Sunday, April 10, 2011

House in Wimbledon: A Second Look

Yesterday morning Josh and I walked over to the house we will be renting next month to meet with the owners and do a more thorough walk-through.  We only spent about 20 minutes touring the house when we were on our house-hunting expedition last month, and after seeing so many properties in a 2-day period, they all kind of blended together.

The house is about half a mile from our apartment, which means it will be a 10-15-minute walk from the Wimbledon tube station and town center, rather than being right in the middle of things like we are now.  But it's a pretty decent trade-off for being in a house -- rather than a flat -- and in a much quieter neighborhood with friendly neighbors, our own yard, and a beautiful park a block away.  The other advantage is we will also be a 15-minute walk from the South Wimbledon tube station, which is on another line, giving us more transit options for getting into and around the city. Of course, we may not feel that way once the weather changes from gorgeous to rainy, but given our time constraints, this house seemed like the best option of all the places we looked at.

The owners of the house are a nice married couple with an adorable little boy and another baby on the way, so they bought a bigger place out in Surrey to accommodate their growing family.  The husband is from Germany and the wife is from Singapore, and they were both very sympathetic about the tribulations of moving here from another country and having to figure out how everything works. They walked us through the house, showed us how everything works, made a list of utility companies they use, and gave us their mobile numbers and email addresses in case we had any other questions.  They even told us a little about some of their neighbors.  Josh took measurements of the rooms so we could start thinking about furniture placement and what we'd need to buy, and I took a few more photos.
The homeowners said we could replace this sink

Josh declared this to be his side of the bed, so he won't bump his head.
Will our guest bed fit in here?  I hope so!
 Furniture placement in this tiny bedroom will be tricky, but at least it has two closets.
Will the movers be able to get all our stuff in through this narrow entrance?
Part of an old chimney limits furniture placement here
After we had spent a good two hours touring the house and chatting with the owners, we thanked them profusely and let them get on with their day.  I felt bad taking up so much of their time, but having just gone through the same process renting out our own house, I'm sure they are happy to have us as tenants.  We own our own home, have no kids or pets, don't smoke, and have a decent income (at least Josh does).  What's not to love?

We decided to take a detour through the park on our way back into town.  South Park Gardens is a Victorian-era formal park that was recently restored to its original glory.  On this lovely spring day, it was packed with families and sun-seekers, many in what I would consider seriously inadequate clothing for 60-degree weather.

Since it was such a nice day and we didn't have any plans until dinnertime, we had lunch at a pub and then walked up the hill to Wimbledon Village, where we visited the local Wimbledon Museum, a teeny room crammed full of exhibit cases on the second floor of the historic Wimbledon Village Club building.

We learned a lot about local history, including this special exhibit on the New Wimbledon Theatre.
We were especially intrigued by some of the guest performers in recent Pantomime productions.  I can't believe we missed an opportunity to see David Hasselhoff perform in Peter Pan!
We got home around 5:30, and just had time to relax for a few minutes before changing and heading out again to meet up with some people for dinner.  Yes, we did not know a soul in London when we moved here, but our friend Jason had put us in touch via email with someone he knew through singing circles in DC who had just moved to London a couple days before we did. There were so many coincidences that we felt destined to meet -- the least of which was that we moved from DC to London the same week.  My friend Jason's wife's name is Elizabeth, and this couple was also named Jason and Elizabeth, but the wife goes by "Bethie."  (The new) Jason went to law school at Georgetown (just like Josh) and practices international trade law (just like Josh).  He was also offered a job at BAE systems, but decided to work for a law firm instead.  We flew out to London the same week to look for a place to live, and looked in Clapham -- which is where Jason & Bethie ended up living.

We took the tube over to Clapham and met Jason, Bethie, and their adorable daughter Charlotte at a restaurant near the station.  We had plenty to talk about, and discovered a few more things we had in common -- like the fact that Jason and I are both from much-maligned cities in California.  We had a lovely evening, and were glad to have some new friends to socialize with, since our social lives took such a serious nosedive when we moved to London that I joined Facebook in desperation.  We finally decided to call it a night when Charlotte, who was having a hard time keeping her dinner down all evening -- pooped in her pants, and Bethie and Jason decided they'd better get her home.  Since Charlotte is only 3 months old, it wasn't anywhere near as awkward as it would have been if she were, say, 7 or 8, but they suggested that next time we get together they might try to find a babysitter.

Today was a very full day.  Tune in tomorrow to hear all about it.

1 comment:

To prevent spam and other inappropriate messages, all comments are moderated before being posted.