I’ve finally done it. I have moved to London. Harrow to be exact. Well, to be more exact, Rayner’s Lane – or that is the closest tube station anyway, at just 6 minutes walk from my house.
Chosen for convenience of location above any other factor, it is just 35 minutes, door to door, to Baker Street, and 45 minutes, door to door, to work, in Amersham. Rayner’s Lane has the added advantage of not only being on the AIR CONDITIONED Metropolitan line, but also on the Piccadilly line.
Sure the area isn’t cool or edgy like Dalston, Peckham or Hackney are (or Shoreditch used to be) – it is generally quite suburban with the odd rough edge. There are only two pubs – one is a Wetherspoons, the other a quite rough looking Irish pub – apparently the best gaa pub in town, whatever one of those might be.
One of the first selling points was the street where the house was, all white-painted fake-Georgian style houses, terraced into groups of 6 or so houses, trees on the street, manicured gardens, driveways – all very pretty and welcoming. Like England is supposed to be. Pretty much the opposite to where I lived in Bracknell.
Just around the corner, is the main high street, complete with tube station, a Sainsburys local, an Iceland for when I have the desire to eat anti-food, a Romanian shop with hotties and occasional house music playing (no minimal, yet), a determinedly disappointing Tesco Express, a handful of chicken shops, a fish restaurant that might be good, 27 other local supermarkets/off licenses in a row and a variety of Indian-themed places, such as the Indian wedding shop.
And a special mention to the cake shop who told me off for photographing their cakes. I am delighted that you have put me off from eating buying any as a lot of pounds could have been lost, and kilograms gained.
The area has a very mixed ethnicity as you may imagine. Predominantly asian, particularly Indian, but a mix of white, black, English, Romanian, Polish all featuring quite highly in the mix of cultures too.
No hipsters, there are very few beards, no unicyclists – in fact, hardly any cyclists despite the provision of actual cycle paths. They also have outdoor gym equipment in the area. No I haven’t used it.
I was quite pleased the other day to note that there is a cricket ground very close to my house. A really thumping 6 might even reach my garden. In fact it is a sports ground but I may well end up watching the odd game there next season, all being well. They have tables with alcohol-sponsored umbrellas so I hope that means that they also sell alcohol.
Further away from my house, within walking distance, is a Waitrose. In the opposite direction, a shopping street that Bracknell would be proud of – Argos, Poundland, Primark – everything. Though as I was walking back through the tunnels under the overpass, and I noted that they had a TV screen before this ugly barbaric 1950’s tunnel structure. I wondered why – it is a view of the other end of the tunnel. Slightly disconcerting.
Parks are close by, trees are aplenty in the area, and some areas of Harrow are very nice indeed – I haven’t ventured to them yet but my landlady did show me on her guided tour that she gave me. Harrow boys school looks posh, and some of that area looks like a quintessential English market town.
I live in a 3-bedroom house with just the landlady (currently). The front garden is just a drive, the back garden is mud – to the back of that is the Piccadilly line – quite comforting to hear tube trains, unless one has had to leave the windows open overnight – they are quite a wake-up call.
The house certainly could do with some modernisation in places, and a few little repairs, but it is perfectly imperfect for me – I could have moved into an ultra-modern place that I looked at but I just felt that I would be stepping on eggshells a lot there.
The best part is my bedroom. Lots of space, a large wardrobe, under-bed space – everything I own, and I own a lot of shit, fits in.
I can see myself being happy here.