Monday, August 11, 2008

The White Flat with the Picket Fence Has Gone

Do you ever walk into somewhere and instantly know that it’s where you should live? Now stop thinking about random friends or families lovely houses or stately homes you have visited, or even your house as I know some of you will be sat there smugly thinking ‘but I have that already’. Now think about when you’re on the flat hunting trail. Think about the endless appointments, the treks up and down the northern line (or whichever line you live on or wish to live on) and there it is the house of your dreams, and no one else has put a holding deposit down, your brain creates the life you’ll be living… and then your Brazilian husbands family ruin it all as you have half but they do too and won’t give it back.

I have just had that, finally after months of looking the perfect house had arrived, well perfect flat. It was indeed white and though it didn’t have a picket fence it did have a stunning balcony. We had glimpsed the neighbours, a lovely old lady who had 4 cats, a single mum and her 2 year old son, and a couple who were lawyers or something and some medical students upstairs. It was like a London version of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City if you threw in a gay… oh hang on that’s me. Now this isn’t a blog to drone on about the negatives but just to show how crazy someone’s brain can go.

In my head I had become best friends with the neighbours and become all of there best friends e.g. I would babysit for the single mother and share the odd glass of wine on the balcony talking about the ‘perils of men’. I would do the shopping for the old cat lady next door making sure she knew they would be in perfect hands while she went on a saga holiday and that her prized tomatoes wouldn’t get eaten by slugs in the communal garden. I would always have spare sugar for the lawyers and be happy to set up some of their single male friends with any of my single friends of the appropriate sex -as a) must be pc and b) you never know when you need a good lawyer – and offering to watch the flat if they when to the Maldives. All in all generally being an amazing neighbour and joining the tenant’s board and neighbourhood watch.

I had also joined the area for this flat was not in Tooting but in Balham, so I had joined the local community in my head also. I had been to the library and joined the local book group, joined the leisure centre for swimming every other day – its still as close to the gym as I am now. I also volunteered on Sundays for one of the charity shops and also was lunching and coffee morning-ing with some of my friends in some of the great bars and restaurants, especially the French one.

All this I had done in my head in a matter of hours, yes hours not minutes. Now it’s all gone, can you tell I’m not bitter?

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