London is for living

[dropcap]N[/dropcap]ever again will I take advantage of hot water running out of the taps. I came home the other day to find that our boiler had just died. Not a peep, not a whir came from it. Which also meant, no heating and no hot water. I can now tell you that it takes about 4 kettles and a pot pan’s worth of boiled water to get a shallow lukewarm bath that is fine for a day or two but terrible on the old hair situation. Why us! I whinged in my head. I just resigned to it and chalked it up to yet another blunderful experience whilst we called out a repairman. That evening I laughed out loud when I read Time Out’s article on the Five Worst Kinds of Londoner , as in actually laughed out loud and not just typed LOL on my phone. Every Londoner can relate to it; I especially loved the North London description of the 40 year old media man-child (also to be found in abundance on the streets of Soho) Since moving here as a green 18 year old I’ve lived Norf, Sarf , sort of East and sort of West, which got me reminiscing about all my old flats- all the good, the bad and the ugly.

 The Good: 

Our large studio flat in Bayswater, that laughably was classed as a one bed because it had folding doors separating off the bedroom area. It was in a picture perfect Victorian garden square, moments away from Portobello Road and Hyde Park. We never had to cook at home, I could walk to work, and it felt like we were in the center of the universe. When the rent started to creep up and our secret cat was discovered, we moved out. I’ve never gotten over it.

The Bad and the Ugly: 

So much bad. There was the landlord that threw us out three months into our first semester at uni, for no reason. The loveable but filthy student pad where I got bitten by some wiggly creature on the sofa one summer (could have been a worm, could have been a maggot)  There was the flat in Kilburn that had mice, the flat in Greenwich that had no central heating…or washing machine…and a dodgy electricity meter that was quite possibly illegal. Oh, and acid green walls in the bathroom. So much ugly.

The Awkward Blog

Sitting here with my fingers crossed that I can wash my hair in the next day or so, I realised that this year is our seventh year in our current home. SEVEN years?! Where did the time go and why is my home still not a Pinterest worthy show home? In moments of frustration I tell myself that I will look back at this time with rose tinted glasses, laugh off the time our boiler went bust, when the ceiling and bathroom leaked from upstairs, the patience I learned living with glossy magnolia paint, that one time I felt like I lived in a house made of polyfiller and cat litter, when I realised that we just have to make do with what we have despite just wanting to bulldoze everything flat and start from scratch because UGH one day our kids will call us for the help and answers because moments like this is how we find them.

My hair is not okay with this.

Author: Angela Shek

just a clueless mama in East London

24 thoughts on “London is for living”

  1. Oh dear, I remember when this happened to my flat during a very crazy winter – it was not fun! Luckily work comes with a gym membership and I finally got to use that for two straight days of nice, hot, long showers. Unfortunately, I ended up paying £400 worth of tax for this benefit which meant those were the two most expensive showers I’ve ever had in my life.

    I seriously hope your boiler gets sorted soon! It’s not fun to not have hot water!


  2. If you want to use my shower (or bath!) just drop me a line – I work from home so whenever you’re in Shoreditch I probably will be too. You’re very welcome to use all the hot water you want! Also – that terrarium is gorgeous! Is it from Grace & Thorn? x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored


  3. Oh mate, everyones got a story to tell, it’s so bad! Those sound pretty horrendous but at least you’ve got the stability of being in one place for so long. It’s better for the soul I reckon than up sticks and moving every year! x


  4. Ah! We’ve never lived in really questionable conditions (unless you count the fact that we could hear our upstairs neighbour use the bathroom from our bedroom. unpleasant noises like that aren’t really a thrill to wake up to). We’ve had more crazy neighbours than anything! From partiers to an old man who wrote us at least two letters a week threatening to “tell our landlord” about our “unsavory behaviours.” What behaviours? We have no idea. Once it was that we were littering the ground outside with cigarette butts (we don’t smoke), once it was imagined parties we were having on the regular, once it was about questionable visitors we were having (he had a tendency to stare at our friends from his window.)

    You’re right though! Even if it may seem like the worst thing in the world at the time, it’s through these experiences that we will gain the wisdom to pass down to our kids. All I’ve got at this point though is “Don’t engage with strangers and make sure the curtains are closed. You never know who is watching.”


  5. It’s funny that you actually LOL in real life. That funny to hear. Seriously though, I know what you mean. The wife and I just put our first artwork on the wall this past weekend, so now we feel like more adults than we did before.


  6. I’ve just realised how lucky I was during my time in London! I lived in the same house share in Wimbledon for the whole 5 years and never had to move! Our landlord finally wanted the house back but it tied in perfectly with me moving to Newcastle! How lucky is that?!

    Hope your water works soon!

    Chloe x


  7. yes to crazy neighbours! i’ve got the crazy neighbours here too, argh! thats why my first landlord kicked us out of our first house in uni- he said we were littering the outside with cigarette butts- but it wasn’t us? maybe it’s a secret landlord excuse!


  8. Hahaha oh no!! I’m so sorry, girl! Crossing my fingers it’s all fixed soon. But honestly, you’re dead right on all points. And it’s the realization of all of these things that makes living life [in cities] so fun sometimes.


  9. My flat in Maida Vale didn’t have a shower head, just a bath. My husband used our last 30 pound (we were still struggling to get work on Australian passports) to buy and install a shower head and bracket into the wall so I could wash my hair. I cried about how bad our flat was for weeks. But now I can laugh (because I can wash my hair whenever and have air conditioning). Hang in there lady…. hang in there!


  10. We have exactly the same problem at the moment! Well, maybe not EXACTLY the same. It’s something to do with the connection between the boiler and the thermostat thingy, so the plumber worked out that we can have heating/hot water as long as we leave it on ALL THE TIME (luckily our bills are included). Sounds blissful, yes? No! It hasn’t fixed the underlying problem, and the system protests constantly. And very loudly. Honestly it sounds like the house is going to take off sometimes! So we’re warm but sleep-deprived. Can’t win.


  11. our motor valve (uhh?) had loads of water in it from a leak that caused the fuses to burn out, which killed the boiler altogether! we’ve got parts on order, but the plumber did a little temp fix to make sure we had a bit of hot water but no heating; it’s liveable for the moment! anything to keep the old girl running, we just cant buy a new boiler right now!


  12. Motor valve?! Sounds like something that a boiler really shouldn’t need…We’ve tried a few different types of heaters and found that the oil filled radiators are the best, in case that’s any help!


  13. Hang in there! Our boiler packed in just after we bought our flat. Ideal. The ceiling fell out in our bathroom and, in replacing said bathroom, we were toilet-less for 2 days. I don’t want to talk about it….


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