Moving to London was once a misty and distant dream of mine, to escape the green, folded land of the Cotswolds and soak up the big smoke. There is always a glossy sheen on hopes for the future, that if they come true, they will be idyllic… but I really hope that it is not also a given, that slight sense of disappointment when they become reality. In this case, though, of course there is. London is London, it’s not Perfection. And moving into a flat that was previously inhabited by boys at drama school brings with it a whole set of unforeseen tarnishes to that sheen.

Let me expand. I found the flat as follows:
– Two carpets rendered unusable from lack of cleaning, to be taken up by the landlord’s builder in due course.
– A huge limescale stain all over the bathroom floor.
– two months of washing up, spread across the kitchen worktop
– A fridge that is half made of ice, cheese and jars of jam preserved inside like prehistoric men
– Inside that same fridge, enough mustard to feed the whole of Dijon; I’m not kidding, there were 7 open jars.
– 17 other open jars of various condiments such as hollandaise sauce and pickle.
– a freezer jam-packed with ancient bread and vegetables, half-eaten
– a balcony door jammed shut, not with jam from any three of the open jars, but with grime and a broken lock.
– 10 pizza boxes, stacked
– 4 pairs of boxers, strewn
– 1 shoe and 1 sock (dirty), on the bookcase.

One can obviously live with these things, it is really not an appalling state of affairs, but sorting out the flat has taken up the first three weeks of this new London venture and it wasn’t fun. And there’s still no functioning light in the bathroom – and no it’s not because the lightbulb has blown.

But who can stay cross at the world (and at actors) in a late September flash heatwave?! The glossy sheen has come back with the sun and there’s an end in sight, a clean and comfortable flat is a few steps away. Then, hello London.

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