I’ve been sick for the last two weeks – ebola, bubonic plague mixed with the common flu – no biggie. It’s the sickest I’ve been in at least 5 years. At one point (or… uhm… many points) I even considered seeing a doctor – what a novel idea. However, my pride got in the way. I haven’t been to a doctor in many years and I ain’t going to no doctor now.
The other minor complication was that I don’t have a GP (general practitioner) here in the UK. I’ve never bothered to register with a surgery. I once tried to get it done… back when I was still living in Chelmsford. Unfortunately it didn’t get anywhere because they asked me for proof of address, which I didn’t have as I don’t pay any bills (my bills were always included in my rent). Also, at that time I had moved recently and the address on my bank statement was incorrect – I even went to an HSBC branch to get this sorted – but they didn’t want to co-operate and sent me home. They said I need to wait until the end of the month to get a new statement with the correct address in the post. And that’s the story how I almost got a GP. Why can’t this be easy? England is like that – ridiculously stupid, full of red tape and regulation.
One other thing: I’m moving house again. The landlady is moving in and everybody needs to move out by the 4th April. My ebola was pretty bad and I managed to outsource the majority of the flathunting responsibility to my housemate Romario.
Believe me, flathunting when sick is a very miserable experience. For example I went to one address and I was there at 6:15 PM – bang on the money. Romario was nowhere to be seen and my battery ran out on my phone. I wasn’t going to wait around in the cold hoping for Romario to show up, so I went home and proceeded with coughing my lungs out. Later my housemate said that the flat wasn’t that great.
Another day, we had a second viewing. Well… “had” is a strong word. This time the two of us were outside the building waiting but the real estate agent didn’t even bother to show up. Romario called him and demanded justice, but the fucker didn’t care and said he can’t make it. Real estate agents are scum.
Luckily we had a second viewing that day. This viewing was for me really as Romario already checked that flat out a bit earlier. The new place was amazing and we decided to rent it. It’s right between the Holborn and Chancery Lane tube stations i.e. only 950 meters from where I work.
Later that day I got home and my ebola took on a turn for the worse. I had a massive fever and I was very cold. I ran a hot bath and stayed in it until the skin on my fingers got all wrinkly and gross. Then I put on 3 pairs of trousers and 6 layers of T-shirts and sweaters because I was still cold. I tried to get some sleep under my duvet but that proved to be difficult because of a massive headache.
It’s a strange sensation to be cold and shivering with so many clothes on… I survived and now (about a week later) I’m a lot better – I think I’ll even go for a run tomorrow.
Coming back to the flat. Our real estate agent told us a bunch of lies about the property i.e. “the council tax here is one of the lowest in London” and that we could have four people in that three-bed apartment no problem.
The next day the agency called me and tried to increase the rent and they were successful. I foolishly agreed to a slightly higher price to make sure we got the flat. Agents are full of shit and will tell you anything to get more money out of you. Later on they tried to get even more money out of us (i.e. a 10% increase if there’s 4 people in the flat because of more “wear and tear”). We would also need to apply for some kind of license (which costs £500 or so) as three tenants is the maximum in that flat because of some “health and safety” regulation. None of this was mentioned to us when we first saw the property.
Later on we had to get our references done by a third company. This was such a headache – I had to send bank statements, payslips, proof of my savings etc. Then it turned out one of my bank statements wasn’t up to their standards because it didn’t show a salary being paid into my account (this is because my statements are generated on the 24th each month but I get paid on the 26th). In addition I had to sign stuff and scan and email to my company’s HR team and to the agency and the whole process made me feel like a criminal. To add insult to injury, I’m the one who’s paying for this referencing “service”. It was such a bad experience that at one point I didn’t even care whether I pass the referencing credit and whatever other checks they did. I just wanted this ordeal to end.
I sent an angry email to the referencing company and after that they became much more civil. The whole thing was stupid, unnecessary, unpleasant and a proper pain in the ass but we got there in the end.
We’ve signed the contract, paid a ton of money for one month’s rent and 6 weeks deposit and various agency fees. It feels wrong to pay more than £6.5K and receive nothing in return – all we have is a contract which is only signed by me and Romario at this time.
I hope it all turns out well. We are still looking for a third tenant as Pilar will not join us – she’s moving to Spain in May and will stay at a friend’s place in between I think. Anywho, we’ve had plenty of interest in the room we advertised on Spareroom and tomorrow will probably have a new housemate sorted out.
I’m not sure if I mentioned previously but I was supposed to run a half marathon race in Silverstone (it’s a bit north west from London) about two weeks ago. I didn’t because of my ebola. I haven’t done any running in the last two weeks and now I have less than four weeks to train for the London marathon. Things are not looking good.
On the bright side, I won’t be homeless going forward. We will move to the new place on the 1st April. I’m really looking forward to it as I’m confident in the new flat I won’t feel rain droplets falling on me through the bedroom window when the weather gets nasty outside.
I hope you had a good Easter holiday,
Ivar the Salacious