Hermit Tip 3:- Leave London

I have written nothing, nothing since Halloween and now its almost Christmas. This is mainly due to me not having a laptop, but also due to life getting in the way. This Hermits way too bad at multi-tasking to be busy in life and to blog about it!

I am finally on holiday and am now sitting in my flat, still without heating, as of yesterday without hot water and with mould growing up the back of my chest of drawers-Merry Christmas to us all! Luckily, Im flying back home to be taken care of by my mummy until Christmas, so my blogging will become less London-oriented and more Christmas, pantomime, food and tacky decorations-oriented, watch this space, it’s going to be embarrassingly filled with tat!

Until then, I plan to spend as little time in my flat as possible, which has mad me unintentionally…sociable(?!). Yes, I have filled my time with lunches, dinners and even a few drinks. Going out in London has skinted me, but that aside it has turned out to be the silver lining on this green little cloud of mould.

This leads me on to London survival tip number 3-Leave London!

Getting away and getting a break, especially from the city that you work and study in can be just the ticket. I always come back refreshed, at least 5lbs heavier and with my bank balance severely lacking (me and Mumma shop A LOT)! Already I have texts and messages from old friends to catch up over christmas cocktails and my sparkly dresses are at the ready.

Im hardly ‘surviving’ right now, without hot showers, heating and a stinking cold. Sometimes, when things get bad, you need to bite the bullet and call your mum. They make everything better!

For now, fellow Hermits.

x

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Contents of my mouldy bedroom in my living room.
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Now on to grease and calories to make it all better.

 

Hermit Tip 3:- Leave London

Hermit Tip 2:- Get Outdoors

Hermit Tip 2:- Get Outdoors.

I have been born and bred in Scotland. This probably fills your head with stereotypical images of people frolicking around rolling hills, cold crisp weather, deep fried mars bars  and angry men in skirts. This, in my life experience is all 100% true. I cant speak for the whole population of 5.295million, however, it is safe to say after a mere glimpse at my father, I have come from a very stereotypically Scottish family.

One thing I struggle with as a self confessed hermit, is the size of London. If I drive for 30 minutes towards the outskirts of London, Im still in London (or still London’s fare zone). Back home If I drive for 20 (ok maybe 40) minutes outside of the city Im at the start of the Cairngorms, the biggest National Park in Britain. My socially nervous attitude, mixed with my love of the outdoors has led to lots of ambling around some of the gorgeous parks London has to offer.

Whether it’s a planned day trip, or just incorporating it into your everyday life, a little (or long) walk in a park, can calm any feelings of anxiety and distract you from the full realisation of just how crazy (and amazing) the city we live in is. 

This week I visited Wimbledon Common and Richmond park. The 10 mile round walk is no easy feat. I, being an experienced hill walker and very stupid and arrogant, wore my nice new leather ankle boots. Ten miles is quite a long walk and whether walking up glens or just in a park- never walk 10 miles in new black shiny boots. They will become muddy. They will rub. Your feet will be left a mangled mess and the lovely American cyclists will laugh at you as you complain and hobble over muddy puddles towards your boyfriend- who’s walking a good 200 yards ahead of you.

Footwear problems aside, it is a lovely walk and good trip to make. There are deer, pretty houses, museums and a nice cup of coffee in the pub at Wimbledon Common. Most importantly you can swan around the place enjoying the autumn weather, the crispy leaves and getting some piece and quiet before the start of what will probably be yet another very busy week.

Happy Sunday Hermits,

Lots of love

x

 

Hermit Tip 2:- Get Outdoors

Renting in London

As I lie awake at three o’clock in the morning, unable to sleep because the new holiday makers have just arrived in the flat upstairs (damn AirbnB), I can’t help but ponder on my so-far unfortunate experiences renting accommodation in London. I am now in ‘Home No.3’ (26B),and still haven’t found a house/flat that is in a good state of repair. My boyfriend and I moved into our basement flat last September in 2014. I had just turned 21 and it was my first time living with a boy.

We had spent weeks trying to find an appropriate flat. Hours worth of searching, tears, tantrums and more stress later we finally found 26B, for just £525 each a month. This eye-watering figure would make most of my friends and family in Scotland weep. ‘£1050 a month for 27 square meters?!’ My friends (who spend £300 a month on their rent) cried. Unfortunately £1050 a month is dirt cheap here (I cringe as I write this) and even a year on, it is becoming harder and rarer to find something even in this price range.

The flat was a mess when we went to view it, dishes in the sink, empties all over the living room, dirty clothes all over the floor, and a very strange smell coming form the kitchen. The guy who lived there was somewhat of a pig in his sty. ‘That will all go, there will be a full and professional clean,’ said the estate agent, lets call him ‘Lucifer’ shall we? We were told there was another viewing in 10 minutes so if we wanted it, we had to decide quickly. Old Nick was now taking on a role similar to that of a drug pusher, showing us the ultimate temptation. If we wanted a house now, we had to say yes, but if it all went tits up, it was our problem and we were on our own.  How many disgusting flats had we seen already? There certainly wouldn’t be another chance to rent a flat like this in such a nice area…or for the money we have. Seeing the potential in the flat, we signed there and then. In blood (I jest). Naive and overly trusting in Lucifer we believed the flat would be restored to a decent state, we skipped off back up to Scotland for a holiday, very happy at the prospect of living in our new flat. This was our tiny half of a basement! We couldn’t believe our luck. We didn’t have room for a freezer, dryer, sofa or chairs but it was ours and it had a patio and we loved it.

Fast forward to move in day. Arrive at flat. Curl nose up at the reeking, stench of damp. Look round living room. Cry. It hadn’t been cleaned. It hadn’t been fixed. There was mould everywhere, the wood work was rotten, the window frame was broken, the locks didn’t work, the toilet was brown, the shower door was hanging on its hinges, there was a thick layer of dirt and dust in, on and behind everything and the previous tenant/professional cleaners had  thoughtfully left us a nice little assault course of broken glass all over our patio. There were yet more, not-so-empties in and around the boiler cupboard.  Cheers.

The landlady said she was ‘mortified’ and to send her a list of repairs, she would then get straight on them. A year later, and after weekly emails, we have had 4 workmen in to give her quotes. Workmen that we had found and gone to the effort of contacting. Our boiler subsequently broke in April where we were stuck without heating and hot water for three weeks, while our landlady went on holiday. It still hasn’t been fully fixed and we have been without out heating since April. Our cute little first home together has turned into nightmare, literally draining the life out of my soul. Every time something brakes or goes wrong, I break down into a pit of despair, it’s my new 21st Century version of melodrama.

How did it get so bad? How did you let her get away with this for so long? I hear you cry. The truth is I have no idea. We sent her weekly emails, called her regularly but being in full-time education and in Uni all day everyday, its hard to keep tabs on and make formal complaints to environmental health about rogue landladies. Especially for a hermit like myself who cringes at any kind of social confrontation.

Through all this, the thought that makes me most sad, is that we are still incredibly lucky and fortunate. There are people being taken advantage of and living in much worse conditions than myself. At least we have a roof over our heads and a bed to sleep in every night.

My hope is that you read this blog post and don’t fall into the same, naive trap that I did. This leads me to my first rule of survival here, stand up for yourself, don’t let anyone take advantage of your good nature and most importantly-don’t be anyones tube, especially if you’re paying them for it.

Signing off for now- its cold damp and wet.

Girl in 26B

x

Renting in London