...Sitting on the wall...And if one green bottle....Should accidentally fall...there'll be 9 green bottles...sitting on the wall.
Who remembers that song???
Soooo let's see what I did this week.
You get the picture.
And rather than checking blogs (you may have noticed I was not about), I have an array of constantly open Firefox tabs with properties that I plan to book for viewing.
Next week I shall put off the property viewing for a couple of days, and start the week with social activities. On Sunday I will go to see my grandmother in SW London, where I will do a dinner of duck legs, courgettes (zucchini), potato croquettes, followed by carrot cake.
Oh, and how will I spend my Saturday? Seeing a few properties of course (with an old friend who lives up there). Yes, London is so all-consuming that some estate agents stay open all week. Makes sense, as some people work 50 hour weeks. They must do all their grocery shopping, laundry, errands, and sleeping (it's true!) on weekends.
And where have I set my heart on living? Why, near where I used to go to school...An historic hill town just half an hour outside the centre of London on the tube. It still feels like a village but it's not even on the end of the line. You Londoners probably know exactly where I mean now, with all the glaring hints.
Off to peep at a couple of blogs now. Will it be yours? Who knows?
Went to see a couple of properties in Harrow with my old friend Angela. I am sorely tempted to go for the luxury block - the flat was small but it had two bedrooms and two bathrooms (a big deal in the UK), and is furnished in contemporary style. It has a designer (albeit compact) fitted kitchen with Neff appliances and granite counters, air conditioning, long balcony, solar activated blinds, roof gardens, concierge, and for residents use of a small gym, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi...It is 5 minutes walk from the station, which is important as it's further out of London, about 20 minutes into the almost-centre.
On second thought, it is more like a kitchen in a cupboard. I kid you not, my walk-in closet in our first apartment in the US (before we got back into 4-bedroom houses) was bigger than this kitchen!
It's not a bad-bad area, I've been in worse, but I didn't feel that great walking about in the shopping centre. I got stared at a lot for some reason and it does feel a bit ghetto. Surrounding this block there are some ugly 1970s office blocks that look like they are about to be converted too. Well, at least it's not an ex-local authority block - they are in depressing 1960s and 70s slabs or towers, and are still pretty dire. Even when refurbished they look sad, and are only slightly less expensive than private "purpose built" blocks.
So there's that. Or a few minutes away in Harrow on the Hill proper is this 2 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom flat:
Which is a part of this house:
(see it's tucked into the right side there and the other photos show it has some surprisingly large spaces.)
Or just round the corner there's this 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom cottage:
Only downside is the two pretty places (haven't booked to see yet) are about a 20 minute walk from the station....Or the bus takes about 5 minutes, but you have to wait up to 15 minutes for it. Ha!
The whole area of Harrow on the Hill is like a village. London is made up of villages, but the ones farther out such as H-on-the-H, Hampstead and Highgate have been able to retain some of their identity and all three are on hills, raised above the grime of the city. The two latter are a bit closer to town and very exclusive as quite a few celebs live there. Harrow on the Hill's claim to fame is the renowned Harrow Boys School which is the second best public school in the UK behind Eton, of course. Old Harrovians of note include Winston Churchill, James Blunt (the singer), Cary Elwes (yes, the actor), more actors James and Edward Fox and Benedict Cumberbatch (mentioned him in a previous blog), Lord Byron and a host of other titled nobility including other former prime ministers and politicians, Jordanian princes, Earl Grey, a Rothschild and two Earls Spencer, some of the Queen's cousins, lords, marquesses, viceroys, dukes, loads of writers, Indian P.M. Nehru, adventurers, spies, industrialists, and so on...I have radar: It always turns out that the actors I find cutest are ex-public school boys (like Elwes and Cumberbatch)...!
It was quiet up there today. I think they were all down in St John's Wood at the cricket test matches.
The lettings agents say I am working with a pretty good budget for outer London, but still, I know that a few hundred more per month would get me more than I can choose from, even closer into town. As it is, I can find a very limited number of fairly decent properties at this distance. If money were no object...ah, but this is London.
So many people in their 30s live at home with their parents because they can't afford their own place, or even sometimes a houseshare. But I don't have that luxury anymore, and my mother is essentially homeless. We give up. We cannot live apart anymore. Independence is overrated, and all we have is each other - we have always been best friends. Even my cousins are disappointed in me for giving up my independence - well, they left home before 18, for many reasons. I, on the other hand, am different. And in the absence of a relationship and little prospect of one on the horizon (God knows I've tried), what else can I do? I am tired of the lonely struggle in the big city. We make each other laugh like no one else apart from my father does, and he is thousands of miles away and rarely calls. I can't have both of them that far away. Like I said, I am tired, and I know my mother is too. In my heart of hearts, I reproach him for putting us both in this very difficult position. Money was never, never, never an issue until our family split up.
Our relationship is such that we impart confidence to each other, and after all we have both been through since the divorce, we haven't lived together. I think we need to do that, so we can heal together too, at last.