Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Expat Legacy

We've been in our little house in Wimbledon for a little over 3 months now, and we're pretty well settled in, but there are still a couple big items on our shopping list that we have yet to cross off.  One is a desk, and the other is a small set of outdoor furniture.  We've been able to live without them reasonably well, but they would be nice to have.  We've been using our laptops on our dining table and a lap desk, but since I went to the trouble of bringing my big comfy desk chair, a 20" monitor, keyboard, mouse, and foot rest, it would be nice to have a desk so I can blog in a more ergonomically-correct fashion.

Now some things you probably don't want to buy used -- say a sofa, or a mattress -- but there seems little risk in secondhand garden furniture or a desk.  And since we left ours at our house for our tenant to use, anything we acquire here we won't really need to bring back with us, so I'd rather not spend a lot of money.  I've been scanning Gumtree -- the UK version of Craigslist -- to see if anyone is trying to get rid of a desk or a nice set of outdoor chairs and a table for a reasonable price.  The only catch is that we don't have a car, so I've narrowed my focus to the surrounding area, where I could reasonably get something home with a short taxi ride -- or even carry it back with some assistance from Josh. 

Since London is a fairly transient city, there are always people moving away and advertising a "house clearance," so I thought I'd hit paydirt when I found one advertised on Monday that was right down the street from us.  In fact, if the timing had been better, we could have scored most of the other items on our list as well -- sofa, TV, coffee table, queen bed with storage drawers, printer -- but we already bought all of those things ourselves.  Still, we figured the desk was worth checking out, and maybe they'd have a few other small items we could use.

Josh was working from home on Tuesday -- he had to do another 24-hour urine collection to follow up on his kidney donation -- so we arranged to stop by Tuesday afternoon.  The owners turned out to be an American couple from Texas who had been in London for 4 1/2 years and are moving to New York next week.  They were surprised to hear that we had moved directly to Wimbledon from the US.  I guess most people who live here start out in central London and then discover they can get a little more space for their money out here.  That becomes especially important when you have kids, and they had a toddler and another on the way.  The wife said when she was on maternity leave, she never left Wimbledon -- because she didn't really need to.  While it would be a shame to live here and never venture into the city -- or out to the country -- it's nice to know that you can find everything you need for your day-to-day life within walking distance.  That includes 5 different grocery stores, 2 department stores, a shopping mall, a playhouse, a 12-screen movie theater, 4 gyms, a library, and a variety of restaurants.

ANYWAY, we were disappointed to see that their desk was way too deep to fit in the space we have for it.  Something long and narrow would work better.  They had managed to offload most of their big items, and most of the stuff they had left we either already had or would not have worked in our house.  Then they asked if we needed any house plants.  Now, our landlords left all their house plants in our house when they moved out, but I've tried not to get too attached to them for fear that they may come back and reclaim them now that they've finally moved in to their new house.  And since we didn't want to feel like the whole endeavor was a complete waste of everyone's time, we parted with £10 and took two plants off their hands.
these are real orchids!
orchid detail
weird bonsai
They didn't know what kind of bonsai this was -- just "some kind of tree."  The leaves remind me of a gardenia, but they claim it's never produced any flowers.  If you have any ideas, let me know.


  1. Hmmm. A baobab tree?

  2. It does completely remind me of the depictions of baobab trees in Le Petit Prince...


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