Bermondsey on my mind

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.

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Offline Excuses

So I’ve been offline for a while, not blogging.

But I have good reason for this.

First off, my grandmother died and I took a last-minute transatlantic voyage and week off.  I didn’t really want to take a week off, but this enforced ‘holiday’ was a product of the cheap airfare.  I felt woefully put out, in that I got NO dissertation work during this time because people wanted me to go here, there, this that and the other AND I had no virtually no internet the entire time I was there.

Second, as soon as I got back to London, I had a week to pack up my flat in Bloomsbury and move to Wandsworth.  I did this on Saturday and Sunday.

So, that’s that.  I haven’t been cooking at all, and nothing much has been going on in my life besides being constantly on the go/offline/moving.

The flat is wonderful, but we have no furniture and no internet.  I’m in a pub just across the road that charges £4.15 for a pear cider but has one of the most swish interiors I’ve seen in a pub as well as free wifi.

Yes, it was 11:30am when I got here.  Yes, I started drinking at 11:30.  Yes, I’m a little drunk right now.  Yes, I deserved this drinks after the loooooong weekend of moving, cleaning and unpacking.  No, I’m not going to have another.  I have to go to the grocery store and buy staple foods that I’d allowed my cabinet to run out of during the final weeks in Bloomsbury.

Also, hopefully Red will be keen on the idea of going back to Ikea (we went yesterday and had a massive fail. The items we wanted weren’t available to take home, so we decided we’d order them online and have them delivered.  Except I just found that the work table for the sitting room is not available online, nor are the wooden folding chairs for the small table we are getting, so we’re going to have to make another trip out to Croydon to pick these up.  Thank the good lord god for Red’s membership to Street Car.)

Also, our delivery date on our chest of drawers and table (and miscellaneous other things) is August 11th.  Nice.

And, in case you were wondering, that ‘nice’ was inflected with seething sarcasm.

Oh, and I also blew up my new Aerogarden.  I bought an American–>UK adaptor at Argos and asked Red if it was all right to use (listing the voltage information that means nothing to me in an email), and he said it was.  I sent him another email asking if he was sure, and he said yes.  I turned on the outlet and BAM!! The Aerogarden exploded and blew all the appliances in the kitchen.  Luckily, the other appliances were turned back on with a push of a button and a flip of a switch on the fuse box, but I’m afraid my new Aerogarden is RIP.  It hasn’t quite hit me yet, as I bought it on the last day I was in the US and was really excited to get it plugged in in the new flat and growing basil and oregano and marjoram and shit, but those dreams have been put on hiatus for the time being, what with the recent UK voltage Aerogarden death.

Maybe this Bulmer’s Pear morning intoxication is dulling the pain.