A Temporary Change of Scenery

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I’ve been a bad blogger lately.

I’ve gotten so out of the habit of writing regularly that there’s been loads of things happening that I haven’t written about.  And it’s hard to determine where to start, or even if things that have happened are even worth still writing about.

The biggest thing at the moment is that I’ve moved – temporarily for a week and a half.  I’m cat-sitting for my old flatmate (who I lived with for 3 years in Vauxhall) and staying at his place in Camberwell while he’s away at Bear Week in Provincetown.

Sure, I could have come each day to feed the cat and stay at home, but it would have been a lot of travelling back and forth.  And that would have been especially difficult in the mornings since I start work at 8am… I get up early enough as it is.

But so far it’s been 4 amazing days.

I’d forgotten how great it is to live somewhat (south) central since I moved out of Vauxhall 2 years ago. It is so much easier to go out, see people and get home afterwards, like I did on Friday night after work.

man cooking nakedBut most importantly for me, it’s nice to have an entire flat to myself.  Even if it’s only temporary.

Oh and being able to walk around, go to the kitchen or bathroom, without having to put clothes on if I don’t want to. 😉

I haven’t lived alone since my last couple years in Montreal, and it’s reminded me how much I miss living on my own (not that I can afford to do so in London).

It’s about having the option to just pop down the road to meet up with people – whether they be friends, a date, or even just a shag – without having to pre-plan things hours ahead of time due to transport… though finding shags isn’t a massive priority at the moment. lol

I obviously hate where I’m currently living, both for the location and the environment itself.  It takes me a good hour to get anyway central, and since I’m on a budget I have to find ways to avoid travelling on the tube or trains through Zone 1 (costs me extra per trip and it adds up quickly).

As for the environment itself, I’m not sure if that’s just what it is on face value or if it’s a product of my own discomfort of living where I am.  When I’m home, I’m basically stuck in my bedroom as the landlord is always in the living with the doors closed.  This makes me feel like I’d be intruding on his space or interrupting him in some way.

Or at least that’s the way it feels to me.  I could be making assumptions about it all, but he’s not that friendly when you come right down to it.  At least not in the way I’m used to when living with other people.

Or maybe it’s me that’s become unwelcoming in that environment by shutting myself off in my bedroom.  Hmmm…

Anyway, this experience of getting to live temporarily in an area I already like has given me a new perspective about what I want from a room for rent or flatshare, and where I am now isn’t it.

man in bathSo I think it’s decision time.  I think instead of vaguely looking around at flat ads and hoping to find something that will push me into action, I need to get off my ass and make a move.

I think I need to give my month’s notice so I have a deadline of when I need to move by instead of sitting around saying I’ll give my notice once I find somewhere new to live.

It’s scary to just jump off the deep end like that, and there’s no guarantee that I’ll find the ‘perfect’ place, but if I don’t do it now I’ll end up just staying put and feeling miserable about living there.

But until then, I’m going to savour every moment I’m staying at my mate’s place. 🙂

Flathunting Is Over!

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Over the past month or so, I’ve spent a lot of my spare time looking at ads for flatshares and studio flats, but wasn’t finding much I actually liked.  As I mentioned in a previous post, Flat Hunting Sucks but luckily all that is over for now.Buy to let properties - 78009726CF001_PARAGON SHARES

In fact it’s been over for a week or two now, but I just haven’t had a chance to write about it all.

The last week or so has been all about figuring out how I was going to move all my stuff to my new place.  Especially since it’s not anywhere near my current place.  More on how that went soon..

Several weeks ago I still hadn’t seen a single place and was getting more and more frustrated about the whole thing.  And was seriously considering giving up the search and just moving with the couple I currently live with to their new place down the street, despite my not wanting to live with them anymore.

In fact, a mutual acquaintance of theirs and mine (ok, he’s their friend, and a shag of mine lol) kept saying that I should just move with them since I already know them.  That it would be easier to do that since I already know their habits and such.

Well that was exactly why I didn’t want to move with them. Hahaha

Anyway, I kept finding I’d make arrangements to view places only for it to not happen for one reason or another.  I had a couple cancel the same day I was due to see the place, another arrange a possible viewing only to tell me the day of she was booked up, and yet another who made an appointment to see her flat only to never send me the address and never reply to messages asking for it.

It definitely was not fun at all.

Since I live in Vauxhall and my new job is right by the station, I was hoping to be able to walk to work so was specifically looking for something nearby.  Or was at least an easy and quick commute away.

In the end, I only saw 3 different places..self01_3405_01

One of the first ads I’d replied to finally got around to arranging a viewing one Friday after work several weeks ago over in Stockwell.. only for me to find out once I got there that it was in the middle of a dodgy-looking council estate that a former mate of mine used to live on.  And I never felt safe going to visit him there.

The second place I saw was a lot farther out down near Crystal Palace and would be anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour to get to work each day including the walk to the rail station.  The difference with this place was it was a maisonette house on two floors with a little back garden and was really nice and cozy.  And the owner and I got along right off the start (I’ve promised him I wouldn’t discuss him on my blog, so that’s all I’ll say about him).

Then the third place was just down the street from my work, and yes was on another council estate that was cleaned up and looked nice.. too bad the flat itself wasn’t.  It literally looked like student housing, and most of the walls weren’t even properly painted after someone had patched up holes or something.  Very disappointing.

Can you take a wild guess which place I went for in the end?

That’s right.. after four and a half years of living in Vauxhall, I’m moving out of the gaybourhood down near Crystal Palace (it’s about a 15 minute walk away).  The new area is alright, nothing swanky or exciting though does need a bit of work.  And it is entirely residential – I think the closest shop of any sort is a good 10 minutes walk away towards Crystal Palace – and there’s a decent sized park (Norwood Park I believe it’s called) just around the corner really.Crystal Palace Park

And of course there’s the park at Crystal Palace with the ‘dinosaur’ statues or whatever they are.  Will definitely have to take a look at all that.

It’ll be odd living so far away from Central London after all these years and not being able to just run into Soho or wherever within no time at all, but maybe it’ll be a good thing.  I’ve been tired of the same old scene for ages now (in fact it’s a rarity that I actually go out on the scene itself), so it’ll be a breathe of fresh air to live somewhere new.  I just need to find my way around and figure out where the local haunts are.

Maybe once I get settled I can find a local to show me around a bit. 😉

Flat Hunting Sucks

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So now that I’ve got the job situation sorted for the moment, I’ve now got to find a new place to live.

Yeah I know.. If it’s not one thing, it’s another with me these days.  😉

The day I was offered my new job, I also found out I have to move.  The older couple I rent my room from received a letter from the landlady that they were going to take possession of the flat again.  In other works, move back into the flat themselves instead of renting it out again.

Basically it’s the standard excuse when a landlord wants a tenant to move out for whatever reason before the end of the current lease.Buy to let properties - 78009726CF001_PARAGON SHARES

The guys seemed surprised they were being asked to move after over 3 years of living here since, in their eyes, they’ve been great tenants.

Of course I don’t know the whole story… And to be honest, it’s really none of my business per se, except now I have to move as well.  The little I did find out from them is that they haven’t always been that good with paying the entire rent on time for whatever reason.

It does make me wonder where the rent I’ve been paying has been going.  I’ve always ensured my rent was paid in full and on time despite my unemployment and my benefits not fully covering the rent.  Not to mention that there are two of them and only one of me.

But again, not my problem.  If they haven’t been paying the rent on time or in full, then it’s them that could potentially get in trouble for that, not me since the landlady doesn’t even know I’m there (they weren’t supposed to sublet the second bedroom out apparently..).

So now I’ve got the fun job of trying to find a new place to live as soon as I can.  The letter they received did give them until mid-October, but they’ve put a bid on a place that they’d be looking to move into by end of August or beginning of September and are hoping the landlady will let them move out sooner.

Though I think they’ll get a nasty shock when the landlady demands for the rent for the rest of the time.  I’m glad they were agreeable to use my deposit for August’s rent instead of waiting until I move out, as who knows if they’d have the money then (not that they do now either..).

Yes ‘M’, I took your advice.. lol

They did ask if I’d be interested in moving with them, but I’m very reluctant to do so.  I thought about it and even went to see a couple flats with them, but I’ve wanted to move out for about a year now for a variety of reasons.  I only haven’t sooner since it would have been difficult with my not working and trying to find a place that would accept someone on benefits.

When I got this new job I was hoping to stay there for at least a couple months before I started looking for a new place to live, but whatever.. It is what it is.

It hasn’t been easy…  Since I’m on a much lower salary than I was at my previous job, I’m trying to find spareroom-logosomething I can afford that is basically walking distance to Vauxhall so I don’t have to worry about transport costs.  The problem with that is it’s not exactly cheap to live around this area.

I’ve found a bunch of ads that are kind of within my price range, but are again renting a room in flatshare with strangers. I’ve replied to a bunch of these ads, as well as placing an ad myself on Spareroom.co.uk, but have only had a handful of responses.

I’d hoped to find a somewhat decent studio to live in by myself, but all of these seem to be too expensive, too far away from Vauxhall, or are complete shit-holes.  Or all of the above.

How people can consider a small basic room with a hot plate and a shared washroom a flat is beyond me.  These are called bed-sits here in the UK.. to me that’s just another flatshare..

The bedsits I've seen don't look anywhere near this NICE..

The bedsits I’ve seen don’t look this NICE..

I wish I could find a place like the studio flat I had back in Montreal.  It had a nice big living area with room for a double bed, full couch, computer desk, tv stand, coffee table.. and still had room left to store my bike, and possibly could have had a small dining table as well.  It wasn’t the best building, but it was home for just over 2 years.

Admittedly, you’d be lucky to find some full on 1 bedroom flats that were that size here in London, and they’d probably be expensive as hell.

If I could afford it, I would move farther out and commute into work but that just wouldn’t be possible on this salary with all the bills I now need to catch up on.  I need to keep my costs as low as I can now (or at least until I can get a promotion and move up at work..).  Even if it was a simple bus commute I’d be okay with that since I still have my Job Seeker bus & tram discount for the next few months.

Well I guess we’ll see how it goes.. and hopefully I can find somewhere asap.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.  🙂