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.