November 22nd, 2008

flower

I'm rambling and I can't shut up

Yesterday was a fairly undelightful one for me. I am feeling like escaping from my life but the old brain pattern of "keep a job so you have a place to live" and "have to stay in place you live as it's paid for and you can't afford to go anywhere else" keep me doing what I've been doing. I do know I have places I can run away to for a day or two, and that's good - helps me keep from feeling trapped. And work isn't awful, it's just dull.

I didn't go out at all last night but found myself at home trying to read three different books at once - David Sedaris's When You Are Engulfed in Flames, the new Charlaine Harris (An Ice Cold Grave, and Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. (This exciting news is all documented on my Twitter feed, which probably explains why more people don't use Twitter.) Actually, I only managed the first two as the third was ony read on the train and I didn't actually pick it up again once I got home. The problem, see, is that the Charlaine Harris Harper Connelly books are so good I just have to stretch them out. The same is true of David Sedaris. I could probably plow through both of them in two, three hours tops but I don't want to hurry it - I want months and months of Sedaris' essays and a few weeks at least of the Charlaine Harris. In some ways Johnathan Strange is the pefect book to help attenuate my reading experience, as it's, you know, the size of In Search of Lost Time (though much easier to digest so far).

This morning I'm probably up too early, in part because my rather dull evening had me in bed before too late. I'm probably not operating at full speed yet, based on the fact that, as I stood in the bathroom getting ready to dye my hair, I realized I needed to get my water spray bottle (which is also used for discouraging the cat from begging for food too early in the morning), and then walked to the spare bedroom, our bedroom, the hall, and then back in the bathroom, finally realizing it was sitting on the bathroom counter all this time. The dye's on now, though, and while searching for a "safe" shirt to wear I found my very fuzziest sweater, which is 100% artificial (I should say it's made of whipped dinosaur, I suppose) but warm as can be, which is good as it's 39°(F) outside and I am in dire need of clothes that ward of the chill - in part because we're off to apartment shop today. We have three properties we're looking at in Earlsfield and a similar number in Tooting - no idea which will be the winners, and we're only even checking out Earlsfield for the very first time. I don't really want to move out of our neighborhood as we're very content here (and near wechsler, and transport, and grocery stores, and the river), but I can't see how we can stay. And in my next place, I will have a garden, and when you come to visit me in the spring, you will say, "Oh, how lovely."

Which reminds me - I need to, very much, remember to wash the RED DYE out of my hair, lest the estate agents think I was scalped before I left the house. After all, that's what _they_ want to do.
Twit/ter

Review of flat hunting, day the first

Well, today we went to look at four flats. It was a remarkably lovely day to do so: sunny and chilly but not bitterly cold (mostly) - so the places were looking as good as it was possible for them to look.

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.