Well it’s been almost 6 weeks and one thing is for certain – living in London isn’t as glamorous as I had pictured!
We are currently renting a room in North Wembley, also apparently known as, ‘little Asia’. The issue isn’t really the location – it’s cheaper than most areas in London, there are great veggie Indian restaurants everywhere, and there is also a hindu temple (which looks like it’s been transplanted from India), a mosque and catholic church all within a stones throw of each other (I thought that was kinda cool), so I’m not complaining about the area. The issue is largely with the accommodation. The room advert described the house, as a family house, ideal for backpackers and not far from the city centre. What a load of shit!!! Our first mistake was taking a gamble and arranging the room from Panama without a viewing – we won’t be doing that again. At £125 a week, for London accommodation, we thought we were getting a bargain… How wrong were we!!
The first night we arrived at the house we were tired, jet lagged and in need of a shower. We had decided to stop off in Frankfurt for the day to visit the Christmas markets, so by the time we arrived in London we hadn’t slept for 2 nights. We were expecting to be welcomed into the home of a homely family in London – the smell of warm spices filling the air, friendly welcoming faces and a comfortable bed and hot shower… Instead we were greeted with the smell of human shit, moth balls and the world’s most uncomfortable, mouldy bed.
To our surprise the Sir Lankan family (a couple and 2 children), lived in the downstairs, “living room”, and upstairs there was a deaf guy and another guy (I think Turkish, though we aren’t too sure) renting… And today, almost 6 weeks after moving in, we discovered another guy that lives in the same room as the deaf guy :-s so, 9 people in a 3 bedroom house!
Soon after arriving we discovered that our rent didn’t include the use of kitchen equipment (ie. plates, cups, bowls, pans etc.) or even blankets and sheets – how on Earth they could advertise the room was suitable for backpackers is beyond me. Since when do people carry around blankets, plates and bowls around with them?
We spent 2 nights shivering on a mouldy bed in a stinky room before we escaped to the country to visit my Nan.
My wonderful Nan kindly lent us all the basics, and we brought an inflatable mattress from Go Outdoors, as well as stocking up on airfresheners and disinfectant spray. So after a weekend in heaven we headed back to our hovel in Wembley.
As well as moving into a place we had never seen, we also knew that moving to London a few weeks before Christmas was a bit of a risk – what can I say, risk-takers, or just stupid – probably a bit of both. Most places had already hired their Christmas staff, and all other job applications didn’t close until mid- Jan. All my family was going to be in the same place for Christmas for the first time for 14 years, so despite the inconvenient timing, I wasn’t going to miss out.
We did however manage to get seasonal work for a couple of weeks, working in a coffee shop at Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park – minimum wage, 9 hour shifts with no breaks and ran by morons… Oddly enough we were 2 of the only native ‘English’ speakers working there… And most of my customers were French, and didn’t speak a word of English. I often asked myself 2 questions – Are we seriously in England? And, why didn’t I learn French instead of Spanish?
Out of everything in London my biggest pet hate is the London Underground!!! I won’t even get started on that, I’d be rambling on for ages – all I’ll say is, expensive, unreliable and over-crowded.
Despite everything, I do really like London – there is always something going on, lots of energy, and good bargains can be found. It is also a very beautiful city. However, personally I would say, it’s a city to visit, not a city to live… With this in mind, Michael and I decided to vacate the city and move to Manchester…
This was before we randomly got offered a job working the rest of the ski season at a ski resort in France… Time to dust of my French phrase books, and say, “toodle-loo” to England, and “bonjour” to our new home, France!