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Today I briefly talk about what it's like living and working in London.
I confess that this is quite a boring rant.
Living in London can be both great and bad. I think it all really depends whereabouts you live. London is a pretty darn big place, so it has it's fair share of good and nasty places to live. I used to live in a wonderful area situated close to Hampstead Heath, an extremely large and leisurable park. It sounds ridiculous, but feeding ducks is one of the more peaceful time wasting activities I love to indulge in. It was a nice quiet place to live.
Today, I live in a single roomed studio (plus 1 bathroom). I thought I'd have a go living without roommates and so far it's been a hit and miss affair. The area is more noisy, people outside are louder and there are a bunch of things that really need sorting to this little flat. I've only lived at two previous London addresses, but this one is by far the most problematic.
The biggest problem has been the walls becoming damp in wet/cold weather. Last I checked, walls are supposed to keep water out of a room. At first I thought the walls just had general scuff marks, but as time went by they got more and more worse, and ugly black mold was beginning to grow in patches. The walls have since been completely destroyed and then rebuilt with bricks/concrete and plaster. Currently, I have half a room with a half painted wall, and it looks like crap. They can't be painted until the plaster is fully dry which will be about 2 weeks from now. However, before that, new skirting needs to be put down where the walls were rebuilt. As things are now, the room has holes in the corners of the floor where mice or whatever can probably easily access my room.
Speaking of... dealing with ants is something I'll be writing down on my "not cool" list. I lifted my blinds the other day and discovered a large number of ants crawling along my window sill. A whole bunch of them had wings (future queens from what I understand), and they were entering via tiny little holes in the wood work. I spent the whole morning vacuuming the suckers and plugging up the holes with blu tack and red tape. Not cool at all...
To round off my problems, we have a fire alarm that feels the need to go off every now and then. It's been peaceful the last few nights, but the alarm for the whole building goes off thanks to an over enthusiastic smoking neighbour upstairs. It wouldn't bother me so much if the fire alarm system wasn't right outside my room, which of course makes me the #1 guy to go out and switch the thing off. It would bother me less if the guy didn't feel the need to fire up at 2am in the morning.
Other than these problems though, things are fantastic.
As I first said, I believe your quality of life in London will all depend on where you live. I have pretty much zero problems with the way the city actually operates. As transport systems go, the London Underground is super easy to use and is very reliable most of the time. All the stations work exactly the same and security is comforting there. You rarely wait more than even 3 minutes for the train to arrive. I guess the recent ban of alcohol has also made things better for some, but I never encountered any problems with drunk folk on the train before.
The whole city is very multi cultural, and any popular place you go to you're gonna see tourists. I work in a particular spot of London where there is absolutely no shortage of tourists. Not that it bothers me. It might for some, but it just seems to remind me how popular London seems to be despite how expensive it can be to live/visit here!
Yes, living costs are high. Generally speaking though, jobs pay more to make up for it, but rent is especially expensive and you're highly likely to live in a less luxurious location than you would if you were living more North of England where things are cheaper. Cost of eating out and drinking is more expensive too. Fortunately for me, I'm not one that enjoys spending all my cash on alcohol on a night out, and I like to think I'm pretty careful with my cash in terms of what food I bring home with me.
All in all, I enjoy living in London. There's always something going on and it's pretty easy to get about. Thanks to that, I'll never need to own a car, and as a result, I doubt I'll ever get round to learning how to drive. Driving lessons are freaking expensive in this city, and I don't even know how I can possibly make time for it.
Not that I work really long hours or anything... I work 8.5 hours a day, including an hour's lunch, which is pretty standard stuff. I read these reports in the paper of Londeners having to working longer hours than anyone else in the country, but I'm not sure how much truth there is to that. Do people not realise that they are probably only contracted to work a number of hours a day? If they're paid overtime and they're after that extra cash, then fine, that's totally understandable. I'm not paid for any overtime, so once my 8.5 hours are up, I wanna be out of there. And if anyone tries to force me to work longer, I make my feelings pretty clear on the subject.
Having said all this, the idea of living out in a super peaceful countryside has always been a very appealing thought to me. As things are now, I'd only take up space out there. Still too caught up in technology and the internet to appreciate my surroundings.
I have to save up some cash... buy a house... something.