I’ve found a flat!!!

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After three and a half weeks of searching I’ve finally found a place to live here in London (thank God, as they’re kicking me out of my hotel on Thursday).

My flat is on the Isle of Dogs, which is in London’s zone 2. It’s actually a peninsula rather than an island, and there are no more dogs than usual (although the first time I visited a fox crossed my path, twice. Apparently there are an estimated 10,000 foxes living in London. It still freaked me out.). It is the docklands area of the city, where ships came in and were unloaded or loaded and sent on their way. The peninsula is riddled with wharfs and quays (pronounced “keys”, go figure) but now the boats there tend to be pleasure crafts rather than industrial ships.

The docklands were historically a poor, deprived area of London inhabited by dock workers and their families. But gentrification has recently overtaken it, and in the early 90s the largest building in the UK was erected at Canary Wharf. It soon became a major business district in London as other buildings followed, and by now it looks kind of like a small-scale version of lower Manhattan.

I live 3 stops on the Docklands Light Railway from Canary Wharf, towards the southern part of the peninsula, almost directly across the Thames from Greenwich (in fact, there’s a footpath nearby where you can walk under the river to get to Greenwich, which is one of the first things I plan to do after I officially move in). The stop is called Mudchute.

English names for places are often really delightful because they tend to describe exactly what the place is. Mudchute was called Mudchute because back when they were building nearby Milliwall dock they displaced the soil and silt here—it essentially became a mud chute. The ground was very fertile and the area became rife with wildlife, both plant and animal. In the 70s this spot was slated to die an urban death with the erection of a high rise estate, but the public campaigned against it and won, creating instead a park for the surrounding neighbourhood. A few years later the charitable association tasked with running the park took it a step further and introduced farm animals for educational and recreational activities. The 30 acre region is now called Mudchute Park and Urban Farm. My point here is that I now live next to the only farm in all of London, complete with cows, sheep, horses, pigs, ducks and geese. And a llama (all the traditional English farmyard animals then, as someone at work pointed out). I’ve found most people in London don’t know the farm exists at all—the general reaction is, “There’s a farm in the docklands?”

My flat isn’t exactly across from the farm, but it’s within a five minute walk. The outside of my flat to me looks kind of like a motel (see the above picture; my door is the first from the left on the second floor. Taron explained that it is probably an ex-council flat—these flats were constructed as low-income housing post World War II, but became privatized during the Thatcher administration. Often the flats are in huge estates (like Rose’s in Doctor Who) but my building only has about a dozen flats or so). The inside is nice. It’s split level, with the kitchen and living room on the bottom floor and the bedrooms and bathroom on the top floor. There’s a washing machine and a dishwasher, but, as is typical with flats in London, no dryer, so you have to dry your clothes on a rack. I’ll be living with at two Hungarian girls. Their names are Zsanett and Betty and I like them a lot.

So now I have a job, a bank account, a mobile phone and a flat. I’m starting to feel as if I actually live here…

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~ by kellly333 on January 29, 2007.

2 Responses to “I’ve found a flat!!!”

  1. Congratulations Kelly !!!. I like your blog a lot.

    Elena

  2. need.inside.pics.

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