London Lodging 1: The Lazy Landlord

As I come to the end of my first year here in London, I can sit back and reflect on how this tumultuous year has gone. London is not an easy city to move to and teaching in the UK is not the easiest of jobs to have a first year in, but I’ve made it out alive.

One thing that has been less than great here in London and which has added a massive strain onto my happiness and mental wellbeing is the rental market. Anyone in the know will be aware that London is a mine field of a rental market, notorious for dodgy, extortionate lets, paying 650 upwards a month for a room that is not fit to live in is not only not unheard of, but rather a commanilty that us hapless wannabe Londoners who aren’t lucky enough to have parents who already live here to save us the experience of paying a good proportion of our monthly salaries on a shit hole.

My experience is no different but needs to be shared for catharsis and also to bloody shine a light on the London housing crisis, highligting but one experience on the weatlth of shit that is out there.

The end of my year will see me moving for my third time. Each time moving for very different reasons. My first experience was in a shared flat in an ex-council block in Hackney. Four of us shared the flat, including the landlord and his lovely docile Staffordshire Terrier. Everyone in the flat was laidback and of similar enough ages and the dynamics worked. That flat did not become a problem for me until I got to know the landlord a bit better and realised that he was neither cut out for the role of landlord, neither did he want to fulfil his role as landlord. The man, whilst being interesting and entertaining to talk to was a 38 year old child with a God complex. He never bought his own food and instead raided the cupboards of his tenants shamelessly. Whilst laughing that we are unlucky enough to pay tax. Silly law abiding peasants!

 

That was something I could put up with. Just. The other grating thing about his personaility was that he thought he knew everything and would patronise us by telling us after a conversation about our days at work, how we should have done differently. He knows. Because he is omniscient.

Again this was not even the most annoying thing, actually, his conversations about his 6 month stint at a temple in China, his retreat to the Amazon and the witch craft he admits to personally enocountering were bizarre and entertaining.

Even the fact that he would stay away for days at a time or go on two week trips leaving his beautiful dog to wait for him, presumably starve and look depressed did not put me off. We would walk her when we were in and make sure she had food. Not through any request from him. That dog was nigh-on neglected, not through a lack of love but through the sheer selfishness of her owners and seeing her everyday made us feel sad. And in the end knowing we had to leave her at his mercy made us feel sad.

The final push to leave was made when actual water started coming up through my carpet. Water that spread and did not stop spreading. Water that made the carpet damp and smell like wet fish. Every mode of communication he ignored. I then pulled my bed out to discover black mould that had clearly been there for years behind where I would lay to rest at night. Still no response. For over a month I had to get my socks wet on that carpet and live in that damp, mould infested room. What a prick. In the end I could no longer take it and felt I had to find somewhere else.

Which leads me to my next, equally shitty situation for opposite end of the spectrum reasons. I write this post awaiting to move out of the next hell hole and into what should be my haven from the outside world… More to come….

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A change in direction….

Those who follow this blog may have noticed that it has been inactive for quite some time now. After leaving Istanbul I didn’t quite know where else to take it. Istanbul being my first love and this being my first real attempt at blogging. I didn’t want to let it go.

Alas I found, just as with life,  you have to move on… and so I move on to a new adventure.

I am currently trying something new, going it alone in London as a single now 30 something. I want to discover all that London has to offer and relish being alone in doing so. I thought I would create a new blog, documenting all London has to offer and writing about finding myself, solitary in the city. Please do follow and check out my new blog…

http://solitaryinthecityblog.wordpress.com

Thank you all for following me on my journey.. here’s to my next adventure!!

Home is where the Birmingham is.

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I will always love my home town. Now I am in England I  am lucky enough to go back regularly. More than I should when trying to build something in a new city alone. Birmingham is where my heart is. I will defend it to the death. It has a bad reputation. Which I wish to show is undeserved. This photo is one of my favourites. We have much park space in Birmingham, contrary to the incorrect assumption by many that Birmingham is a concrete, industrial wasteland. This is one in my native  North Birmingham.  I want to show the world that there is much more to Birmingham than it’s industrial past and the architectural oddity that is the soulless shopping centre, the Bullring. Here is my first snap shot. Birmingham through the eyes of one who knows and loves it more than so.

Nostalgia, you don’t know what you got til it’s gone.

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What is it about nostalgia that makes you appreciate something more when it has passed than when you have it right in front of you? My photo was taken in Istanbul, a place I lived in for 10 months. A place that I loved to hate. A place that I didn’t realise I loved until nostalgia kicked in. Now it is a place I long to return to.

The grey of the cities over development was often stifling, however, the ugliness of the buildings meant that the colours of the flora were appreciated more than ever.

These were no exception.

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Single Lady meets Big Smoky City

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What to do when single and alone in a new and relatively unknown city? This is the question I find myself asking. However, my problem here is not that I have to ask this question. Rather,the problem is my lack of care. I do not care that I am alone. I do not care that I am 29 and alone. I do not care that in my evenings I come home from a draining day at work to an empty bed. That I uncluter the morning clutter to make way for the evening clutter. Proceed to cook myself something vegetarian, because I am living on a student food budget with a proper job and also aware of environmental and ethical implications of meat consumption. I then sit in front of my laptop to regale in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, happy that at least I am not suffering from one of the many disasters that inevitably befall the ailing cast members that I have come to know and love like untenable best friends. Then to an uninterrupted sleep wherein I dream of whichever student is tormenting me the most. Year 9 you will not get the best of me!

So what to do about this predicament? Am I supposed to care that my evenings are spent alone. I live in one of the trendiest, hipsterish parts of London. Aren’t I suppoed to like go out and get friends who wear all black and sit in cafes with no signs in front of them because signs are like so capitalistic and right wing in our fancy million dollar house neighbourhood where we out priced those previous hoodlum tenants to something more befitting of their ilk (there’s no place like Essex).

So here I stand wondering where I get a jack thingy to build my electronic drum kit so that I can actually unpack my unsightly black bags and make this look like home. Thinking one day I will go to Wilkos and buy those storage boxes I so desire. Buy a rug so as not to acknowledge the tired, worn grey carpet the landlord thinks is acceptable ofor a £650 a month room. Alas! Instead, I get drawn in, by whatever dramas Grey’s has for me. Whatever escapism I can get on my lovely double bed. Inhabiting the pillow next to me, my book, for it has that space as it is the one thing that brings me down from my Grey’s high to the land of sleep.

Here lies, single almost thirty something female. Too lazy to text her tinder dates. For her whatsapp is only reserved for those she makes rave plans with on the weekends. Instead of looking for a husband so she can get knocked up before her ovaries stop working properly, she fills her time with racy American dramas, knowledge and sometimes the work she brings home. More fool her for not minding having the bed to herself. Does she have no shame?

 

But seriously, am really thinking there is something wrong with me. Must get on meetup group and meet similarly aged people who like doing civilized things and not raving themselves into early graves on the weekend and snogging younger guys they will never speak to again. Will get on meetup.com. Sharpish.

Tarragona, In Photos

A summary of my time in Tarragona, from a new project of mine.

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CAM00478 Pont Del Diablo

I have always had a love for photography, my first foray with a cheap disposable, my mother still marvels at how I used to snap everything. From loved ones to the seemingly mundane view from my bedroom window. I have always been fascinated with time, how it passes, how it cannot be retrieved. I still see photography as a way to cheat time. Life being a series of moments once passed that we cannot get back.

When I photograph a place  I try to capture it’s essence and how it made me feel. Tarragona is a place I lived in for almost a year, a small Catalan (not Spanish!!) city, built on ruins that are a reminder of it’s history as the capital of the Roman empire in Spain. These photos may not do justice to the beauty of the place. It is stunning. It does however, so something…

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9 Easy Ways To Not Let Other People Ruin Your Day

My article for Thought Catalog…. written in the midst of a stressful time, when everything was getting me down. Because my most recent year abroad, living in Tarragona as beautiful as it is, has not been all sunhine and beach parties. My (I can now happly say ex) job was the kind that gets worse when you thought it couldn’t possibly. See this as a positive way to deal with that stress.

Thought Catalog

Day-ruiners are a bitch. You know the ones, your boss at work, that friend who has let you down one too many times, that guy that isn’t texting back, that job that you hate…. In this thing that we are so lucky to have called life many day ruiners exist, challenges that test our resolve, tolerance and often our claim to sanity.

Perhaps many of the following are self explanatory to some but for 28 years I have been going through life dwelling, worrying and generally letting day ruiners do just that. Now I’ve taken my days back. Because they are the only ones that I have got. 

1. Do not contact your day-ruiner (unless it’s life or death).

Goes without saying really doesn’t it? But on those occasions when a person has a power over your emotions,often the best thing we can do is to cut contact, as when…

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