Towards the start of this year, I asked my flatmate, Marco, what he thought about trying out a new neighbourhood. I'd been living in my flat in Shadwell for almost six years (and he five) by then. Other than my adolescent home, it's the longest I've ever lived at one address. I love Shadwell, and absolutely love my flat, but my feet were getting itchy to walk new pavements; I was ready for period housing, nearby pubs I enjoy and dining that stretched beyond my (large, but not insatiable) appetite for curry. Marco was ready for a change, too, so off into London's rental market we boldly went*.
The first area we looked was Clapham, in South London, where I spent many enjoyable nights out when I first moved here, and where the housing stock is quintessential London. I quickly learned that, for our budget, we weren't going to get nearly the space we had in Shadwell, would have to put up with carpeting throughout, wildly unequal bedrooms, and/or endure a long walk to the tube. I also realised that my peak Clapham years are about five years behind me, and so we moved on.
Next was Bethnal Green, in the East, but more the hip East End than just-off-the-boat immigrant East End. This evolved into a months-long rollercoaster of possibility, which was tiring, but it didn't work out.
Onward and upward (Northward, to be precise)! While Marco was on holiday in Berlin a few weeks ago, I decided to look in another favoured area, Kentish Town in North London. I saw one flat, which was tiny and dreary, and then a second that was at the top budget, so was of course the first flat I really liked and could imagine living in. I sent Marco to have a look when he got back from Berlin, and he liked it, too. So I put in an offer, it was accepted, and today we signed the lease. Marco will be moving in on the 30th; I, conveniently, will be on holiday, and will join him on my return.
So, a new neighbourhood and a new London chapter - very excited!
*I'm not ready to sell my place and give up my view forever, so I decided to rent out my flat and rent somewhere new before making any big decisions or commitments.
Shaun H. Coley | At large in Poplar | Tower Hamlets | London E14 | UK | shaunism.blogspot.com
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