Location: SAME OLD
Still in Kentish Town and its still the best place we have lived so far.
Havent done much updating of this thing for a while. I think last time I wrote I was talking about not being able to get our bond back. Well we ended up going into the real estate agent and picking up the cheque. So we got it. Crisis averted.
We are still having a few problems with our electricity (which cuts out at least once a week) And the gas is costing £5 per day. Rip off.
So Paul has just left and is about to get on his flight back home. I was asking him if he was excited and he said a part of him was but another part wanted to stay. I was saying that its probably not as scary going home because you know everyone and its not like going to a whole new country but he made the point that its probably worse going home because you know you will probably never come back and see the people youve met over here. Which is a good point.
I've put up some photos from the past couple of weeks and some from Pauls drive around Scotland. Paul was funny because he decided that he hadnt seen enough of England so he decided to hire a car and drive from Glasgow back don to London. I would get calls off him from somewhere like Fort William on the west coast of Scotland and say that he is just about to go to sleep in his car. hahaha. He decided that booking a hostel was pointless since he had a car to sleep in (even though during the night it got so cold that he had to wake up and drive the car around with the heater on to get warm) hahaha.
Then he went to stay with a couple of my mates Cav, Riss and Baz in Edinburgh. I think he was glad to get there because he hadnt talked to anyone for 2 days and was getting pretty bored being all alone.
The last couple of days he spent in Manchester with our housemate Helen which meant Cath and I had the house to ourselves. It was great fun. We took the train to Richmond and had a walk around. Apparently there is a massive park there but we somehow managed to miss it.
The other day I thought I would walk home from work and so I set out and took a road that I figured a could take a short cut through to get home. I kept walking and walking but there was no turn off. I ended up in some industrial estate and as I turned around to go back the way I came a car pulls up beside me and some guy starts beeping his horn at me. I go over to check what he wants and he is one of the guys who works in the industrial estate. He asks if I need a lift (he thinks I work there. Probably because there is no reason why anyone would be walking around in there) I say Id like to get back to Kings Cross so he drives me back there, the whole time listening to some crazy Romanian music. He dropped me right back where I started from. Took me over an hour to walk home.
Anyway we had a house warming/farewell/birthday party a couple of weekends ago which was great. Paul had a few guys from work, Cath had a couple of work mates and Helen brought along her sister and a few mates. Jules and her friends also came along so there were quite a few people here. In our flat there was a whole reel of butchers paper that we stuck up on the walls so people could draw stuff. Looking at it the next day there was a lot of "What the hell does that mean?" and "Who wrote that?"
Some examples were:
"Why does brown sugar cost more than white sugar?"
"Why is there a bear in the tree? ... Your mums in the tree"
"Lets go to the Walkabout"
"I enjoy moaning....very much"
"Di how long? For a pie 1 minute 30"
"Sprittay, its french for sprite"
"We love Hollyoaks"
.....and many more (some of which I cant print)
So everything is going well. Still in a bit of a routine, but in 3 weeks we will be back in Australia. Time flies. Time fly's? Hmmm. I think its time flies, because if it was time fly's that would probably be a bunch of fly's that go back in time or something.
Anyway just waiting for Cath to get home from her split shift. The last episode of Prison Break is gonna be on and we have been really into it this season so e can look forward to that. Haha. Live in London and get excited about a TV show.
Well im gonna go now. Will probably see you all pretty soon.
Location: KENTISH TOWN FINALLY, UK
We made it to Kentish Town and it is the best place we have lived in London so far!
There have been so many annoying things that have happened with this place and the one in Shepherds Bush. I could spend hours writing about them all. Ill just write a few.
So we didnt have anywhere to live for about a week and had to stay at Julias place in West Kensington. During that time we were told off the real estate agent that our place wouldnt be ready until the 21st January even though we signed the lease from the 12th. At least that part was true.
We did get to move in on the 21st and the place is great. We are living on the main road but it is not too noisy (probably because Cath and I have the back room away from the road) Not sure what it is like for Paul and Helen. They seem to be getting used to it though.
There are a lot of cool places around where we live. Camden station is only a 7 minute walk and Kentish Town station is only 5 minutes. We can walk up to Camden markets and it is only 5 minutes away.
The people who own the shop downstairs also own the apartment. It is a little too convenient having the convenience store under us. Its just like going to get something out of the fridge. And it is a 24 hour place.
2 days after we moved in all of our power went out. We got given this little energy stick thing that you plug into your meter and it tops up the amount rather than getting a bill every quarter. We put £25 on it but the power still wouldnt come back on. The landlord put another £25 on it and it worked.... for 2 days then the power went off again. Cath called the energy company and found out that the previous tenants had £1000 outstanding on their account. So they are coming around to fix that up in a couple of days.
We also have the same system for our gas. Just have a little card that we top up with.
Been having a lot of problems with trying to get our bond back at the shepherds bush house. I rang up every day last week and left a message for the real estate agent Lana. She didnt call me back once. I finally got hold of her this week and she reckons she didnt get any messages and didnt recieve any of my faxes. Big suprise.
"So we need our bond back"
"Ok well we need proof you have paid all of your bills"
"Yeah i faxed them over last week"
"I didnt receive anything"
blah blah blah. I keep getting told that the landlord has the money, then he tells me that the real estate have it. Lana told me today she didnt have our money and then when i called Ramesh he said that Lana had given him a cheque. Its all very dodgy. I checked up with shelter.org.uk and they say that
From 6 April 2007, when you pay a tenancy deposit for an assured shorthold tenancy, the landlord or letting agent must protect your deposit through a Government-backed tenancy deposit scheme.
If your landlord or agent hasn't protected your deposit and provided the required information within 14 days, then you can apply to the county court for an order that the landlord or agent should pay the deposit back to you, or protect it in one of the tenancy deposit protection schemes. The court will also order the landlord or agent to pay you compensation equivalent to three times the value of the deposit you paid. The landlord or agent must do all of these things within 14 days of the court order."
So basically we think they have taken our money and put it into some kind of term deposit and are holding back the bond until the term ends. Ramesh was saying to me that he thought our lease was for a year. But according to the law they have to put our money into one of these tenancy deposit scheme. Its all very dodgy.
In better news Cath has a new job in the city somewhere. She started yesterday. It is a chef de partie role so she wont have all of the pressure and hassle of bringing work home with her. And there will be a service and stuff so thats exciting. And it is a monday to friday job because it is in the city and none of the bankers are thre on the weekends. Apparently it gets pretty busy.
In other good news we had a great Australia Day at an Irish pub in Leicester Square. There were a load of australians around obviously, and we started at 3pm and didnt finish until midnight. There are heaps of transport links back to our new place as well which is awesome.
Saw a job as an editor that paiys £33,000 and had 2 things listed as requirements:
Experience as an editor
Willingness and eagerness to look at naked men all day. haha. Could probably get willing or that amount of money.
Anyway back to work.
Location: HOMELESS, UK
We havent made it to anywhere and its the worst place so far!
After our discussion with the real estate agent (lets just call him "the jerk" - his name should be Steve) we found out that we woudnt be able to move in until next Monday at the earliest.
This is very annoying. I've rang a few different people about it such as the london lease board who didnt help because they only help out landlords (whoops) and a place called Shelter, which helps out a lot of homeless people (which we are from today)
They were really helpful and told me our rights and stuff. We could contact the landlord directly rather than going through the jerk but we dont really want to start off on the wrong foot (even though we pretty much have) We dont want to ask for compensation and stuff but realistically we could. I dont really know what the legalities of it are, but they dont even really seem to care that we have nowhere to stay. They havent given us any options about accommodation or anything.
So basically Cath, Paul and I are staying on the floor at Julias house until we can move in. Imagine if we didnt know anyone in London, what would we have done then?
If Cath or I were tougher with people we could probably be sitting up in a 5 star hotel at the landlords expense until our house is ready. Then we would get them to pay for our phone lines to be installed in the new place. So far the landlord has said that is up to us (another £125) I dont really understand that because it is HIS property and once we leave he is going to have a phone line in there, benefitting him.
So I will be travelling to work from West Kensington now, which is gonna be a bit of a bummer. At least im not travelling as far as our old housemate Dean. He is currently living at a place in north east london called Buckhurst Hill in Zone 5, and he works in Fulham which is basically south west london? Anyway its going to take him forever to get to work.
The girl we chose to be our new housemate was ok with the fact that we cant move in yet. Luckily she is just living with her aunt at the moment and so there is no rush for hr to leave there.
Mangat came around yesterday to check the gas and electricity. To be honest he doesnt seem like such a bad bloke now considering what we are going through with the jerk and the landlords Abdul & Dino. He didnt even really look around the house which was weird. Cath basically spent all day cleaning it.
The old real estate agent Lana is coming over today to suss it all out. We have photos of what it looked like before we moved in, and it looks heaps better now. Maybe they should pay us more for cleaning it :)
I think I am getting RSI from the bad ergonomics of my desk at work. Chairs too low, desk too high. Compo! Compo! Compo! Compo!
Well I had better go and eat my English Muffins. 60p for 6 muffins. Nice.
Location: KENTISH TOWN, UK
We made it to our new place at Kentish Town and......... well actually we didnt make it there so it cant be the best place so far!
There have been a few glitches with moving into our new place. Basically when our mates Craig and Ange saw the place for the first time last week they didnt really like the look of it so decided not to move in. That was fine because they hadnt actually seen the place and just trusted my judgement. They obviously didnt really think about some of the houses ive lived in before
Islington- Next to the train lines in a dirty flat with some randoms, one of whom cut up my shorts with scissors.
Palmer St Darlinghurst- On street where prostitues hang outside the church, down the street from a methadone clinic. My room was so small that before I moved in one of the girls was using it as her closet. My cupboards consisted of 8 milk crates stacked on top of each other, and I slept on an old futon mattress. I did buy a small foam mattress to put on the bed to make it softer, but unfortunately for me I put it UNDER the mattress so it made no difference anyway.
Stanley St Darlinghurst - Smelly house where to get to the bathroom you had to walk outside the house and across a plank of wood over a kind of moat. The kitchen had no natural light coming into it and to get our fridge inside the house we had to take off the front gate and the front door!
Abdale Rd Shepherds Bush - Well everyone knows the problems with this house! My favourite was when Mangat didnt fix the leak in the roof because "it wont rain again today"
So anyway Craig and Ange were nice enough to pay the bond and first months rent, so we could move in, then we could look for another person to move in.
We looked at the house and there was a list of things that we wanted done to the place before we moved in.
New sofa, give it a good clean, chest of drawers in each room, pots and pans for the kitchen, fix the tiling in the bathroom and the hole in the floor outside the kitchen. Real estate guy (who is a jerk) tells us it has all been done and everything is set to go for when we move in on Saturday 12th.
Bear in mind we put the deposit down on the 16th December and so there has been a month to get all of this stuff done. We get a call on the day we are meant to move by the real estate agent saying:
"There is a problem. All your money has gone in and thats great, but there is a form we need from the landlord saying that the gas has been checked and everything is fine there. If we do not have that form it is illegal for you to move in."
"Ok so you've had a month to get that form, so there should be no problem..."
"Well yes I have been asking the landlord for it for the last 10 days and he hasnt given it to me"
"Um yeah well you knew we were moving in on this date, why dont you have it?"
"Well we do have it but it has expired"
"But we have nowhere to go!"
"Well there is a possibility that the landlord will pay for you to stay in a hotel for the 2 days"
"Ok so the landlord will pay for that..."
"I said there was a POSSIBILITY he would"
"Ok so what are we going to do with all our stuff?"
"I dont know"
"So there is nothing we can do?"
"No there is NOTHING you can do"
We ended up ringing back and asking if we could just put our belongings in there but not actually sleeping there. They said that was fine.
We went over and put everything in and then on sunday had a bunch of people through and we chose a girl called Helen from Manchester to move in.
Its Monday now and Cath has just received a call from the real estate agent saying that we cant move in. They need to get some gas leak fixed and all plumbers and gas guys arent available for 2 weeks!!!! Its really annoying. Cath has been talking to the guy so we dont know what we are going to do! He said we could back out of the lease and get another place (IN ONE DAY YEAH RIGHT!) or we could stay somewhere else until the place is ready. Bear in mind we have already paid for this place so this is really annoying.
We dont know what we are going to do. The same guy who owns the upstaiurs property also owns the flat downstairs and that is vacant at the moment. We are going to see if we can stay there until all the repairs are done. If we cant we dont know what to do.
You can put up with anything if you dont have to put up with it forever, but this is just a joke. We dont want to have to put up with this incompetance.
So dont know whats happening. Cath is waiting at home for the call from the real estate guy and i am waiting on hold on the phone for the rental advisory board.
Cath finally had enough of her work and resigned last week. The management were terrible and she never got the support she needed. There were too many people in managerial positions and nobody really telling her what they expected. I think Cath is gonna do some temp work until we come back in March. She deserves to be working somewhere better anyway. I dont think contract catering is the best place for our Cath. :)
Im still kicking around editing hotels. Not much news on that front.
Paul has bought his ticket back to Oz on the 26th Feb. So we only have a couple more months together.
Anyway I had better get to work.
Ill keep you posted.