Saturday, May 1, 2010

A kiss from the captain

We ordered tequilas, drank them and went back to dancing. It was so hot in the club sweat was running down my back but the music was great and I couldn’t keep still. We went and stood in front of a giant fan to cool down. A guy I had noticed looking at me earlier came and stood next to me, ‘God it’s so hot in here’ he moaned, I smiled politely and went to walk away. ‘What’s your star sign?’ he asked me. ‘Why?’ I laughed, amused at his chat up line. ‘Well, you look like a Pisces but I’m not sure,’ he said, moving closer to me. I cracked up and looked helplessly over to where the others were dancing. James caught my eye and came over to my rescue, grabbing my hand and leading me to rejoin the group.

I noticed Emily eyeing me with distaste, James couldn’t take his eyes off me as I danced. I felt a bit self-conscious under his gaze but suddenly James grabbed me and kissed me hard on the lips. He took a step back and I stood there, stunned, completely taken aback. The captain of the football team had just kissed me. Emily stormed off but James ignored her attention seeking and kissed me again. ‘Don’t stop’ I thought, enjoying every second of it. Before I knew it, it was time to go home. We queued to get our jackets and went outside, standing on the curb trying to decide how to get home and talking drunk nonsense. ‘I’ve got to get all the way to sodding Fulham’ I moaned. ‘You can come back to mine’ James raised his eyebrows at me. I wanted to so badly, I may never get this opportunity again...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Out on the town

We arrived at the pub, the live music could be heard down the street and people were spilling out onto the pavement, making the most of the Indian summer evening. We went straight to the bar and I ordered a pint of lager and joined the group of friends sat around laughing, joking, smoking. I sipped my beer and enjoyed the music and the buzzing atmosphere. ‘We should go if we want to get in cheap before 11!’ Mel said, always one for watching the pennies. I drained my glass and grabbed my jacket and we all went to join the queue for the club next door. My favourite Libertines song was playing inside and we all sang along to it in the queue.

We paid the entrance fees and went straight to the dancefloor, I felt on top form after the wine and beer. I danced with Lise and Mel, the two of them were so uninhibited when they were dancing. Mel grabbed my arm: ‘James is on the pull tonight!’ I laughed, I had fancied James since University but I’d had Taylor and he had been with an Australian girl for years until she returned home. James was stunningly good looking, intelligent, sweet and had been captain of the football team. Way out of my league, or so I’d always thought.

I went to the bar to get another beer. James was smoking a cigarette talking to his friend John. I butted in the conversation, ‘We’re trying to decide whether or not to get some coke’ John said. ‘Depends if you’re thinking of taking someone home tonight,’ I said looking James straight in the eye. ‘Very good point,’ he laughed with a cheeky glint in his eye. At that moment one of the girls from the group stormed over, grabbed James and dragged him onto the dancefloor. Mel and Lise came over, sweaty from their energetic display. ‘Who’s that?’ I asked them annoyed, gesturing in the direction of the annoying girl. Mel rolled her eyes, ‘Emily’ she sneered ‘fucking loser tart. She’s slept with pretty much every guy here. Don’t know why they put up with her, she’s a dick.’

Monday, April 26, 2010

Saturday afternoon drinks

Lise was waving frantically at me from the door of the club. We hugged and went inside to meet Mel. ‘Shall we get a bottle of white’ Mel suggested, it was 3pm but what the fuck, it was Saturday. We drank the wine and listened to the bands, not my cup of tea but Notting Hill Arts club was a cool venue and I was having a great time talking with Mel whilst Lise went off and took her photos, it seemed everyone in here was a wannabe photographer. All leaning at strange angles, trying to get the most unusual shot, on a chair, on their knees, who’s got the biggest and the best, it was such an unspoken competition.

We finished a second bottle of wine and headed out of the door feeling merry. ‘Where next?’ I asked as we headed towards the tube station. ‘Mike and everyone are at Garage, we could go and meet them?’ Mel suggested. We jumped on the tube feeling loud and confident from the alcohol. We sat down and began to reapply eyeliner and powder, everyone in high spirits. Lise got up and did a little dance whilst Mel and I watched, laughing. I loved these days, the freedom and excitement, never knowing what was going to happen next. London could be the best place in the world.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Je t'aime...

I strutted out of the hairdressers feeling on top of the world. My French hairdresser always made my hair look fabulous, I paused for a second then thought ‘What the hell?’ and went into the French patisserie next door where Brice worked. Well actually he ran it for his father and he was indescribably beautiful with black hair that flopped into his mesmerising dark chocolate eyes. He was your atypical, gorgeous French man and I spent hours fantasising about the day I would walk into the café, order an espresso in my best French, take a seat outside with my big sunglasses on and read a copy of Le Monde. He would appear with my coffee and his phone number written discretely on the receipt. This would be the start of our whirlwind romance when we would spend weekends in bed in a hotel over looking the Eiffel Tower, he would cook exquisite Provencal dishes for me in our Kensington apartment and others would eye us enviously as we sipped expensive wine in London’s trendiest bars, so in love we didn’t notice another soul.

The bell on the door tinkled as I tentatively pushed it open, flicking my shiny hair over my shoulder. ‘Oui’ he said without looking up. ‘Um, un cappuccino s’il te plait’ I mumbled. He made my drink without looking and handed it to me ‘Un cinquante’ he said as I fumbled around in my purse looking for the correct money. ‘Merci’ I said as I departed, he didn’t notice.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Not a date

I rushed around the room trying to decide what to wear. I couldn’t look like I’d made too much effort but I wanted to look subtley stunning. A look not that easy to achieve from experience. I barely had any clothes with me in Teddington but I settled on a floaty skirt and green top which gave me a nice cleavage and complemented my tan. I played around with my hair to make it look tousled and applied some ‘natural’ make-up or rather piled on as much as I could get away with in neutral tones. Perfume, deodorant, shimmery body lotion, brushed teeth and I was done almost exactly as he arrived in his sister’s red Fiesta which he was borrowing whilst he lived with her in West London.

I answered the door and we hugged. It was so good to feel his body again, I realised how much I had missed him and the friendship we shared since that mistake of a night. He looked at me, ‘You look fantastic’ he told me sincerely. ‘Thanks’ I blushed as I shut the door and my stomach felt all tingly. I had been ecstatic when he had called me half an hour earlier to see what I was up to. A Sunday afternoon in Joe's company was just what I needed.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

He loves me, he loves me not

Unrequited love. It was such a major bummer and totally consuming. Thinking about a person constantly, knowing full well they’re not thinking about you but still hoping that they are. Constantly checking your phone and e-mails hoping for a message, going to write one and deleting it. Re-writing it. Sending it. Regretting it. Pretending a text sent was meant for someone else and then feeling pathetic. Dreaming of the object of your desire and crying in frustration at the fruitlessness of these dreams. Buying new underwear every time you meet them. Buying tickets to see bands they like. Making mix cds of ‘your’ favourite songs. Having an imaginary relationship, wedding, honeymoon, children, even arguments and make-up sex. Then realising what a sad individual you are. Hoping one day you’ll get over it, meet someone even better. But always wondering what might have been...

This was the story of me and Joe and had been since the very first day I had met him one summer working as a lifeguard. He was handsome, had a gorgeous body, dark hair, suntan and hint of an Australian accent from his year spent travelling. At 20 I had spent my summer being teased, thrown in the sea, clinging on for dear life to his wet t-shirt on the boat and loving every second of attention he bestowed on me. I had, of course, been the girlfriend of Taylor of the time but as Joe was just a 'friend' we’d all hung out with Taylor in blissful ignorance.

This underlying sexual tension had carried on for a couple of years until one fateful night, when things had well and truly started to come unstuck with Taylor, I got horrendously drunk with Joe, we’d ended at his parents’ place at 4am drinking whiskey and, consequently, looking at his travelling photos in his room and, eventually, naked.

Joe hadn’t called me the next day. Or the day after. Or the day after that. I had been devastated and angry with myself. I vowed to never be treated like that again. Until the next time.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Memory loss

After the absinthe it was pretty much game over. I remembered drinking the disgusting shot, two of the boys threw up almost immediately and I had come pretty close to it. I also remembered getting to university and trying to find people, drinking vodka on the hill, smoking, being harnessed to a huge trampoline then that was it.

I woke up at 9am with no idea where I was or how I'd got there. I looked at the floor and saw my dress, I was still wearing my shoes and underwear. I groaned, ‘oh jesus, what the hell happened last night.’ My phone was next to the pillow. Seventeen missed calls and not one had woken me up. I felt sick and ran to the bathroom. Jen must have heard me vomiting, she came out of the spare room looking like death. ‘What the fuck happened to you last night girl?’ I shook my head and steadied myself on the wall. ‘Please tell me you know, I can’t remember a thing.’

I filled a glass with water and took a sip, too soon. I went to throw up again. Today was going to be awful. Jen told me the last she’d seen of me I was talking to Dave on the hill, bottle of vodka I'd taken along long gone. Apparently we’d been having an intense conversation, he’d tried to kiss me and I'd left suddenly. No-one knew where I was and they’d spent a long time looking. I put my head in my hands, I couldn’t believe I’d spent god knows how much on a dress, shoes, train fare, a ticket and it was the last time I’d see my friends together again and I had pretty much missed the entire event due to one disgusting shot of absinthe (and a lot of vodka). I bolted past Jen to throw up some more.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Having a ball

I poured myself a fourth glass of wine and looked at myself sideways in the full length mirror, holding my stomach in. I didn’t look bad. Pink strapless prom dress, white strappy sandles, silver and pink jewellery and white carnations in my hair. The doorbell rang. I opened the door to her friends, all scrubbed up from their normal scruffy attire and in tuxedos. They took a step back, ‘Wow!’ Ryan said stunned, ‘you actually look like a princess.’ I blushed and showed them into the garden. I put on some music and we chatted and caught up on what we’d been doing for the last month.

Jen jumped over the side wall in her black dress and trainers, gave me a huge hug and immediately started rolling a giant spliff. Nothing will ever change with these guys, I thought to herself with a smile. I went into the kitchen and found the bottle of absinthe she’d been saving for a ‘special occasion’...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Breaking up is hard to do

The day passed by in a whirl, I felt like an extra from Harry Potter in my gown and mortar board, a drum accompanied the procession through the grand hall with my lecturers dressed in a fine array of furry, silk, floaty capes and some strange looking hats. The pictures took forever and friends and family stood about trying not to look bored. I could tell her parents were wishing they were on the beach and Taylor just looked like he didn’t know where to put himself, poor guy.

We went to the union bar for one last pint of snakebite before leaving. Taylor kept looking at me expectantly. Selfishly, I really didn’t want to deal with him today. We walked backed to the house in the afternoon sun, feeling slightly tipsy from the beer and wine. Taylor grabbed hold of my hand and slowed me down. ‘You’ve barely spoken to me all day!’ he whispered angrily. ‘You pick your days don’t you’ I responded bitterly. ‘When else am I supposed to talk to you? You never answer your phone or reply to my texts. What the hell’s going on?’ I sighed, I felt so bad and just didn’t know what to say to him, he didn’t deserve this.

‘I’m sorry, I really am. Things have been crazy and I needed some time to work out what was going on,’ ambiguous as ever. ‘And what is going on?’ he stopped me and looked into me eyes. ‘What do you want me to say? I don’t know. Things have changed. We want different things and I need time to work out if we can work this out.’

‘I won’t wait much longer,’ he had tears in his eyes as he turned and walked towards my parent’s car.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Graduation day

‘You’re graduating?’ Paninder said in disbelief, looking me up and down, ‘In what?’ he couldn’t have sounded any more disgusted. ‘French, international politics and economics’ I said dismissively, hoisting my gigantic rucksack onto my back. He shook his head ‘I thought you were here on work experience.’ Rodrigo started choking into his cup of tea and my jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe how rude this gross little man was, did everyone here really think I was just a dumb little blonde? It did give me a great opportunity to prove everyone wrong though, and that I would.

Almost two hours later, having got massively lost trying to find the nearest open tube station* and thus wandering about London in the sweltering heat with a 20kg bag, I was sat on the train at Liverpool Street. We wouldn’t be moving for at least an hour, great so I wouldn’t arrive in Birmingham until midnight at the earliest. I put her headphones in and tried not to get worked up, why did things like this always happen to me? I blamed it on karma, maybe I should finally start trying to be a better person.

I finally crawled into my makeshift bed at 1am and set my alarm for 7am. My head was hurting and I felt grimy. When the alarm went off I was far from ready to get up. I jumped in the shower and got dressed in my new wraparound dress and sandals. It was a beautiful day, 32 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. I couldn’t believe I was actually graduating after all of this time. The doorbell rang, it was my parents and Taylor. I had been trying to forget about facing up to that little reality today. They all looked so smart and my parents were beaming. Even he cut a pretty fine picture in his hand maid suit bought cheap in Thailand on one of many voyages. I was in flap, my hair wouldn’t stay straight, I hadn’t eaten and we had to leave. My poor parents would cop the blame as usual as I barked orders and ran about trying to organise myself.

*Following the London tube bombings.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Home time

We went outside to the bus stops, groups of people mulled about, negotiating deals with illegal taxi drivers and trying to find the right night bus home. ‘I’m that way’ Piers told me as Lise wandered off for some last minute banter with her DJ. ‘Ok, bye’ I said politely. He leant down again and I quickly turned my cheek feeling bad but not so bad that I would put herself through another rubbish snog. ‘Um, can I have you number?’ he asked shyly ‘I was thinking we could go out some time, I’ll let you have a look in my props cupboard if you like?’ Aside from everything he was funny. My resolve melting, I dished out my number. I really did have no restraint and I always did enjoy a bit of harmless text flirting.

Piers disappeared into the night and I made a start on prising Lise away from her object of desire. We sat at the bus stop and dissected the evening, Lise practically wetting herself as I divulged every detail of my ‘first kiss'.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Kissing frogs

I was excited at the prospect of my first kiss since my long-term boyfriend. I felt like I could explode with anticipation as he leant down to my face. I closed my eyes, waiting for his lips to meet mine and when they did I felt my whole body light up. I waited for his tongue to move between my lips, I waited, and waited. His mouth was on mine but that was about it. I pulled away feeling a bit confused. He was smiling and looking all pleased with himself. I took a sip of her beer and decided to give it another shot. Same thing. I tried to force his mouth open with my tongue but it wasn’t budging and he was making a weird smacking sound as he kissed me. How can you get to 23 and be a terrible kisser? I thought to myself, thoroughly disappointed. ‘Get a room!’ a couple of lads shouted from across the bar. No chance, I thought to myself, if he was this bad at kissing god knows what his performance was like in other areas.

Disappointed, I finished my beer and made an excuse that I was going to find the others, he followed. Mel and Lise were sweaty from dancing and Lise was flirting hopelessly with the DJ she was obsessed with. ‘Ready to go?’ Mel asked with a cheeky smile, she’d obviously seen. I hadn’t realised it was 2.30am already. We went outside and parted ways to go home. Piers followed Lise and I into the chip shop. We sat and ate chips in awkward silence, I wanted rid of Piers and I didn't want to kiss him again.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

First flirtation

I went to the toilet, it just made me feel worse. There were three anorexic, under-aged girls in skinny jeans and cool jewellery discussing how they were going to have their favourite song lyrics tattooed on their backs. They eyed up my bland outfit with turned up noses as I washed my hands feeling incredibly out of place. I decided to go for a wander and see how many stupid hats I could count. I’d got to eight and a crap wig when I bumped into Piers at the bar with a complicit look on his face. ‘Are you thinking what I’m thinking’ I asked. ‘Dickheads’ he said in his Welsh lilt, nodding towards the trendies filing past like they owned the place. I cracked up laughing and accepted his offer of a drink.

We stationed ourselves the bar pointing out the best and worst outfits from the prop cupboard. He was very attractive, tall, messy dark hair and big, expressive eyes. He was hilarious too. We must have been talking for over an hour, unaware that all the others had come for a gawp. I was aware of Piers moving closer to me, under the guise that he couldn’t hear my voice. I could feel that little electric spark you get when your sexual energy collides with someone else’s. ‘Can I kiss you?’ he whispered in my ear sending a shiver through my body.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Alternative London

I hung up the phone and rejoined my friends in the queue. I was shaking. Lise put her arm around me. Everyone knew I had been arguing with Taylor but didn’t want to pry. ‘You ok?’ Mel whispered. I nodded. I could understand Taylor but didn’t know what to do, I wished I had the balls to tell him to leave me alone but it would crush him. Was it best to just cut all ties and tell him to get on with it or let him carry on as he was with the hope that I just needed a bit of time to get my head together? We went into the club and Lise and Mel went straight to the dance floor to burn it up. I hit the bar, I needed a beer. I took a massive gulp of it and took in my surroundings. I was at an indie club in the west end. I’d never been here or anywhere like it before. Everyone was so meticulously alternative it was painful. I glanced down at my outfit, black t-shirt, jeans and pink converse, and felt so plain it was untrue. I swore that there must be a props cupboard in the building because everyone that passed by me had better, bigger and more exquisite accessories: feather boas, trilbies, huge sunglasses, ties, flowers, belts. And the hairstyles were unmentionable, one guy couldn’t see where he was going his hair was blow dried and sprayed across his face like a net.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Just like home?

The room was big and plain without much furniture apart from an old double bed next to the window. ‘It’s £100 a week plus bills,’ the proprietor told me. I looked around me, this was the cheapest place I’d viewed and it was a shithole. He showed me the kitchen, it was average. ‘You’ll be sharing with a French guy. He’s nice. We’re all nice, we’re like a big family. One of the girls even sleeps in my room with me if she has her friends staying!’ I smiled through gritted teeth and tried to imagine myself fitting into this ‘family’.

‘A few other things,’ he added ‘you have to pay me in cash on the first of every month. The deposit must be in cash as well. If you wish to use the washing machine you must pay me £3 per use and if you have visitors to stay it is £10 per person, per night.’ I was shocked ‘What, even if it’s a friend who can’t get home last minute?’ I asked. ‘It’s cheaper than a hotel,’ he said cheerily. I couldn’t believe it, what a cheapass git.

‘You must make up your mind now,’ he said going downstairs ‘there is another girl interested in the room.’ We went into his front room on the ground floor where a girl waited, ‘Hi’ she said in a German accent. Poor thing was clearly going to get bent over and royally screwed. I didn’t want a confrontation, ‘Do you mind if I let you know later this evening?’ I said politely. He shrugged his shoulders disinterestedly and showed me out of the flat.

I walked as quickly as I could to the nearest tube station and didn’t look back. I emailed him that night very politely saying I wouldn’t be taking the room.

The next morning I had a reply in my inbox:
‘I knew you were a timewaster as soon as I met you. You wouldn’t know a good thing if it hit you in the face.’ I’d clearly made a very good decision.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I got my phone out of my handbag for the fifth time to check for messages or missed calls. Nothing. I was sick to death of flat hunting. I’d been searching for over a week now and all I’d achieved was a better knowledge of London (from constantly getting lost), a lot of wasted time and encounters with a number of weirdos. Fingers crossed this place in Sheperds Bush would be the one...

However, my situation wasn’t looking too good, the guy I was supposed to meet was nearly an hour late and what I’d seen of the area so far wasn’t great: a guy had pushed me off the bus, there’d been a fight just up the straight and every person who had walked past me looked decidedly dodgy/Australian.

An Indian man came out of the house and approached me with a big smile, holding out his hand: ‘Sarah?’ I nodded and put out my hand ‘Pleased to meet you, I'm Saeed’ he said as he ushered me past past him through the door to the town house. I followed him into the hallway past an old bike, several stacks of magazines and some other general mess. We went up a narrow staircase, the carpet was worn and dirty. Saeed pulled a huge bunch of keys from his pocket and opened a door to a bedroom. My mum had always warned me of men with big bunches of keys...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Still looking

He showed us to the bedroom and bathroom and began demonstrating how the washing line worked. Great.

Back in the hallway Charles pointed out a large photo of a wrinkly old woman sat before a huge Christmas tree in the living room. ‘That’s my mother, bless her. I can sense her here sometimes.’ He pointed to the plastic framed photos covering the walls of the large hallway. ‘I took all of these’ he proclaimed proudly. We went into the kitchen where he showed off his vast appliance collection. ‘So, I have a few more people coming to see the flat but it’s £400 including bills.’

I thanked Charles kindly, as we backed out of the door, and tried desperately not to engage him in another conversation. I breathed a sigh of relief as he closed the front door. ‘So that place was really nice and quite cheap’ Joe said, biting his lip. ‘What an absolute weirdo, no way.’ We burst out laughing as we recalled the strangest moments from the encounter. ‘You seemed to get on well with him, you wouldn’t shut up!’ I exclaimed. ‘Only because you were stunned into complete silence.’

‘Oh finding a flat is such hard work,’ I moaned. He linked arms with me and pulled me into a pub ‘Let’s go for a drink’.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The search goes on...

I hopped off the tube at Putney and exited the station. Joe wasn’t there so I got my compact out and checked my face and hair. My phone beeped: Be there in 2. I sat down on a bench in the sun to wait. This was the first time we'd seen each other since the 'incident' at Easter and although I knew it would be ok, I was nervous. There was also the fact that, officially, me and Taylor were still together. He walked round the corner and I smiled, he gave me a massive hug ‘Good to see you’. He smelt amazing.

‘Are you sure you don’t mind doing this?’ I asked as I consulted my map for about the eightieth time. ‘Of course not, I’m quite interested actually.’ We walked down an alley in the direction of flat number five. After getting vaguely lost a few times we arrived outside a grand looking building, defaced with scaffolding. I pressed the doorbell for flat 04 and waited with anticipation. I couldn’t even remember which flat this viewing was for...

A small bald man answered the door and stuck out a tiny hand introducing himself as Charles. We shook it in turn and he showed us into the flat. It was big and very clean and tidy. He led us to the living room and we sat on the sofa in the big red and green room.

‘So this is my place,’ he began. Definitely gay I thought. He started talking and talking and talking... An hour passed and we hadn’t moved. Joe shifted uncomfortably on the sofa. Charles opened a cupboard to show us his extensive DVD collection and I decided enough was enough. ‘Um so do you mind if I see the rest of the house?’ I enquired...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Joe is the one who got away.

The one I will always wonder 'what if...' The one I sometimes dream of and consider moving heaven and earth for.

From the minute I met him I loved his hair, his accent, his smell. It is an almost stalker like obsession I can only put down to not having had the opportunity to actually go off him, chances are his fear of commitment, lack of faith in relationships and no desire to have children would have got to me in the end but... alas I'll never know.

Friday, January 22, 2010


I picked up my phone and organised a couple more viewings, left some voicemails for potential flatmates and went to check the daily offering on the gumtree. At 11pm I’d finally had enough and got into bed. I’d been ignoring Taylor’s calls all day but I knew I'd have to speak to him eventually. Staring out of the skylight at the stars I wondered what Joe was doing.

I was awoken abruptly by my phone vibrating on the table next to me, I reached out for it knocking a glass of water over. ‘Yes’ I said sleepily. ‘You left me a message earlier’ a foreign accent said. ‘Oh, was it about a flatshare?’ I said confused, it was 5am. ‘What?’ he asked. ‘I saw your advert in Loot, about a room in your house,’ I told him. ‘What?’ he repeated.

Why was London so full of fucking weirdos, I thought, furious I had been woken by this idiot. I hung up and tried to go back to sleep, my phone immediately started buzzing again. I switched it off and tried to calm down, knowing I wouldn’t be able to sleep now.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Couch surf time

So the flat hunting weekend hadn’t gone exactly to plan. Well actually it had been the biggest waste of 48 hours I had ever experienced. I was now homeless and starting to get desperate so I had called a friend in Middlesex to beg for a bed until I found somewhere permanent. Fortunately the spare room at her parent’s place was vacant for two weeks. ‘Come home and commute from here’ my mum had suggested. But that would cost the same as rent and completely defy the point of my planned year in London doing whatever the hell I wanted, with whom and where I wanted.

I sat on the bed with a copy of Loot and a pen and started circling flatshares in my budget and in the areas I wanted to live. This could take forever and it was beginning to feel like having a second job, working all day then spending my breaks searching for flats, going straight to visit them after work and returning home at around 9pm. I just wanted to get somewhere, it wasn’t that much to ask. The commute from Teddington was adding an extra couple of hours on my day too.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

What an unsuccessful start

We left the agency feeling deflated. Apart from the dodgy sounding flatshares we’d also been informed that if we took one of the flats on offer we would have had to pay the agency two weeks rent as a fee. My bank balance was looking more pathetic by the second as was the prospect of finding somewhere to live anywhere in the near future.

After a full day and covering a lot of ground we had seen one (minging) flat, almost made it to a (potentially) very nice flat, made a hell of a lot of phonecalls and been taken as mugs at an agency. We were tired, fed-up and I was wondering why I was bothering. ‘Drink?’ Lise suggested brightly. ‘You must have read my mind’ I brightened up as we took a sharp left into a nice little bar in Archway with live bands and cheap-ish beer.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dolphin bathroom?

Twenty minutes late and more than slightly stressed, we finally found the doorway to the estate agency. We went upstairs and were seated with the 'estate agents'. We gave them our details, how much we earned, where we wanted to live, when we wanted to move in, how much we wanted to pay etc etc... ‘Sarah needs to find somewhere really quickly,’ Lise told the very attractive guy sat opposite her, ‘so if she has to get a place for one for now that might be best.’ I was slightly confused, was Lise backing out?

After a few minutes the woman helping me had a couple of potential places lined up. ‘Double room for a non-smoker sharing with an Italian lady in Archway. Dolphin bathroom.’ Does that mean there is a dolphin theme in the bathroom? I wondered to myself. I copied down the number and a time, not feeling particularly enthusiastic about this set up.

‘Ooh, this is promising. £110 a week, all inclusive, double bedroom in Sloane Square! Wow, what a great price,’ the woman gushed ‘sharing with a professional male. He’s asking for an English, Australian or Kiwi female in her early to mid-twenties. Ah, only problem is there’s one bathroom and it’s an en-suite in his bedroom. Well for that price you can hardly complain!’ I was utterly shocked, what did this woman think I was?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Love London

Everyone really is better looking in London. And where else in the world can you walk around and not hear a word of English? A different language came from every direction. The buzz I got just from walking down the street was indescribable, the kind of feeling that never fades. We sat down at a table in an expensively chic café and ordered cappuccinos and bagels.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The search begins

‘It will take you a weekend max’ Lise had promised me on the phone the week before, but as she thrust her mobile into my hand, I wasn’t so sure. ‘But you’re so much better than me!’ Lise claimed, with that sweet look on her face I always relented to. I dialled the number of the first circled ad in Loot and ten minutes later our day was mapped out. Brick Lane at 11am, Old Street at midday, Highgate at three and stopping off at an agency in Oxford Circus somewhere in between.

‘Breakfast?’ Lise enquired. Typical, we hadn’t even begun the search and she was already thinking about food. We left Lise’s parents' cool art-deco flat at the Barbican and headed towards a café near St Paul’s. If only we could afford somewhere like this, I thought, it was so central and in such a fantastic area. No chance on my start rate at LawWorks, I thought resentfully. My phone vibrated. Text message. Taylor. ‘Hope the flat hunting’s going well. Can’t wait to see you next weekend. Love you babe xxx.’ No time for that now. Delete.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


The memory of Taylor leaving me at the station in Oldton-By-The-Sea is firmly rooted in my mind as if it had been yesterday. I knew it was the final goodbye and after months of being secretly unhappy it was finally time to move on. It was sad and I felt terrible but it just wasn’t meant to be.

‘Don’t go’ Taylor begged, as if he sensed that heartache was ahead. ‘Don’t make this any harder’ I said softly, my head on Taylor’s shoulder, I should have been feeling broken hearted after a pretty fantastic four and a half years with one of the most amazing people I had ever meet but instead I felt a nervous sense excitement. I broke away from his embrace and stepped onto the train, it was time to leave. I heaved my rucksack onto an empty chair and sat down next to it. The train pulled out of Oldton and towards London Liverpool Street, I waved at Taylor until I could no longer see him. It was the end of an era but there was so much to look forward to.

The first thing on the list was to find somewhere to live...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Flat hunting

‘Let’s put it into perspective: there are over seven million people living in London. If you’re going to move into a random flatshare, the chances of it being the right one are very slim.’ My cousin, June 2005

There’s no such thing as the perfect flatshare. In fact for the most part they’re absolute nightmares. However, they are a way for the lesser off to enjoy London life without resorting to a cardboard box under Waterloo Bridge or having to take a loan out to make rent. Having said that, if you think paying half your wages every month to a piss-taking, money-grabbing landlord to cohabit in a fleapit in a less than salubrious area then I suggest you try it.

WANTED: Flatshare. Single/double room with a window, bed, doors etc. West London ish. Near a good pub. Preferably with someone, happy, normal, fun-loving. Please.