Wouldn't you know it, the Singleton's decided to set their first alarm clock in the UK. Holy crap, why is there a piercing noise blaring in our ears at 9:00am. Not cool, little black glowing clock, not cool. We had to get up because the maintenance man was coming to fix our shower (which we broke), and teach us how to use our washing machine (which we couldn't operate). The day started like most other days, breakfast (bread, cheese, jam) and coffee...only it was 4 hours earlier. Well let's just say, we weren't quite ready to hit the town just yet. We putzed, we blogged, we journaled...all the things you can do when you don't have to worry about going to work.
We hit the housing trail around 11:00am, with a quick jaunt to the Northern line at Borough station, and arrived at the Angel tube station bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to find our dream flat. For those of you not familiar with the area, the Angel street tube stop exits almost directly onto Upper Street. There are a ton of shops, bars, pubs, restaurants, etc that line the street. It's a happening place, even midday on a work week. We popped into a few estate agency offices, and were quickly informed that they all had a few 'great flats for us' a mere 5 tube stops away, and just outside the neighborhood we had specifically targeted. With broken hearts, we begrudgingly called the one phone number from gumtree.com (London's craigslist), and asked if the flat we saw on the website earlier that morning was still available for viewing. A lovely man, with a classic British accent (surprisingly enough) answered, and said he was in the area, and we could come see it right away. After three additional phone calls, we finally honed in on the specific location he was trying to relay (in his 'British English').
REWIND: A few nights ago, as you recall, we encountered a flash mob opera on this very street (Upper St.). On the way home we had a pretty good feeling this might be the neighborhood for us. Jake whipped out the trusty moleskin map (thank you Heidi!), found the closest intersection, and marked the map as a potential return destination.
FAST FORWARD (to present): Three sets of directions in, we have finally decided to consult our trusty moleskin map. We open it up, use our finger to trace along Upper Street, find the intersection we need, and stop dead in our tracks. The flat we have called about, is literally...X marks the spot. If grandmothers are reading, turn away...HOLY SHIT, we said! You've got to be kidding. Divine intervention...we certainly think so.
So we find #24 Almeida Street, and out walks Lee, our new best friend. Turns out, there's not one, but two flats available in the same building. Both for under our desired price point. Chime in the angel chorus!!! HALLELUJAH!!! We do a quick walk through of each one.
Positives for Flat #1 (downstairs/basement unit):
Larger living space, refrigerator that did not resemble the Hilton in-room mini bar, bedroom that could fit both Shayne and I at the same time, breakfast nook, private entrance, additional outside storage, larger bathroom.
Positives for Flat #2 (upper/groundfloor unit):
Large completely private garden in the back, quaint living room with fireplace & mantle (negatives - smelled like dated parisian rug store, bedroom would have contained a 1 in 1 out policy, daily entrance to bathroom would have been postponed for a couple weeks as we hit the gym for a few crunches (to clarify, it was a little narrow), total fridge capacity - one 6 pack of mini coke cans (a la, the kind you buy your hyperactive child, because you don't want them to have that much sugar) and an airplane sized bottle of booze)
Needless to say, as tempting as the private garden was, we opted for the dual living space. The downstairs flat isn't huge, but it's got just enough room to have a visitor or two (wink, wink!). We talked up our man Lee, to get the logistics on how to secure the property. We quickly scooted home to submit our base level information/offer for the property, and are currently waiting to hear back from the landlord if our offer has been accepted, and our references have checked out. Here's hoping. If you are of the prayer warrior variety, mount up...if you are of the lucky horseshoe variety...let's bust out the trusty rabbits foot, and keep those fingers crossed.
We ended the night, with a trip to the local Tesco Express (which is a slightly larger market), and our second trip to the Culture Grub chinese restaurant. We enjoyed our take away (yes, that's what they call take out) back at the Webber St flat, and watched a delightful episode of Friends. You'd be surprised just how much American television has infiltrated over here. So here's to Ross & Rachel, and a little slice of home.
Lesson(s) Learned: An outside private garden doesn't hold as much weight here, as they only have 18 sunny days a year.