Welcome to London's high life
The flats nightmares are made of
As a 22-year-old, fresh out of university, I traveled to the other side of the world - London.
After sharing a bed for two weeks with my younger sister in a dank pub (she had a live-in position at a pub full of "lock-ins", where they would close the pub and lock themselves inside until they drank the bar dry or passed out - whichever came first), I decided to move out into my own flat.
I trawled through hundreds of flats on Gumtree and eventually found a suitable one in Acton (I know, typical Kiwi heading to where other Kiwis were living!).
When I arrived, the place didn't seem too bad. My room was small but sufficient. Three other bedrooms, five flatmates. Decent outdoor area.
When I arrived, the head tenant asked if I "got on it much".
I assumed he meant drinking, and replied in the affirmative; after all, I enjoyed a drink every now and then. The bond and first month's rent was handed over, and I moved in on a Friday night.
I went into the lounge to hang out with my new flatmates, only to find they were racking up lines of ketamine on the coffee table and using £20 notes to snort it.
I was offered a line - no thanks! What a welcome to the flat.
Turns out the head tenant was a dealer. Ketamine, cocaine, ecstasy, party pills - you name it, he sold it.
My flatmates would regularly snort lines of coke before going out, drank until oblivion while popping party pills, then would come home and take some "Special K" (aka ketamine) to come down from their high so they could sleep.
We also ended up having dossers sleeping in bunk beds in the lounge and dining room for an extra £5 a night per person. This helped pay the bills, but made the house a bit too crowded.
There were 12 of us in a four-bedroom terraced house. We eventually hired a cleaner - £2 each a week and the lounge, kitchen and bathrooms were cleaned on a Monday (after the usual all-night parties on the weekend).
I lasted six months in that flat before moving out.
I didn't touch any hard drugs while I was living there (it was regularly offered though) and mostly enjoyed my time. Much better once I had moved out into a nicer place though.
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