples. I think I would find it small to live in as a single person; I’m not sure how two people would be able to cope. I’d want to kill my partner in two seconds flat if, when at home, we basically had to sit next to each other on the bed at all times. I understand that I have a good income, and that the London market is hard, but I could not do it. There would be a homicide in two seconds flat.)

I like house-hunting, but I expect my enthusiasm will wane – after a few weeks of it, I’m likely to start panicking about finding the right place, and just worry about finding ‘a’ place. Hopefully something will come up before then!