Note: OWWWW! Stomach, stop hurting any time I eat!
Okay, so, the first two flats were in Southfields. There's a neighborhood there called "The Southfields Grid," which is a bunch of Victorian row houses that reminded me of the Crabtree conservation area in Hammersmith - really lovely buildings that made you go, "Ooh, look at the period detail on THAT one!" The first one was the "potentially perfect" one, a two bedroom garden flat available right when we want to move (and on Revelstoke road, as a memory aide for later). Aaaaand ...
God it was so much smaller than our flat now, every single room by at least two thirds, except for the guest room which was about half the size of our current spare room and only big enough to walk around the bed inside. The light was nice, the fireplaces were keen, the wood floors were good, but just where in the world was there room for a second wardrobe ANYWHERE in the flat? It looked really nice from the outside, but ... it had a dorm fridge. Bah.
The second flat (on Standen Road, across from what I think of as the "Weed and Seed" academy, though what it really said was Nourish and Flourish), well, even though we were late, we still waited ten minutes more for the agent. We were already not so excited after seeing some skinheads walking down the street, cans o' lager in hand, on our way up, but the kicker was that even though we were supposed to see a second flat, the agent only had room for one person in her car. Wait for 15 minutes while J walked to catch up? Stuff that. The flat itself was nice - super polished inside, gorgeous flooring, great heating, extremely good furniture and a well-tended garden - but it had NO DINING ROOM. And they wanted someone to rent it immediately. Yeah, sure , it was a quick walk to Southfields tube station, but ... seemed to me like it was time to head to Tooting.
We ditched our first viewing (as we realized that "available now" wasn't really helping us get closer to finding a flat for when we were ready to move) and went straight on to the "we can show you more than one place" agent. This got us to Coverton Road, right next to St. George's hospital ("Means you're living next to a bunch of professionals," promised the agent). It was ... God, dark inside. There was only a living room, and the second bedroom had no storage space whatsoever and went right out to the yard. It just seemed ... blah. I had a hard time expressing any enthusiasm at all for the agent.
The next place (on Himley Road), the one I call "the shithole," was actually my favorite of the day, partially because it's 600 less than we're spending now, but also because it's a free-standing house - no split level bs. Of course, fact o' the matter is that it's a wee little place with a guest room that could barely accomodate its twin bed - but it was bright, bright, bright, with a relaxing front room I could imagine sitting around and visiting people in and a mysterious "conservatory" where most of the garden used to be that looked like the perfect place to drink tea in the morning. And in the light of this chilly winter day, this dirty, shabby joint (the kitchen just looked so poor and all the walls needed washing, as a start) looked like it would get us through the darkest days of the year just fine. Well, except for the fact that it was available now, and we weren't. Oh well.
Afterwards we went to a completely awesome restaurant near the agent called Dosa and Chutney, which basically could sell me on moving to Tooting just on its own merits. Man, could I be living the kind of foodie life I've been wanting to have if I could go to places like that for dinner all the time (and the prices were fantastic). Southfields, that place seemed very suburban in comparison, and the area we were looking in was really underserved by much of any kind of services. Yeah, sure, big park nearby, but what I'd really like is some independently owned shops, a few thrift stores, a caf, a pub, and a place to have coffee and pastries. And a good grocer store. And easy transport connections. And ... well, a pony.
There you go. Next round of flat shopping will be Tuesday night, and I'll report back then.