My lease is up at the end of July.
I’ve always been a bit annoyed by how far away Wandsworth is from the ‘rest’ of London. And by this I mean my friends, who primarily live in Islington and East London. The fact that it takes me an hour to commute home from work from Canary Wharf and that I have to get up at 5.30am just to get to my yoga studio in the morning for pre-work ashtanga means that a move is on the cards.
I’m also continually annoyed (/infuriated) by the shit transport links to and from Wandsworth. I was on a train last night, as an example, that had been delayed by 15 minutes due to a lack of train staff available to drive the train, and then the train stopped indefinitely at Queenstown Road because of a ‘massive fight’ that had broken out. The police had been called. I waited patiently. I waited not-so patiently. I disembarked and hailed a fucking cab home.
But where to move to?
I don’t want to live in either Islington or East London, despite being quite happy to spend lazy weekend afternoons in these areas with my friends. I can’t quite explain why. I just don’t. Islington is too over-saturated and American. And East London is too twatty, gritty and scary. Despite what some people think of me (that I am a hipster and belong in East London), I’m really just ridiculously middle class – a woman who likes nice things and nice places and being surrounded by other affluent, professional people.
A quirky sense of style does not a hipster make.
So it was with this in mind that Red and I began our new neighbourhood search. We tried Bow (in East London) several weekends ago. I didn’t feel safe there in the middle of the fucking day, much less at night. This did not tick my ‘being surrounded by affluent, professional people’ box.
Thinking East, the logical option became Bermondsey, just that it’s south of the river. I’d spent some time in Bermondsey, myself, and always quite liked it. Getting Red on board was the next step.
With the promise of the best doughnut in London, I got Red on a train at 8am on Saturday morning, heading out to London Bridge. We alighted, climbed to street level and made the quiet stroll over to Druid Street, just south of Tower Bridge. We walked along the railway arches, occupied by a mattress shop, a garage, a fruit and veg vendor. And there it was. St. John Bakery’s pop-up shop with the most delicious doughnuts of life. Two doughnuts and £4 later, we headed around the corner to Monmouth’s pop-up on Maltby Street.
Columbian and Peruvian drips were ordered; seats were taken outside; doughnuts were scoff-ed and coffee, imbibed.
I was a happy woman.
Red was starting to see the greatness that is Bermondsey.
We headed back to Tower Bridge Road and south to Bermondsey Square. We mooched up Bermondsey High Street. We went back to London Bridge to check out Borough Market before the masses descended upon it.
A stroll along the Southbank back towards Tower Bridge amongst the tourists, and we ended up in Shad Thames. Initially I saw the J-Crew-wearing yuppies pushing their prams alongside the Thames and eating their posh breakfasts al fresco and thought, ‘I don’t think I fit in here.’
After a wander about in Shad Thames, we headed back into proper Bermondsey for a closer inspection of the kind of accommodation we might find ourselves living in. We stopped at a gastropub for a generally disappointing lunch, but I was undeterred.
Back up to Shad Thames and into a couple pubs for some drinks, and I saw a few more people wandering about, definitely not the J-Crew-wearing types, albeit still young and professional. Maybe I could live in Shad Thames. Of all the places we’d seen, it certainly ticked my box.
And there you have it. I’m totally digging Bermondsey and Shad Thames.
I’m a complete and utter yuppie.
Who just so happens to wear silly spectacles, dress unconventionally and listen to weird music.