Saturday, 20 March 2010

The not so nice things you see from a West End window

This morning about 7ish I saw a not particularly attractive couple walking up the road after obviously having some kind of altercation. He was in front with a pronounced limp and walked off round the corner, she followed putting on her trousers – putting on her trousers, err alright love that’s a bit much. 

He nearly got reversed into by a delivery truck but she just stared after him then rummaged for her phone and on reaching the corner said something to two girls coming out of the newsagents as they all turned and watched the boyfriend limp off down the road.

I returned to what I was doing and on glancing out of the window a bit later was shocked to see police cars everywhere, a doorway with police tape all over it and the girl in question, now looking very small, with them. A sickening feeling washed over me as I realised she had actually said ‘I’ve just been raped’.

Of course looking back, walking down the road with no trousers on is not normal behaviour, even for a professional lady. I feel so stupid now, but what could I have done, chased the guy. 

I could however corroborate her story, so went and gave a statement to an officer. 

What is equally shocking is how nonchalant the perpetrator was. How fucked up and unloved had he been in his childhood to do something like that or was he just evil and opportunist. There is of course no excuse and it doesn’t bare thinking about but now that poor girl has to rebuild her life after maybe just trying to be early for work one day.

Freehold or leasehold

Of course Belle Mere may have been trying to tell me in a round about way that she was going to hold onto the freehold and only lease the flat to us with 73 years left, meaning she would still be in control...


This means that you fully own the property. As a freeholder you will have full responsibility for the maintenance and repairs of the property.


This means that you own the property for as long as is specified in the lease; you are granted the right to live there by the freeholder. At the end of the lease the property again becomes the possession of the freeholder. Many leases are originally granted for up to 999 years, but existing leases on properties are usually shorter. The majority of leasehold properties are flats, although some houses are leasehold.

The lease stipulates who is responsible for maintaining and repairing different parts of the property and any conditions you must meet as a resident. Check these if you are considering buying a leasehold. You must also pay a ground rent to the owner of the land (the freeholder), usually a small amount paid each year. Your solicitor should check that the seller is up to date with ground rent payments before you sign the contract.

You should not buy a property with a lease of less than 60 years, and anyway mortgage lenders are very unlikely to lend for a lease as a short as this. Lenders normally want at least 20 years left on the lease after the end of the mortgage term. As a leaseholder you have the right to extend the lease for 90 years or even to buy the freehold if certain criteria are met, though the application process is expensive and takes a long time. Contact the Leasehold Enfranchisement Advisory Service for more information.

Think of flowers, lovely flowers.

No, even she couldn’t be that mean.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Sweet treats

Biona Fruit lollies - sweets with a conscience so you don’t have to worry about yours! Available from the or Waitrose.

Small boys drawers

I saw this in Next on Tottenham Court Road and thought it might be quite nice for Erbie’s clothes as his bucket overfloweth. 

Final Hurdle and flapping Belle Mere

The final hurdle for the mortgage is getting the flat valued to the price we have said it is worth. 

After letters of confirmation being sent to the wrong address, promises to pay off credit card debts and reproving current address the mortgage advisor gave the go ahead for the surveyor to go to the property.

This morning the Belle Mere rang and told me all about her terrible morning with our surveyor, how she had had to find the freehold agreement and how the surveyor had told her they don’t give mortgages on properties with less than 70 years. How she was convinced it was only 60 years etc, etc, panic, panic, panic, had to go through paperwork, most inconvienient blah blah blah. How she hadn’t been able to let them into the loft because it was locked (with our stuff in it, it’s a tiny padlock and easily unscrewable). It transpired there were 73 years left on the freehold.

‘So did he say it was a problem or not?’ I asked calmly, gesticulating madly at the phone.

‘Well he didn’t seem to think it would be a problem but I’m so worried, it was just awful.’ She said.

Now we have to wait on tenterhooks all weekend to find out whether they will give us the mortgage after the unrefundable survey or not.

Belle Mere has chivvied us along saying she was exchanging at the end of March, which is why the surveyor was there in the first place. Now she says she may not complete until the middle of July.

We are going to run my sisters pub for a few days to get out of London!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

May you stay Forever Young

Forever Young by Bob Dylan, illustrated by Paul Rogers
Available in Selfridges and online at 
Image © Paul Rogers

We found this beautiful book the other day, published in 2008 it is an interpretation of Bob Dylan’s song ‘Forever Young’ illustrated by the Californian artist Paul Rogers. Forever Young is from Dylan’s 1974 album Planet Waves. It bought a tear to the GR’s eye.

You can see a bit of the animated version here:

Friday, 12 March 2010

Schleich Animals

Looking up images for my ‘Toy Horse Porn’ I discovered one can buy Schleich plastic animals and knights and farmers and dinosaurs on - God help you Erbie! 

I had previously only bought him a measley chicken for his stocking as I thought they were shockingly over-priced, fuelled by the memory of a bag full of handed-down farm animals I had as a child, which are sadly long gone.

Toy Horse Porn

I have a penchant for small plastic animals. These by Schleich are especially lovely and are available in most good toy shops, including Hamleys.  It was in Hamleys where I saw the reared Mustang Stallion (all together in the film ‘Commitments’ stylie sing ‘Mustang Stallion’), which I can see on a bedroom shelf when/if we get out mortgage and Erbie gets a bedroom.

First ‘mummy’

Did I mention here that Erbie said ‘Mummy’ for the first time recently. I acted nonchalant but my heart secretly soared. Now he says ‘Mummy & Daddy’ together just like that, in a very sweet fashion. When he goes to bed at night he says ‘bye bye’ to his bus and cars and book-oos. Gotta love him.

I have finished my marathon 3 jobs and taken on a new one, which is in a program I hardly know - madness. Still it keeps those leetle grey cells ticking over. I’m trying to keep being a ‘mummy’ separate, so days are for Erbie and I and evenings for work. I meant to do 3 hours last night but passed out putting Erbie to bed and only woke up at 10.30pm, in time to actually go to bed - oh dear.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Go on bus

Erbie has started putting two words together - mainly ‘go-on bus’ and ‘go-on choo choo’. He is slightly bus obsessed. The one I got him from a souvenir shop for Christmas has long gone, dropped one time too many it smashed spectacularly on the supermarket floor. It had previously fallen to bits on the Post Office floor but I’d managed to stick it back together with a parcel sticker. 

He was even sleeping with it at one point and if it slipped out of his tight little fist a plantive ‘oh bus, oh dear bus’ would continue until said bus was replaced in grasp. 

Now he just pushes a rather sad pair of wheels on an axle around. 

I had brunch with a friend the other morning who pointed out that he has a Northern accent, it’s not so much ‘bus’ more ‘booowsse’. 

We passed this boooossse the other morning. 

Vegan Routes restaurant in an old Routemaster bus in the NCP car park on Brewer Street, W1

Go-on choo choo, Piccadilly

Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace

Another thing you get to see early in the morning is trainee soldiers getting shouted at. Some of these poor ones could barely keep their buzbys on. The day before they were in different uniforms drilling with guns and bayonets all very exciting for little boys’ mummies!

Going to feed the Pelicans

Where does one go to feed the ducks in London? We usually go to the Regents Park but there seems to be a better class of duck in St James!

Red crested pochard

Bar-headed goose with several Coot

Quite clearly you are not allowed to feed the Pelicans in St James...

We did a full circle of the park not seeing a single one sir then rounded the last corner to catch them at their morning preening. They look so incongruous in an English setting. I think they may rule the roost in the park, a bit like the Kray twins, there is a certain something thuggish about them.

The Pelicans at St James Park, London.

Not such a good picture (taken straight into the sun), but you get the idea. We also saw a pair of green paraquets which seem to be synonomous with London now, 5 magpies, moorhen, dabchicks, tufted ducks, pintails, a wren, blue tits, long tailed tits, great tits, and very tame squirrels which seem to appeal to the tourists.

London on a cold and frosty morning

We have been blessed with a few bright clear mornings lately and I have taken full advantage of them by grabbing Erbie and setting off for a walk. I love the city in the morning all shiny brass and empty streets, it doesn't even have to be daft o'clock, these were taken at about twenty to eight. 
Icicles on the fountains in Trafalgar Square

The arch into Pall Mall on a March morning

St James Park.

School for Life

I passed this poster in the schoolforlife on Marchmont Street the other morning, it spoke to me! I really like the graphics they use.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

What we saw on the way to the bank...

No little boy should be without his own clown fish Converse, as seen today in ‘Office’ £24.99.

No discerning mummy should be without a spotty mug. ‘Butlers’ in The Brunswick

Although, at the moment I am a spotty mug. I like the dark green, I'm being drawn towards green for the kitchen, not paint, just accessories, Lord knows why, my school uniform was bottle green so by law I should have a strong aversion to the colour but hey. I'm not allowing myself to think too much about decorating yet, but if we do get the flat, my posts might go from what we have seen and done in the West End to tedium infanitum about home decorating; which would be a relief from mortgage talk I'm sure. My work is easing off so may have time to actually do stuff again, wee hee.

Other nonsense

Quote of the day

‘They tuck you up your mum and dad...’
Anon - after Larkin

“Philately will get you everywhere”

“It’s not the despair, I can handle the despair. 
It’s the hope I can’t deal with”

“Each new friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
Anais Nin

‘Come on Dover move your bloomin’ arse’.
Eliza Doolittle