29 June 2007

An area of urban depravity

I recently enjoyed a stint house-sitting for Steve and Fiona in their apartment at Deptford Bridge while they were away for a fortnight or so seeing Scandinavia. After the experience, I can report that the idea of apartment dwelling is definitely appealing. The apartment is a fourth-floor, one-bedroom affair, and while it's not large, it's just the right size for one or two. It's located in a precinct of about ten other modern apartment blocks, but the overall design has craftily placed the buildings and their balconies and windows to ensure that there's no feeling of living cheek-by-jowl with one's neighbours. And I particularly enjoyed having the Docklands Light Rail station only a few minutes walk away, even if the DLR line did pass only about 25m from the apartment's bedroom window, which meant the loud train rattling seeped through the double glazing in the early morning and late at night. I got used to it pretty quickly.

One unusual aspect of the apartment precinct and the closeness of the DLR station is that the area in which it resides is not what you'd call salubrious. (Perhaps it's labelled an 'area of urban deprivation'. I've always thought there should be an associated category for 'areas of urban depravity'. Just so upright types would know to avoid or bring their blinkers to avoid seeing anything corrupt). Just one stop up the DLR is posh Greenwich with its boutiques and cafes, but Deptford Bridge is closer to grimy New Cross in style and outlook. But the size of the apartment precinct means it's hard to imagine what the area was like before the development occurred.

I was also very impressed with the soundproofing of the double-glazing and the walls. There wasn't a peep out of the neighbours. The only real negative was the faulty fire alarm that went off for an hour or so in one of the neighbouring buildings at 5am on a Friday morning. Any alarm that goes off at that hour had better be real! After ensuring that the apartment wasn't wreathed in flickering flames and full of billowing grey smoke, I just popped my earplugs in and went back to sleep.

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