Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Historical Post: Parting is such...etc (5 May 1998)

Our first house, a rental in London. When I read this again, it's interesting that some of what I originally thought were positives -- a playground full of kids across the street -- became more negative with time.

From: Eamonn Sullivan

To: diary entries

Subject: parting is such ... etc.

Parting from Theresa the second time was a lot harder than the first. This time, I was staying at the airport and she was flying off, back to the US. And this time it was the beginning of a seven-week separation, not just a few days. Yesterday, the day I saw Theresa off at the airport, was the blackest day yet.

The weekend that Theresa spent here, however, was productive. We found a place to live, finally, in Ruislip (pronounced RICE-lip), in the London borough of Hillingdon, which is in the northwest of London. It's a three-bedroom house, on a corner, so it's only attached to its neighbor on one side. It has a fairly large (by English standards) enclosed garden and a garage. Downstairs, there's a large living room-dining room combination and kitchen. The kitchen includes a washer and dryer. Upstairs, there are three bedrooms and a bathroom. Two of the bedrooms are large (again, by English standards) and each includes a large wardrobe. The third is smaller, but still probably big enough for the two boys. There's even a second bathroom, but it's outside, in an outhouse in the backyard.

The house is across a quiet street from a field, with a creek and a playground. Within 15 minutes walk (or a two minute, double-decker bus ride) of the house, there are four Tube (London Subway) stations, leading to three different Tube lines. If one, or even two fail for some reason, I can use a different line. There's even a British Rail station within a 10 minute walk, which also leads into central London, in case the Tube is shut down entirely by a strike a something. Also within walking distance are three schools, a Catholic church and dozens of shops.

The only drawback is that it's a long way to work -- a solid hour on the Tube. That's about what I spent commuting to work in Massachusetts, however, so I'm used to it. This commute will probably be a bit better. Instead of staring at the brake lights in front of me, I'll be able to use the time a bit more productively. And, since I'm near the terminus of all of the Tube lines, I'll almost always get a seat.

The Ruislip house was one of several we looked at last Friday. At the end, it was down to two: The other one was a house in New Malden, which is a suburb of London in Surrey county. The New Malden house wasn't near the Tube (my only choice would be British Rail) and it seemed to have less activities around for the kids.

On Saturday, Theresa and I spent several hours walking around Ruislip. One of the most encouraging signs was the 30 or so children, of all ages, playing in the field and playground across the street from the house. By the end of the day, we had pretty much decided, but we still went to the neighborhood church on Sunday evening, just to be sure.

I have to go to bed and I haven't even gotten to Black Monday yet. I'll write again tomorrow.