Thursday, March 1, 2012

The hunt for a little outside space

This is not the garden of my dreams
Convenient though our temporary accommodation is, one cannot live with cardboard boxes as a coffee table for ever. So the flat hunt continues. Fortunately the agents who told us, fairly uniformly, that 'there's nothing on the market' were dead wrong. We've seen ten flats in the last few days.

We haven't yet found the perfect place though. Most of them tick most of the boxes but none tick all. We are learning quickly that the key here is to define those boxes extremely tightly. Give an estate agent some wiggle room and he'll bust out a war dance all over your boundaries.

Take, for example, our request for outside space. I soon learned that I had to explain that we wanted direct access to that outside space. If I have to put shoes on and take my keys, it doesn't fit the bill. So that patch of grass outside the building's front door does not qualify.
This would do

What we mean by 'direct access to outside space' is somewhere we can step out onto with a cup of coffee and enjoy the fresh air. Somewhere to dry laundry. Somewhere to entertain. Allow me to illustrate:
This is the ideal
Clearly what we don't want is a garden off the bathroom. Yesterday I had to explain to an estate agent why I didn't think that was ideal for entertaining. Or even for just the two of us. I just can't see us trooping through the bathroom with playing cards, and a couple of beers, whenever we want to chill out in the great outdoors.
Furthest from meeting our outside space needs was the flat TLOML and I saw a couple of days ago. It was a pretty grotty flat but we were intrigued by the promised roof terrace with stunning views, so we asked to see it anyway.

The landlord, without a trace of embarrassment, hoisted a ladder out from behind the sofa, propped it up to a hatch in the 15' ceiling, and ushered us up. The views were indeed stunning. But I can't quite see me casually erecting a ladder everytime I want to drink my coffee outside.

To be fair, it does tick the box: it was outside space, and we had direct access. So now that box is being redefined. We want outside space, with direct access, and no ladders required. Wish us luck...


  1. It sounds like a sitcom sketch. How did you keep a straight face?

  2. With difficulty. In fact, I'm not sure we managed at all. More to the point - how did the estate agent keep a straight face, whilst saying 'isn't it brilliant?' to us?! Mindboggling.