Just A Vibe | London Rental Opportunity of the Week: A Fancy Conservatory in Blackheath!
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London Rental Opportunity of the Week: A Fancy Conservatory in Blackheath!

London Rental Opportunity of the Week: A Fancy Conservatory in Blackheath!

What is it? Well the advert here says it’s a “1 bedroom semi-detached house”, but I’m squinting and looking at the photos here, and listen: it’s a conservatory;
Where is it? Blackheath;
What is there to do locally? The one time I ever went to Blackheath it was one of those purgatorial journeys that Citymapper cheerfully tells you will “only take 70 minutes!” and involves a train and then a bus, and bafflingly I found myself at the end of a bus route with still a 20-minute walk to go and it was just down this endless featureless road that only had a petrol station on it, and then getting out of Blackheath I seemingly got lost for hours on some sort of in-London moor they have there as the sun set gauzy behind me, and I am convinced Blackheath is actually some sort of time and space-bending Bermuda triangle in the outskirts of the city that is impossible to truly escape from, so in answer to the question of what there is to do locally, I would say: “Buy a big bag of crisps from the petrol station so they let you have a piss there, then call an Uber and get the fuck out of dodge”;
Alright, how much are they asking? £1,195 p.c.m. for – can I remind you – a place in Blackheath.

Your mum’s rich friend is having you all over for a soiree. Everyone’s mum has one rich friend: that is the nature of mums. This is just an immovable fact about mums. They, all of them, have one distant see-you-once-a-year friend who is incredibly, comfortably, fantastically well off. You ask her why she doesn’t hang out with Jude more. “The proximity to that much wealth can only rub off on us, mum!” you urge. You secretly think Your Mum’s Rich Friend might take an unearned shine to you and bequeath you a house or something. That being in their feted world can only lead to more of that for you: that maybe you would get a new car for your 18th birthday, or have a gap year, or get a £100k starter job at your dad’s firm, like David, her tall son who is a month older than you. “Oh, Jude is an old friend,” your mum says. “She married well.” She ties your dad’s tie for him. “Well, she always was very clever. Very pretty. We were friends a long time ago.” What’s the party for? “Well, David just graduated with his first-class degree.” Why do I have to wear a suit? “Because I fucking say so, you little shit.”

And so Your Mum’s Rich Friend is having a soiree. A perfect sunny Friday in June. They have actual waitresses there, in the garden, holding shimmering trays of prosecco (hold on, this is champagne?). They have a special marquee set up in case it rains. There’s a croquet set. Someone tries to park your dad’s car for him and he gets really weird about giving up the keys. The heat is perfect. The drinks are flowing. The canapés are not enough. You get absolutely hammered and pass out in a lavender bush behind the decorative pond. “Oh, he’s done it again, hasn’t he,” Jude tells your mum in soothing tones. “Listen: if you need a night off from having him at home, he can always stay in the guest house.”

And this is where you wake up, with your hand down your trousers, in the weird blue hours of the morning. Woah, this is… sick? There’s a… whole little bathroom cubby thing? There’s a… sofa and TV? You gently ease your way down the bunkbed stepladder and see someone has left some soft folded pyjamas out for you. You settle in and watch Soccer AM on a really quiet volume. “Ah, there you are,” Jude says, gently creaking the door open. “We were wondering when you’d rise! Don’s doing breakfast in the kitchen – shall I bring you a little something?” Yes please, mu— yes please, Jude. She brings a tray with fresh orange and a little coffee press and a plate of the best AGA-cooked breakfast you’ve ever had (“Yes, Don is a bit of a whizz. Try the hollandaise.”). Is it alright if I stay here a bit, Jude? “Of course. Take a shower, take your time. We’re off to Harrods today, but I’ve left the taxi number by the door – just use our account and they’ll know what to do.”

You wait until 4PM and do two blissful wanks there before you can bring yourself to leave. Whirr home in the air conditioned back of a Prius and think about what your life would be like if you were born David instead of you. Do you think Jude would adopt you if both your parents died? Don’t think like that, don’t think like that. But would she? Don’t think like that. But she probably would. That’d be good, wouldn’t it. Obviously not good, but… that would be good.

By which I am saying: this is a rare nice place, on London Rental Opportunity of the Week. Normally we deal in shitholes, in large scab-like folds of wallpaper seeping with damp, in crevices, in no natural light, in doors that open immediately into kitchens, in beds that fold up into sofas. This space, conversely, is nice: if you were a guest at someone’s house, and they put you up here, you wouldn’t mind it. If you went abroad and rented a weird Airbnb with blurry pictures where you can’t quite figure out what it is and it turned out to be this, you wouldn’t be mad about it. “It’s a conservatory,” you’d say, putting your luggage down and looking around. “But, like, a nice one.” It would not! Technically! Be awful! To live! Here!

But I do sort of see it as an ugly bulbous symptom of the dying wheezing rental market as a whole, yes. Like: I think it is bad someone is renting their conservatory for one-thousand, one-hundred and ninety-five pounds per month. I believe that to be bad, a bad thing. I get that this space has been designed, and is airy, and a lot of money has been spent making it nice. I get that it is new and glossy and lovely and clean. But it’s not a home, is it. It’s not, really, a flat. It’s a space in someone’s garden that you’d gladly spend one night in… but it’s not a home. It’s an especially luxurious doghouse that they keep out in the back of the garden for guests, only now they want to cannula a large amount of your paycheque away from you for it, and you (an adult) are expected to sleep on a high bunkbed on top of some wardrobes. In Blackheath. For £1,195. No thank you, Jude! Appreciate the pyjamas, but! No thanks!

@joelgolby

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.


Source: VICE


London Rental Opportunity of the Week: A Fancy Conservatory in Blackheath!

London Rental Opportunity of the Week: A Fancy Conservatory in Blackheath!

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