Swedish Girl In London

London Life: Bright Lights, Big City. Now what's on TV?

Friday, October 21, 2005

Hot Property

If there is a theme that recurs in all London conversations sooner or later, it's the Property Market and - more specifically - How Expensive It Is. Or maybe this is more due to my age than where I live? Because suddenly, God knows how, we've all reached an age when you actually consider buying a house - not in the idle, early-twenties fashion of conjuing up cool bachelor pads overlooking Central Park or bohemian attic flats in Montmartre... but in the late-twenties real bricks-and-mortar sense with attached plumbing and mortgages.

This means that I'm constantly being buzzed around by various estate agents with various friends to look at various flats - like yesterday, for instance.

Yesterday's area: Angel.
Yesterday's friend: Alias Aurora.
Yesterday's estate agent: alert-looking person with Becks-style hair.

"I don't want to see any ex-local authority flats", said Aurora very decisively, and Becks agreed heartily, before driving us to a ghetto-like building that looked as though it should be approached in a tank.

"Isn't this ex-local authority?" Aurora asked suspiciously, and Becks once again agreed heartily that it was and shooed us out of the car. He said it would be great for us to look at, so we would know what we didn't want. I can now see several faults with this logic, but at the time we just acquiesced meekly and followed him into The World's Smallest Lift (also made remarkable by its yellow and orange colour scheme).

After looking at an equally tiny flat, where the door to the loo wouldn't close because of odd arrangement of defunct radiator, we mumbled that it was "lovely" and Becks rewarded us by letting us into the car again.

Once on the road, Becks told us to tell him again exactly what sort of flat we were interested in, and Aurora again suggested anything that wasn't ex-local authority. Excellent choice, in Becks opinion. Then we stopped by another poxy-looking council estate, passed a depressed-looking young girl with a glum wee baby in a pram, and were shown a ground-floor flat with greenish stains in the ceiling.

By now I was starting to feel as though we should all gather together, sing the International, overthrow the government and build nice-looking houses for everybody. Aurora's anger was more directed towards Becks - probably because she was the one buying the place and thus actually having to live there.

"No ex-local authority houses, OK?" she said as we stomped out.

The next house really wasn't ex-local authority, but it was on the other hand hardly in London anymore. Beck optimistically claimed that it was close to the mainline station, but Aurora merely gave him a whithering look. I, for reasons that defy analysis, had to compensate by complimenting the house extravagantly.

"What are you doing?" Aurora wheezed.

"Just trying to be polite," I wheezed back.

"Why? It's not his house, and it certainly won't be mine."

The hunt goes on. I'll keep you posted.


At 12:16 PM, Blogger Irene Done said...

Nice to see that the essence of this experience is not unique to the States. House-hunting is a lesson in persistance, discipline and patience -- and who needs that?


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