I'm a live-in guardian, which means that I live in (temporarily) vacant buildings to stop squatters from moving in. When I moved into my place in Holborn, The Bedford Estates had just done the place up completely and they needed me to look after it for a couple of months until a law firm would move in.
My new place is a former hostel for the homeless. It doesn't smell of fresh paint, but it's got wooden floors rather than a carpet, which is good because I can be a clumsy bugger and it means Freddie can bring his bikes in.
I'd say the difference in neighbourhood is much more dramatic than the difference in living space. You'd think that with a mall like Westfield's nearby and a Tesco Express instead of a real cornershop, Shepherd's Bush would feel pretty much the same as the rest of London.
Think twice. At my local Tesco's, the security guy always asks me "you alright?", and when he saw me buy a bottle of wine the other day, he remarked: "Are you sure one is enough?"
I was browsing their selection of cereals this morning, when a young lad walked past. Like a right Johnny Bravo, he twisted his neck, rewinded a couple of steps, and said something along the lines of "Whoa, look at you! How are you?"
"Embarrassed," is what I should have said, but instead I muttered "not too bad, yourself?" whilst pretending to read the list of ingredients on a box of shredded wheat. My cheeks hadn't fully recovered from blushing when a young man stopped next to me, told me I had beautiful hair and somehow managed to touch my leg with his hand while doing so.
Like a bullied puppy, I let my "beautiful" hair hide my face and tried to make my way to self-checkout. But before I'd even reached the queue, the security guy caught my eye, nodded at my cereal box and asked: "no wine today?"
What were they all thinking? "Just popping to Tesco to pick up some milk. Do I need anything else? Oh, might as well pick up a girl while I'm there."
Only in Bush...