The problem we are facing is that in all significant ways we've been racing the red queen's race for over a year - either planning to move, preparing to move, packing, moving, unpacking, planning how to settle - and really really want to stop running. It's going to be a few weeks yet before we get that chance though.
So. Yes. We moved out of the studio apartment we were in at Hampstead two weeks ago. We were in there much longer than we had initially intended, and were definitely getting cabin fever toward the end, but it was a good place to start. In theory it was a two-person studio apartment, but the reality was that having two people in there was predicated on one person sitting very still on the couch bed. Kitchen, bathroom and bed/lounge were all squeezed into a space about 2m wide and 4m long, a testament to how much Ikea furniture can be crammed into that space. The bathroom was sufficiently large to stand up in, although not to bend over to wash your face in the sink without opening the door. The kitchen managed to contain a fridge, a freezer, a microwave, a sink and a stove in a desk-sized space - amazing what you can fit in cupboards. The rest of the space was taken up with a couch bed and some shelves. We did have a small court yard outside for our own use as well, and that helped a lot to make the space feel larger, and we used it a little - it was a good place for a cup of coffee in the snow.
|Waiting for the cab|
Despite it being small and expensive, it was a good place to start. Hampstead was reasonably close for getting into the city, the Heath was quarter of an hour walk away, and there were a lot of decent cafés, restaurants and grocery stores in walking or bus distance. On top of that, all the utilities including a TV and internet were included in the price, removing a lot of things for us to have to deal with organising for ourselves. I would like to think that we will miss the place, but since I know that we could fit it in the loungeroom here... I probably won't.
|18th C Bombard|
Thus Arsenal Inn is now open for business, and we're taking bookings. The spare room has been outfitted with a bright red couch bed, and there is some furniture, at least enough to get started. The first weekend and week were... strenuous. We'd organised to pick up the keys and do the paper work on the afternoon of Friday 13th, and nipped across from my workplace to meet the agent. We'd never been to their office, and so spent twenty minutes on site trying to find them. Still, no harm done, we signed where we needed to sign, got keys, hugged each other, and jumped back on the train to go back to Hampstead. We'd promised ourselves a night out to celebrate, and so went to the Wet Fish Café for a very nice meal, and an even nicer bottle of wine followed up by very nice port. Except around 10:30 pm my phone rang, because the system at work had exploded in a spectacular fashion. Back to the Hampstead flat, and logged on, hammering away until about midnight. Collapsed into bed... and then the phone rang at 2:00 AM because it had exploded in a slightly different fashion. We finally got back to sleep around 5:00 AM, but then had to get up at 7:00 AM to cart stuff to Woolwich. We gave up on our original plan, and booked a cab to do it in one trip - we could not face doing it in three or four trips by the tube.
|A Bed of Our Own!|
|Our first meal, with our own STUFF!|
On top of and around this my work was pretty insane for a week, and then this past week I had a few conferences and workshops to attend and was kind of crazed for time and energy. Bob performed wonders, sorting out our internet access and phone, as well as keeping her parents entertained. So, we're getting there. We've had our gym induction, and sorted the paperwork out there, and will have the access keys on Monday (then have 24 hour access). We've got ourselves sorted out with training at the London Longsword Academy with Dave Rawlings, Bob's got herself sorted out with a Morris side. Oh, and we went to a rapper festival (not what you think) in a couple of pubs in Soho, and so she's getting into that as well. We've started talking to re-enactment groups to get ourselves into the scene. So despite running ourselves ragged, we're bootstrapping ourselves up from having nothing but what we could carry on our backs, and knowing nobody, and knowing nothing.
|Dancers at the Rapper Tournament in a Soho Pub|
|Bob's proof that she was at DERT|
There are decorations and art everywhere in this town. Everywhere we go is a melange of tacky, grubby, shiny, sparkling, elegant and banal, all layered over each other. Most of the underground stations for instance have themed decorations - Sherlock Holmes (of course) at Baker Street, medieval illustrations at Charing Cross, and these Ghryphons in the tiles at Bank
|Bemused Bob at Bank|
So, we're getting there. I'll leave you with Bob, because she's got a new scarf.