09 June 2008

The safest flat in Tooting

My old flat
Originally uploaded by eT le snap
This afternoon I paid a visit to my old digs in Ascot Road, Tooting, just to see the neighbourhood. A few shops have closed since '99 and a big Sainsbury's has opened near the Tube but it's still basically the same - a bit run-down.

The flat was fairly crummy, but it was very cheap - less than 60 quid a week including council tax. When I lived there it was owned by Mr Mendes, an Indian chap from Goa whose main source of income was as the proprietor of an Afro Hair Supplies shop in Tooting High Street. (It's still there, one of three such shops).

As you can see from the photo, it's right in the shadow of the Tooting police station. My first bedroom in the back overlooked the station car park. Actually it was much quieter than you'd expect, and there was certainly very little danger of burglary!

The house wasn't in the best state of repair, which explains the low rent. On one occasion the landlord had come around to mend the hinges on the bathroom door, but didn't have the right tools to re-hang the door, so he left it loose. When we wanted some privacy - like, to shower - we had to lift the door and wedge it into the doorframe. One morning I managed to mess this up and the bathroom door ended up in the shower with me!

Another time I complained to the landlord that my bedroom ceiling leaked during rainstorms, so he sent his son along with a bucket to put up in the roof. Now that's problem-solving. Fortunately I left the flat before the bucket filled up...
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