Saturday, 9 May 2015

Why I'll miss my crap flat

Back when we were 22 years old, our dream was simple: we wanted to live together and be financially independent. Thanks to the fact that our landlord lives in Bermuda and is therefore pretty out of touch with rental prices, we were able to live our modest dream in what I suspect is The Cheapest Flat in London.

There is no doubt about it: our current flat is crap.


When we first moved in, the windows were still the original Victorian sash windows. The wood was flaking off and in the winter we stuffed newspaper around the panes of glass to try and seal out the cold, but a gust of wind would send our curtains billowing into the room. After about a year of persistent nagging I finally convinced my landlord that he had to put in double glazing, but three years on all our windows are still surrounded by rough plaster. I don't notice it anymore but when we have visitors I suddenly see all that beige plaster in HD and think how grim it must look.

To match our beige plaster we also have various yellow patches on our walls and ceilings where water has leaked through the masonry. Move any of the furniture in our bedroom and you'll find a wall speckled with black mould. In October of each year we begin something called "damp patrol" where the only moisture allowed in our bedroom is our own breath - and even that is forcibly removed from the room by dehumidifiers.

None of our floors are flat and none of our walls are straight. Guests often trip over outside our kitchen due to the sudden unexpected incline in the terrain.

The bathroom ceiling has a crack that runs the entire way around the perimeter like someone has been trying to cut into the room with a tin-opener and I honestly believe that the landlord let a colourblind toddler decorate the hallway.

After renting for four years we decided to buy our own place and against all odds, in a fiercely competitive market, we've actually managed to do so (just starting to get over the "ohhhh crap, what have we done?" phase).

So now I sit in our little flat surrounded by tetris-stacked boxes and I forget all of the bad things about our flat. Instead I remember the day we went to ikea to buy all of the cheapest furniture. I remember all of the fantastic Friday night takeaways we've had sat on the sofa. I remember trying to open a bottle of red wine and managing to spray it all over myself and the walls. I remember when Adam and a friend fixed our toilet with a sandwich tie and a piece of bicycle inner tube (it's still holding up, the lettings agent doesn't need to know). I think how nice our living room looks when it's decorated for Christmas. I've had many happy hours cooking in my little kitchen where everything is at arm's reach. I like that there's a knack to getting the hot water to run and it's too complicated to explain to my parents. There is nothing in our new flat that is as beautiful as our tiled fireplace.

I feel sad to be leaving our first home together and I think it will take me a long time to get used to living somewhere new. I know that in time I'll probably forget about our old flat - the good things and the bad - so that's probably why I'm writing this blog, so I'll remember where we began.

***One month later**

Obviously I've been neglecting the blog what with all the packing and unpacking etc but we've been in our new flat for a month now. We've already painted the kitchen and I can't wait to get started on the other rooms. Although I sorely miss our old flat, this one is just beginning to feel like home :)