beesknees: (Watchmen - Dan & Laurie)
Yesterday, I took my first full vacation day…in order to meet with the agency at the old flat for inspection and key handover. Boo. Got there a couple hours early, because I don’t know. Raccoons might have gotten in and I’d have to frantically clear away all evidence of their advanced civilization. I brought a book, and figured, if there were no raccoons, I’d hang out with our now-former neighbour for a while. Not five minutes in, keys rattled in the lock. Open the door to find two polish guys intent on removing the furniture.

Had an exceedingly polite standoff: “We’re to take all furniture.”

“’Fraid I can’t letcha, not before 2:30 when it’s scheduled to be inspected. Says right here: ‘You will be charged for all damaged or missing furniture.’ So that’s not happening.”

We both tried to call the agency, which had all its phones turned off for lunch, and made polite conversation. They told me they didn’t live around here; bad neighbourhood, they wouldn’t live in it. We waved goodbye like friends as they retreated to regroup.

Ten minutes later, ratting at the lock again. Flung open the door, shocking the hell out of another blueshirt with a box of tools. “This place is supposed to be vacant!”

He was there to install a fire alarm. I pointed at the hardwired alarm over the stove. He looked at his fresh new fire alarm in its plastiform cradle and decided, since they were damn well paying him for the work ticket, he’d hang and shoot the shit a while. He told me he lives in West London, that this neighborhood’s shit and he’d never live here.

He bid adieu and I paced for a decade or so and the agency called about a minute before inspection was due, finally responding to my voicemail demanding some ‘splaining and right quick. Mr Oily, oh it was just a mistake, they’d thought we were fully moved out, just a misunderstanding, no harm meant, of course we won’t be charged for the unrelated maintenance they still hadn’t completed, did I think they were some fly-by-night place?

The rep showed up ten minutes late, an Irish woman who spat out an unending stream of half-formed sentences as if she didn’t want anyone else to get a word in edgewise. No, we’d left it so clean, well they had to get it professionally cleaned, it’s in the contract they do that, but since we’d left it so spic and span they’d only take £70 out of the deposit instead of the full cost, and we’d have it right in our account in a week’s time! Because we’re so great! And they’re so great! And no one tried to lumber anyone with a massive furniture charge!

She babbled that it must be a lovely flat in the winter, close and warm and cozy as it was this airless June afternoon. Tho as a woman she’d hate that scary back entrance, past that bar and its "beer garden" with the punching machine. And really, the whole neighbourhood was pretty bad. She certainly wouldn’t live here. It broke her heart to see the way people lived, in her agency’s flats. She took my keys and I left, looking back once, annoyed Washington hadn't answered my knock to say goodbye, his bike's right there.

That's that, I guess. We're southies now.

goodbye-green
(And it's so much better.)
beesknees: (bathing suit (by waywardgaze))
Yesterday, we saw Cabin in the Woods - very Buffy Season 4, yes/no?

willesden green

I never post much when things are going well. Don’t taunt the gods of irony, and all that. Here we are, both in temp work, his “guaranteed” to turn permanent, and mine, I interviewed for last week. Neither paycheck is much to write home about, but both are better than we’ve been getting, especially in Scotland. And both jobs come with nice co-workers.

We’re hoping, if my job comes through and my newly renewed passport comes back without any hitches (crossing fingers), to put in our two months’ notice for our flat and move before the Olympics. We’d planned to wait until after, but then we’ll be wrestling with college students for anywhere reasonably priced. Plus, this neighbourhood is rapidly sliding from sketchy to slummy.

At the moment, you literally can’t get through the entrance to our place without stepping in and brushing against the entire neighborhood’s flytipped garbage and human waste from barflies and potheads. That horrible bar next door has a new manager, one that likes to crank the music until 2 or 3 in the morning, and the feral ghouls who sit in their miniscule “beer garden,” seemingly immune to the stench of all that garbage…ugh. They’re worse to walk past than the physical filth. The neighbours and I have made complaints to the council, which tells us they’re too busy to take on any new issues.

the garden

So, see? Our lives are mostly good, and I’m still complaining. It’s a gift.

We’ve started exploring south of the river, closer to R’s job. The flats advertised there are about the same price as our hole up north, but in much better repair, and more purpose-built rather than chopped-up rowhouses. If we could eat £900 a month in rent, we could probably even pull off a smallish two-bedroom flat in a proper apartment building, with a longer commute. There’s still one rental agency in the NW we plan on giving a try, but the SE possibilities are making our eyes go all heart-shaped.

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beesknees

June 2012

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