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1 April 2015

in retrospect | why i want to live in greenwich

when i first moved to london i lived in an area of south london i'd never heard of, but that had the same name as the suburb in melbourne that i'd just left: camberwell. in melbourne, camberwell was an affluent area; yummy mummys, lifestyles of the rich and famous (my apartment block was owned by barry humphries - a.k.a dame edna! - and his brothers dave and chris), and only a couple of minutes on the tram into melbourne city - it was beautiful and leafy, and i'd assumed camberwell, london was it's namesake. well... i couldn't have been more wrong.

i was flatting with some undesirables, above a chicken shop, and on the high street connecting clapham and peckham, right in the centre of the 2012 riots; not a great time to be alive. thankfully, my room was only a sublet, and within a few months, i was on the move again. not knowing where to start looking, what areas of london were 'the nice ones' and also 'the quite ones' and also 'the ones that aren't to far away from work', i asked some londoners their ideal boroughs.

the results were mixed, but one name that did keep popping up was greenwich. at the time i was with my ex, and he was happy to look in greenwich too, as it was on his 'approved boroughs' list. the list which - if i'm honest, wasn't a bad list, but definitely hindered the flat hunt experience. so we looked at a few places in greenwich and its surrounds, and eventually ended up in a south east area that was... not too far from the action, but defnitely wasn't close enough for my liking, and i have regretted that move ever since. i have moved twice more since then, each time inching marginally closer to greenwich village, and i'm confident i'll get there eventually.

"there's not even a tube!" i hear you cry, and yeah, there isn't. but until this last move of mine, i've never lived on or near an underground line, i've always relied solely on national rail trains to get me where i'm going, and now that i'm in honor oak and have access to the london overground too, i do sometimes feel like i am spoiled for choice. but then there are those pesky weekends when the tracks are being upgraded, and  i am back to replacement busses, and i'm no more better off with the overground than i was without. so, could i go back to trains only? heck yes. because at the end of the day, home should be the place you relax, unwind and spend your down time, not the place that comes after work and before the gym and only for sleeps. the commute is part of the work day, not the home life. and that's important to remember.

plus, there's the dlr... (for the love of god, i'm kidding)

there are loads of reasons that greenwich appeals to me, and not least of all because of the excellent food and vintage markets that are hosted there every weekend (and weekdays in the summer). walking around the village on any given weekend, you're sure to be inundated with the scents and smells of fresh street food being prepared in stalls around the area, and that's before you even stop to consider the actual physical restaurants in the area too. from high street chain restaurants, to your family-run free houses, and everything in between, there's certainly something for everyone, and for any time of day. (there's a nandos, and a jamie's. end of)

as far as attractions goes, well... greenwich - again, has loads to offer. aside from the obvious tourism spots - the royal observatory, the national maritime museum and the cutty sark, there's still tons of other things happening in the area to keep my spare time full. there's a few local cinemas to choose from, as well as the amateur theatre productions that are regularly shown at the greenwich theatre to name a few. then there's the vintage and antique markets and shops that litter the streets, and as mentioned, all of the food. there's the record shops. the charity shops. the shops, in general. i mean, there's not only a high street, but there's small, indie shops to choose from too, which gives greenwich a really honest, village feel about it. 

and the park! oh my. that place in the summer is thriving with families looking to unwind away from the confines of their homes, and is so full of colour and life;  probably why it's somewhere that i like to hang out even in the winter, eh? with all these things considered, it's easy to see why it's an ideal place to live. it has all the elements of a vibrant and bustling town centre, but is also so vast in size, and so local to many other boroughs, that it's still quite the well kept secret.

there's new, shared-ownership developments going up in the area all the time, and i guess... it's now something to start to consider in the future. the longer i am here in the uk, the less i can see myself heading home one day. i don't want to rent a room in someone else's house forever, yet i'm quite sure i'll never be able to afford my own victorian townhouse on the king's road; with shared ownership schemes like those from l&q in greenwich giving first home owners a chance to get on to the property ladder easier than first thought (seriously, i had no idea just how easy it could be with schemes like theirs out there - in my mind, i'd need a £20k deposit before i even considered being able to afford to buy... information is power!), well... i've certainly got some new prospects to think over.

what are your thoughts on shared-ownership schemes; easy leg up, or still a bit wary?
(have a read into it before commenting...something to think about.)

*post written in collaboration with l&q, all thoughts are mine.*
l&q have platinum riverside, greenwich peninsula, greenwich square and enderby wharf all shared ownership, and launching this summer in greenwich.

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