Tag Archives: water

living in london pt 3

9 May

london Friday

i opened the window and a huge blast of wind blew right through the flat and created quite a force. i felt quite exhilarated about it. it is such a rare thing to be able to get this. And yet when only a little gap is opened on all the windows there is no breeze. that is a good thing so that u can keep a gap open and not feel cold wind leaking into the flat. 

Most people dont have flats with double aspects, by that I mean one side of the flat with windows looking out and the other side with windows looking out on a different view. Most people have windows all looking out on one side only so that there is no cross ventilation.

It made me very glad to be living in this flat. there are always these little things that pull me up short and make me realise how very unusual this flat is really… enabling me to live my way of life much nicer  compared to most people and how nice this flat is. no wonder it has been my first and only flat that i bought and I am really glad i have no desire to move as moving is a lot of bother.

I know this is a very small thing to like a flat for. but many of these tiny things , the details of living in this flat, adds up to making living here so enjoyable.

i switched on the water tap and washed my dishes and realise how wonderful that i can have water to wash my dishes without having to be careful about using too much. london has no water shortage and my tariff is a fixed yearly tariff not related to any metered usage. i cannot put a meter in as the flats share a common water tank.

One of  of the things about not having a meter, it makes us not so obsessed with the amount of water used.You may not realise it but real luxury is to just use water like water. throw it around , waste it and play with it. people who live in desert areas view having lotsof water as a luxury beyond price.

it has its pros and cons, in that u cannot reduce your water bill , but the pros is that u dont have to obsess about saving water. and it is a real luxury to just use as much water as i like and to use water straight from the tap to wash dishes.

it keeps the dishes really clean. and i use cold water to wash my dishes, i dont bother to use warm water.  

I have been watching the tv programs about house hunting, especially abroad, and noticed how small the second bedroom is in those flats. and am reminded how fortunate i have a double 2nd bedroom and my main  bedroom is even bigger.

London has won the accolade as the most popular tourist city in the world for 2013; knocking paris off its pedestal. i like it too but not for the same reasons as the tourists. and that is the secret of london being so popular. it has its attractions for the tourists but also what is more important, it has different attractions for those who live and work here permanently. Many places are great to visit but not much fun to live there. London is one of those rare places where it is great to visit, and even greater to live there. And somehow even with all those visitors, i dont get any feeling that it is too many tourists.

london never feels like it is a tourist town catering to tourists only. even in soho, and central london you dont get this feeling that the places are tourists traps. that is places that only tourists go.

Wait, you must be thinking what about aberdeen or angus steak house. isn’t that where only tourists go? haha. you may well be right there. from the outside it looks like any restaurant catering to the locals. maybe i have been kidding myself and every eating place in the centre of london caters mainly to tourists. who knows right? but since they dont look like it, no place externally, from just the outward appearance ever looks like a tourist trap… we can all carry and keep with us our delusions. haha. 


take the musuems, they are all free to visitors and locals alike. so no feeling that they are tourist traps there. 

I think perhaps i am a bit naive to think that london is not a tourist trap. it might be the whole place is a tourist trap, geared and designed to entice tourists to the city. and that nothing is local; none catering only for the locals anymore. Perhaps this is true of every place in the world. no place is immune from tourists visiting it, at least those we know of, so they all change to cater to the tourists. Only the unknown or uninteresting towns remain untouched and have only local clientele. 

I read in the evening standard this afternoon, of a review of hockney’s exhibition of his Ipad drawings in annely juda, a commercial art gallery just off hanover square. it is these kinds of things that makes london rather nice to live in for us permanent residents. You can just walk in and see them , works of art of contemporary famous people like hockney; without any fuss or bother. this is a living artist as opposed to the dead ones u can see in the free musuems and public galleries. 

the review says the ipad drawings were flat and one dimensional. the pictures included in the article showed otherwise, but then it is a 2 dimensional medium so maybe the flatness of it is not obvious. i shall go and see it for myself and make up my own mind. 






cost of maintaining a flat in westminster, london

2 Apr



Strange, i wrote the post but it disappeared when i posted it.So here goes again.

this is for my own reference though it might interest those curious to know how much it actually costs to live in london in a 2bdroom flat on first floor in borough of westminster, london.

Council tax for westminster for 2014-2015 £676.74

Service charge for my block and estate. £1200 a year (I pay 4% of my block charges, 0.25% of the estate charges). We dont have lifts thank goodness. 

bbc tv license £145 a year. everyone pays this if they have a colour tv.

water bill £308 a year. we share a communal water tank, so cannot instal individual water meters.

Telephone £120 a year line rental £50 a year broadbandpackage, total £170. 

Total fixed costs £2499.74 or £208.25 a month.

Not bad really considering i am living in central london in a spacious flat.

I have not included electricity charges , food bill etc, as they are variable and under each person’s control. 

Added. For really a comprehensive cost analysis, i should add the 10 yrly requirement to repair/repaint the exterior of the block of flats and that comes to about £70 a month spread out over 10yrs; (£7000 which was the cost last time it was done 2yrs ago).

added.23.4.14 the reason that prompted this post is because this month, april, i was suddenly lumped with a huge bill for these costs. the half yearly water bill, the half yearly service charge bill, the first of the monthly direct debits for the council tax bill. it totaled about £800 for this month. i can see how such sudden jump in costs can derail a person’s budget and throw them into deep debt if they are not the kind of people who save. fortunately i always save so this did not cripple me. not for the first time i am glad i am frugal and save money even if at the time there dont seem any reason for it.instead of spending it because i thought i got lots of money i am glad i did not … now i reap the reward of my frugality.