In the grand scheme of things, it could definitely have been much harder to find a flat. What I ended up going with is so simple and all-around good that I couldn’t have designed a better situation for myself with months of planning.
The story is that my current landlady’s son has a flat in London and was looking for someone to take the spare room in it until at least January (possibly longer…depends on some things). It’s right near Goodge Street Station, about a 10 minute walk from my supervisor’s office at SOAS. I’ve got a few months left to finish up the corrections on my PhD before submitting the final version, and this apartment is a close walk to three major academic libraries that I might need to get work done. During the period I’m doing my corrections it will be perfect, plus we don’t have to do all the faff of getting references or signing a fixed contract. Bonus–he wanted to move some items up from his mom’s house anyway, so we might split the cost of a van to move my stuff up! Sometimes the world is a wonderful place.
I was also thinking that as I wandered around Greenwich on a very sunny Thursday afternoon a few days ago. I’ve got an abiding fondness for Greenwich because of the Prime Meridian and I was looking at a few flats in the area. I stopped for lunch at the covered market, full of very festively decked out food stalls. I took my plate of dumplings and pork buns (yum!) out to eat in the park. I ended up stopping on a bench in front of the charming Devonport House, which I’ve just learned is a luxury hotel. In their garden is a plinth about four feet high, on top of which rested… a dead parrot.
Okay, not really. It was a painted statue of a white parrot lying on its back, legs in the air, head sticking off the edge of the plinth. I walked around the four sides of the platform looking for a plaque or some kind of explanation for this oddity, but there was none. I can’t imagine a better place to eat dumplings.
Other funny things in my flat-hunting adventure include the woman who locked herself out when she went to let me in the building and had to climb in through the window to let me in, the man who compared interviewing potential new flatmates to a game show (“Off to meet the next contestant,” he said as we parted company), and walking past this place.
Speaking of walking, I did enough in the past few days to hurt my foot, to my very great surprise. But now I can put my feet up, secure in the knowledge that I have a place to live–the best possible place to live–for the very near future.
(PS: Did I mention that the flat is around the corner from a shop called Monocle?)