Wednesday, 12 January 2011

The Grand Opening

The last box had just been heaved up all nine flights of stairs. My family and the Boyfriend congregated in the kitchen, red faced and breathing heavily from the exertion of the last 40 minutes. One by one, they held their glasses towards me as I cracked open a bottle of Brut. The bubbles had barely begun to fizz when it started.

“Well, you know what I’d do…”

The Mother, not yet one glass down, was casting her Good Housekeeping-inspired eye over the interior of my new flat.

I followed her into the bedroom, where she had already made up the bed (thank god, I hate that bit) and was inspecting the window. “There’s a crack in this pane” she said, mentioning towards the slice across the glass.

“I know. It’s cool, Boyfriend went through all this with the clerk. It’s all been noted down.”

Seconds later, once she’d dragged an index finger across the window ledge and let out an “Urgh” at the collected dust, I issued a firm "Right, OUT!" and marched her through to the living room.

The others were happily seated on the sofa; a hideous brown monstrosity with faux-leather squeaks, silenced and made bearable by some mismatched throws. The Boyfriend lounged on a red beanbag, my dad on a kitchen chair.

I began untangling some wires, placing my speakers on the mantelpiece and plugging in the sub woofer. “Oh, Joanna. You can’t have those wires hanging down like that. Put them round the back! Look how they trail everywhere! It’s so untidy.” The Mother’s nose was wrinkled in disgust at the arrangement. I carried on.

“MUM! It’s her flat!” piped up the Sister.

“Yeah, let me do it, mum. It’ll be ok for now.”

Keen to clear the place of boxes, I started unpacking various items onto the big bookcase, another leftover we’d gratefully accepted from the previous tenant.

“You know what I’d do” The Mother started again, mentioning towards the offending article, “I’d put that over there and put a light in there. And you should put those on that shelf because and get some cable tidies. Here, if you just...". I rolled my eyes. The Sister repeated herself. Dad sighed. There was a collective shout of

“MOTHER – It’s HER FLAT.”

before she turned to my sister. "Have you thought of going to University?"

***

Later, once the family had left, an entire bottle of rum and several bottles of wine had been consumed; once the friends who had come for the Opening Night Grand Tour were tucked up under blankets, drunk and giggling on the living room floor; once I was in bed, curled around the Boyfriend and listening to the faint wail of sirens hurtling through the city in the early hours of Sunday morning, I relaxed.

Mention you're moving into central London and everyone's got an opinion. Oh, it'll be tiny. Won't get much for your money. Why not go further out? Renting's a waste. It'll be so expensive. Just a one bed? For two of you? No parking? Top floor, no lift? Eek! Good luck with that!

But once you're in, once people are round and sighing in near amazement at how close to everything you actually are, and how much space they didn't think you'd have - you realise that everything you worried about, from money to the reaction of others, doesn't actually matter that much.

Hello, flat. You ain’t half bad.

It's not a bedroom if it ain't got a Tesco bag for a bin and a Pooh Bear at the helm.

Kitchen. No, I didn't tidy up before taking these photos. Bathroom is behind me. You don't need to see that.

Living room. Complete with massive old skool TV, mismatched throws and dirty mug.

Up a floor to the roof terrace: St Pauls to the right, Gherkin & sweaty suited city boys to the left

Squint and you will see bankers hurling £50 notes out of the windows in Canary Wharf.

16 comments:

nuttycow said...

Lovely! Welcome to your new home!

Now, what I'd do if I lived there...

pinkjellybaby said...

Eeps you really are close!! :)

Robbie said...

Wow, you could have some awesome summer nights drinks on that roof...if theres space obviously.

arbyn said...

Wow. Looks like a great place! Congrats :)

Gump said...

I recognized St Mary's. It has a distinctive look.

jman said...

Looks grand to be sure with enough space to hold lots of pleasant memories. And the nice thing about memories? They are oh so portable so you can take them with you wherever you may go. Wishing you much happiness in your new home (the virtual equivalent of a flat warming present which is all I can do given geography and all that).

Laura Jane Williams said...

I wish you all the very, very best! I'm moving my brother into central London at the weekend, and am as green with envy toward him as I am you. Enjoy!

The Unbearable Banishment said...

Fantastic. I'm jealous. I had a nice time all those years in New York but all I ever REALLY wanted was to live in London. Well done.

theperpetualspiral said...

Wow, that looks very central indeed.

Congratulations!

What rum was it, out of interest?

soupemes said...

It looks smashing and will only get better and better as you settle in. Congrats on the move :) x

The Author Of This said...

"Have you thought of going to University?"

Brilliant!

Cracking looking place. Tell you what though, you're not going to catch too much on the box with it facing the wall.

Chapati said...

COngrats :D Start filling it up with lots of awesome memories ;)

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

nutty - don't you start!

pjb - Close enough :)

Robbie - Plenty of room for drinks on the roof. It's huge, and barbeques are already in-situ.

arbyn - Thanks!

Gump - Well spotted!

jman - Thanks :) Hopefully we won't spill those memories over the carpet.

LJW - Oh cool, he'll love it. And thanks :)

Unbearable - Well, you've got to live in the centre of the big smoke at least once I think. Still time!

Perp - It wasss.. Ron Barcelo Rum.

Soup - Thank youuuu miss soup. We're settling in and filling the place up nicely.

Author - Haha, nicely spotted. We've replaced that one with a nifty flat screen. Moving with the times n all that ;)

Chapati - Thank you!

Brennig said...

Late to the party, but what's new.

I like your new pad. It's got a bit of character about it.

roseski said...

I am a slow reader - I apologise - times have been busy. But now I have read... WOW! You're all moved in and everything! And, photos to tell me that we are exactly the opposite side of London to each other! St Pauls and the Gerkhin are on opposite sides to my view...

Glad you finally have your own little place.

G'luck lady! x

Homer said...

Living in a village of 28 houses, your view couldn't be more different from mine. Yours gave me a frisson of excitement - I love sheep and ponies, but being able to see iconic buildings must be very exciting!

 

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