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After I headed home yesterday from my six-mile bike trip (which my mother assures me is no biggie. Thank you Mommie *drum roll*), I prepared lunch – delectable tomato rice (self promotion galore) – and got ready to go to T’s. For those who don’t know, T is a colleague of mine who’s moved to another country, D, and needs to find a tenant for the apartment he owns here in London. A happy coincidence for me since I need to cut my rental bill and also find a cooler place to stay. Though I love my apartment facing the Thames and the ease of getting to work, I really need to see more people, have a buzzing high street close by complete with vegetable sellers and some restaurants. And some greenery would be nice too, thanks. So Stoke Newington it is.

I bought flowers on the way, boarded the overground and headed north. On the bus ride from the train station, I could see how multi-cultural this place is. We passed all sorts of shops on the way including afro-hair and beauty salons. There were people everywhere going about their work, all this activity a far cry from the dull main road my riverside development leads to. A couple of bobbies entered the bus too at a point and looked absolutely fab in their shining uniforms and helmets.

Having done my homework like every good potential tenant should, I got off at the correct stop and walked to T’s apartment. I have to say it was love at first sight. I always loved wooden floors. Plus he’s throwing in the TV and speakers. He showed me around the apartment and then made us a cup of tea. Beyond the veranda, I could see a pair of glittering, green eyes in a black furry body staring intently at me. I asked T if he knew the cat and he said he’d never seen it before. I saw two more cats after that, each looking right into the apartment and straight at me in that freakish manner cats have sometimes. Anyway, I took the cats as a good sign. T even sportingly showed me where I could cut out a flap door if I chose to ever have cats of my own in the apartment.

We decided to have a walk around the area and walked through Abney Park – a beautiful cemetery maintained as a nature park. As we walked about the tombstones, I entertained images of happy mornings spent exploring the park, taking photographs with my trusty camera. We also walked down Church Street, buying a slice of mediocre mushroom pizza each, taking in the restaurants and little cafes every where. I was happy to note two garden shops and had mental images of thriving plant life in the veranda. I loved the bright paint colours employed by the various establishments – some bright pink, some green, some blue. We came to St Mary’s Church – the church on church street as T called it and went to Clissold Park. More happy future images came to mind and I wanted to spend more time here but T was anxious to show me more of the area. We passed some more graves on the way out, this time it felt creepy and I was glad it wasn’t darker. I don’t think I want to spend any time on this stretch during the dark, winter days.

We went to a pub with a beer garden, which basically means they have a section in the back with benches in a garden. In fine weather like what we had yesterday, this is wonderful. I was happy to find Erdinger – a German wheat beer (Weißbier) from a Bavarian Weißbräu (brewery) – and it brought back happy memories from Berlin. An Australian gentleman joined us at our table and I fabricated a whole load of rubbish to get rid of him, making up stories of how T and I were married, how I am a housewife and how he’s freelancing now that he’s between jobs. I also told him about our little house in Greenwich. T was amused at the pace of my lies and the amount of detail I was putting in. He played along sportingly though. Our unwelcome guest got fed up of the mush after a bit and left. We wrapped up the day at an Indian restaurant – needless to say it was a fairly awful place but I still have some hope that I’ll find a good joint which will quench my desire for aloo parathas every once in a while.

Weissbeir in its beautifully shaped glass

This is what apartment hunting should always be like, pity that it isn’t. Anyway, I recognize this as a fairly once in a lifetime opportunity. I do feel slightly sad about leaving my current apartment – my home since the last ten months but such is life and I will have to adapt to a new place.