Saturday, March 3, 2012

Flathunting (or 'Dealbreakers' updated)

In the past week we've viewed over a dozen flats for rent, including that one with the roof terrace accessible only by ladder, and a very dark but rather chic place where Roland Gift used to live. None have so far had a laundry chute but most have satisfied our basic needs. One particular flat captured our imagination for a few days: a bright and well planned duplex with a nice little roof terrace. What I liked most of all about it is the handpainted sign at the bottom of the road:

Even if you don't love Parliament Hill Fields - and I do - who wouldn't love to live where that nice bus conductor's hand is pointing? I think it's the hand of a bus conductor. Possibly it's a Victorian Bobby. Or a stationmaster. Regardless, it's clearly an old fashioned man in charge of directions. And I like the sign a lot.

But the roof terrace wasn't super friendly for Jack, the cat I hope to reclaim (he's been sofa surfing at an old friend's since I left). After a while I suspect our neighbours might get tired of him pooing on their roof terraces. Although it was a very good flat, and we could definitely live there for a while, I didn't really get excited about it.

Then we saw a different flat a few streets away. This street has two handpainted signs at the end. Although neither of them say Parliament Hill Fields, one does, crucially, have the pointing hand I like so much.

Also, crucially (yes, I'm using the word loosely), it has a kiwi tree and apple trees in the garden. Yes, okay, NW5 kiwi fruit is more decorative than edible. Still. It has a cellar. No, I don't know what we'd use the cellar for but I like it. Apparently foxes lived there for a while when the flat was empty. The thought of that makes me shudder, but then I remember the kiwi tree and feel better. It has a lovely, cosy, exposed brick living room with lots of shelves for all our books. There's plenty of garden for Jack to roam in, and space for bikes by the (rather burglar-friendly) back gate. And a nice new shower room. More to the point, did I mention, it has a kiwi tree? And the handpainted sign at the end of the road?

As you can probably tell, I fell a little bit in love with this flat. The more practical concerns I should probably harbour have flown out of the window. Perhaps it was the very same window I first glimpsed the kiwi tree through. I did a halfhearted google for back gate security solutions but within moments was eyeing up recipes for kiwi jam.

Fortunately for us both, TLOML's sentimental side is balanced by the steely mind of a lawyer with a nose for damp, security concerns, and peculiar break clauses in contracts. So he will be making some enquiries and doing some negotiating.

The jury's still out on whether we take this flat. But my heart has already moved in. And if the flathunt continues, you can consider a kiwi tree the new dealbreaker.

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