Sunday, May 11, 2014

Early May Bank Holiday

I was excited to hear that Greenwich Theatre was playing Avenue Q, one of my most favorite musicals. I saw it before it closed in the West End in 2010 and listen to the soundtrack non stop. The songs are  hilarious. I got tickets and Grant and I made a Saturday afternoon of it in Greenwich. 

After the show we walked up to the hill for the view of London and sunbathed for a while.

The next day was hectic. I hosted my first party in my new flat and called it the Flat Completion Party. It was to celebrate the end of the gruelling settlement process. I bought champagne, nibbles and even baked egg custard tarts. (They were a hit.) The party was intended to be a champagne brunch but two friends brought a celebration gift, a huge bottle of Jagermeister. Somehow it got opened *looks innocent* and the rest of the afternoon went by quickly. 

Oh hai! Fancy see you here in MY FLAT! (Pics thanks to my girlfriend Hannah.)

"Brunch" ended at 6pm. Not long after we realised the lock of my front door was broken and I couldn't let my guests out. Lucky after a fair bit of banging on the door, we jimmied it open with a knife. To make sure no one is trapped again, it was unscrewed from the doorframe. Oops.

Portsmouth - The Beach With Gale Force Winds

Grant had a fencing tournament in Portsmouth so we went the day before to see the sights. We stayed in a hotel in Southsea. It was the cheapest we could find and in the grand tradition of British beach side hotels, they looked dated even though our rooms were supposedly refurbished. It still looked like we were visiting Grandma's house.

As we walked on the beach, Grant was all like: "touch the sea!" Too bad a wave swept in and wet his feet. He did a funny dance like the hot shoe shuffle, poor guy!

It seems that whenever Grant and I go to a beach in this country it's raining or hailing. And the beaches are pebbly. This time we had the bonus of gale force winds. We braved the wind since it was sunny and walked along the coast to Gunwharf Quays for dinner.

 Is this windy or what?

It was like we were in a wind tunnel. At one point I thought I was body slammed. The sun disappeared. Seafoam was whipped from sea to land. It was tumultuous and surreal watching a storm unfold. Then the rain came down and we ran for shelter at a bus stop. It was a seaside stroll to remember.

Choppy sea, sun and grey clouds.

We made it to the Gunwharf Quays with wet clothes and after a bit of window shopping we had dinner at Loch Fyne. It was still windy afterwards but we wanted to walk back with the sunset. It was beautiful and on the way we saw the D Day museum where they had two original tanks from WWII. I can't believe I was close to these artefacts and standing at a critical location of wartime history.

The next day Grant went to his tournament and I returned to London. I had to meet a handyman at my flat and just as I was about to jump on a train at Victoria, my iphone fell out of my pocket and slipped between the platform and the train.

I stepped back in horror and let the train pull away. My phone was a foot away from the platform by the tracks and still in one piece. The underground staff arranged two guys in Hi-Vis wear to stop the trains. Everyone was told to disperse along the platform and I could hear the next Victoria northbound thunder up and suddenly stop short of the platform with it's headlights blazing. Naturally everyone was confused, asking what the hell was going on.

It took a second for the underground staff to grab my phone. I got it back unbroken after eight or so trains rolled over it (luckily with no contact). Everything went back to normal and I held my phone tight as I boarded the train.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Now A London Flat Owner!

My cousin the property guru, once said that you'll know within the first 10 seconds of being inside whether the property is for you or not. 

I set a goal of buying my first flat and on the first day of searching after giving up for 2 years, I found "the one".  Instantly upon entering I thought I could be at home. I was drawn by the natural light and charm of the the flat. It felt just right.

There was a sealed bidding process and I wasn't successful. But the winning bid fell through and my offer was accepted two weeks later. I thought I had lost the flat for good.

There is so much chance in the game of property. It took three months to complete and either parties could walk away before contracts were exchanged. The property market was fast rising and there were threats to completion. Thank goodness my solicitor is amazing. He and his assistant stuck by me the whole way. Praises to them! 

It was completion day yesterday and I revieved the call from the agent to let me know the keys can be picked up. The first half of my investment project was done. This morning I picked up the keys, checked the utility meter readings and found a heartfelt message from the vendor. There was also a bottle of wine from her waiting to be chilled in the (turned off) fridge!