It’s happening! For the longest time I have been planning to move to London in search of adventure, fortune – and everything else in between – and it’s finally on the verge of becoming real! I made a decision at the start of the weekend to be in London at the beginning of the New Year meaning that I ended up making my way to the airport in the wee small hours of Sunday morning.
I lined up a few viewings with the hope of finding a place to stay in time for January. Flat hunting in London has been something of an education. There’s a specific code of bullshit that landlords, agents and potential flatmates use to lure you into signing your life – and your savings – in exchange for a bit of floor space no bigger than your person miles away from civilisation, let alone on a public transport route. For those looking to make the move it’s time to limber up your larynx and learn the lingo:
Listing: Cosy, double room in up and coming area
Translation: Teeny weeny room with 2 beds. You will share this room with a complete stranger who the agency won’t care to vet beforehand so long as they pay their rent on time. This room will be located in a room in the arse end of nowhere. Lots of people are moving there because it’s the only place they can afford but it’s not quite busy enough for someone to open up a corner shop. Almost certainly not in Zones 1-3.
Listing: Supa dupa fun crew seeks 5th band member for lively houseshare
Translation: We are a bunch of halfwits who value ourselves far higher than the rest of society does. We love to party – hope you don’t like sleep. Also, cleaning is, like, so totally last century.
Listing: We are smokers but never smoke inside and febreeze is our best friend.
Translation: Lies. All lies. We are only human after all. We’ll probably have a crafty cig every now and again in the kitchen when it’s freezing out. Or we’ve had a drink. Or if our bowel movements are a bit up the left. You get the picture.
Listing: Bijoux, French-style kitchen.
Translation: We watch Rachel Khoo’s cooking show and like to imagine our kitchen is as cutesy and practical as hers. It’s not but sure, isn’t it always nice to dream?
Listing: No living room.
Translation: There used to be a living room. However, I am a greedy landlord who decided to turn your living room into
yet another bedroom thus rendering the flat more like a prison than a home. Nice.
So that’s a brief insight into the lies people will tell you to spark your interest in what they have to offer. Next you need to get yourself to viewings, so you’ll probably be relying on various forms of public transport to find your way and, occasionally, the kindness of strangers.
Ah strangers. How they like to get their kicks. Like the Royal Mail Official I asked for directions today who sent me 20 minutes in the wrong direction from a viewing I was already late for. Hilarious. Then there’s the tube. For this you’ll need several things. A strong constitution is advisable along with a pretty robust immune system.
When on the tube especially, it’s best not to make eye contact with anyone lest they engage in conversation with you. Heaven forbid. Those who smile are in fact baring their teeth. What they are saying is “The next available seat is mine, so help me God, I will fight you for it.”
After a busy day of checking out areas, flats and being misdirected by Postmen I hopped on the tube to Kings Cross and spied an empty seat. I did a quick scan for anyone who might be in need of a wee rest. Nope, the coast was clear. I wiggled and jiggled my way past the people who, crazily, chose to stand taking the seat and claimed my prize. Delighted at my minor win of the day I made a very obvious mistake. I felt someone beside me and heard a mumble. Forgetting where I was I turned to face the voice in my ear and locked eyes. Bollocks.
I saw before me a very friendly asian gentleman who looked like he might be someone’s doting grandfather. Which he may well be. But what wasn’t obvious was that he was a rather persistent flirt who became quite convinced that he and I would be dating come the Spring, regardless of my protestations. Funnier than our conversation was the speed at which fellow travellers vacated the seats around us. We cleared half the carriage which, in fairness, I wasn’t overly thrilled with at the time. Looking on the bright side though, next time I’m stuck on public transport and there isn’t a seat in sight I’m going to flirt my socks off until one becomes vacant!
You’ll be glad to know I managed to find a flat in a nice area – with a living room and everything! No doubt I’ll have plenty of tales to tell come the New Year so keep your eyes peeled and brace yourself for a giggle!xx