The Strange Case of Shad Thames

One of the reasons I moved to Shad Thames was the quietness. While Wandsworth Town out in Zone 2 was virtually suburbia in terms of London living, our flat was right on the beginning of the A3 with a bus stop outside. A bus stop! you say – How convenient. Yes, it was convenient, but it was perhaps one of the busiest bus stops in all of Londontown. 20 routes or some shit went through there, with buses stopping non-stop between the hours of 7am and 11pm.

Shad Thames – despite being right on top of Tower Bridge and in Zone 1 – is like Dickensian London in comparison. Minus all the grime and disease, of course. What I’m saying is, you turn off of Tower Bridge Road into Shad Thames and it’s dead quiet – cobbled, walk in the streets, old world and lovely.

Shad Thames by robbinhamman

Except, rather bafflingly, between the hours of 11pm and 7am.

The not-24-hour nature of London meant the buses stopped and my little flat in Wandsworth Town offered quiet respite at the midnight hour. I think I might’ve been awoken in the middle of the night once in the 2 years I lived there – likely due to rowdy drunken revelry, which will happen wherever you live in London.

But Shad Thames? This upright Dr Jekyll turns into Mr Hyde when the sun goes down.

When I first moved in, I sat bolt upright in bed at 3am because it sounded like a fucking aircraft carrier was trundling its way down the street just outside at 1mph.

And the number of times I’ve woken up at some ungodly hour to some unidentifiable – and very loud – noise, well, I can’t even tell you.

Last night, as I lay sleeping at 2am, a howling began. A screeching. Growling. Screaming. Shrieking. Was it an animal? Was it dying? Was something getting bummed outside my window? I did not know. But it slowly started moving down the street, the decibels lowering. I went back to sleep.

And then at 3am, it began again. And then moved slowly down the street. I went back to sleep.

And then at 3:30am, it began again. And then moved slowly down the street. I went back to sleep.

And then at 4am, it began again. And then moved slowly down the street. I went back to sleep.

And then at 4:45am, it began again. And then moved slowly down the street. I went back to sleep.

And then at 5:00am, it began again. And then moved slowly down the street.

And I went back to sleep. But, seriously…

Shad Thames

So on 9 April I said regarding moving flat,

I’m keen on SE1. If I can find a reasonably priced flat in ‘Boss House’ on ‘Boss Street’, then I’m totally moving to Shad Thames.

And now here I am. Living in a flat in Boss House on Boss Street in Shad Thames. The definition of ‘reasonable’ is up for interpretation.

I’ve been in the flat for a week, and – while there are some kinks still left to work out* – I am quite pleased with my new home. Not only is the flat great but the building and concierge are great and Shad Thames, itself, is great. I had some reservations about living in Shad Thames initially, thinking I’d be more suited for the more boho spirit of the Bermondsey Street area. But, having spent time now in both places, I have to say I prefer Shad Thames. Sure, I don’t shop at Reiss and wear loafers (a seeming requisite of the upper middle classes), but I like nice things. I like stepping outside my flat and being surrounded by other people who like nice things. Oh, and I like being so damned close to the river and Tower Bridge. And I like my exposed brick and my enormous warehouse windows.

I bought a bicycle yesterday from a really great bicycle shop in Peckham (definitely not Shad Thames, Peckham). It was only £170 for an aluminium framed step-through hybrid bike with mud guards, a pannier and a bell. And I’ve parked it down in the basement garage. I’m going to start cycling places since I’m so central and there’s the possibility of saving nearly £120 a month in travel costs. Just one more benefit of living just south of Tower Bridge. I rode the bicycle home from Peckham, which took me on the busy Old Kent Road. And, even though I hadn’t ridden a bike since 2005, it came back to me rather easily, and it wasn’t nearly as scary as I imagined it being – riding on the London roads. Granted, it was a Saturday afternoon. We’ll see how I feel about cycling when I’m doing it in the pissing rain in November, battling all the cantankerous cab drivers…

Still, feeling pretty smug…

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* need to get a second set of keys cut, need to get a key to the basement garage, need to get two sets of blinds fixed, need to get the refrigerator looked at, need to get the pilot on 2 hobs in the kitchen fixed

Moving flat… like a boss.

After 2 days straight of wandering the streets of SE1, visiting too many estate agents to count and viewing numerous depressing little flats, I am tired.

But at the end of the day today, I managed to view a flat in Boss House on Boss Street in Shad Thames. It was lovely. I put in an offer. I got the flat. 24/7 concierge, a dedicated parking space (even though we don’t have a car), exposed brick, enormous warehouse windows and spacious, spacious, spacious. I’m so relieved that we’ve found something so great in comparison to all the shit I’ve seen. Even if by this point I hate SE1.

Most importantly, no more flat hunting.

Even though I did flat hunt like a boss, if I do say so myself.

Time for a well-deserved alcoholic beverage.