So, I’m doing well in London. And yes I have scored a pretty decent job. But that’s not what is making my time here a comfort and a joy.

That’s my home.

I’m living in a three storey place in Ladbroke Grove. The area is synonymous with Notting Hill, mentioned in a Pulp song and is where the Clash and Blur cut their teeth. Nick Lowe wrote a song about Basing Street. Notting Hill the movie was of course set here. Most excitingly, one of my favourite Blur songs, Best Days, mentions Trellick Towers. Those strange looking apartment blocks look down at me as I leave the house every day.

(Also, Trellick Towers was designed by the Belgian architect Goldfinger, a man who would offend Ian Flemming so much that he would name one of his greatest villains after him.)

I love the people I live with and I’m quickly trying to capture something about them before things change.

What I have come up with is the Balfour House Date. It sums all four of us up.

The BHD starts with me. I’m the chatterbox. The ice breaker. I would get a couple of drinks, ask how you are, be genuinely interested in who you are, what’s going on, and all that. I’ll make you comfortable and relaxed.

Next is Isabelle. She’s the more arty, fun and passionate one of the house. She’s an architect, and she would switch to the wine or the scotch as the atmosphere winds down. You would stumble out of the bar with Isabelle, tipsy, happy, talking about meaningful things in funny ways.

Then comes Nathan. Nathan will have sex with you. He’s tall, well built, and a doctor (a research scientist). He’s a good looking man, and a fantastic person, funny and yet has a great curiosity about the world. He also plays guitar. He would take you home, sing you a song, then take you to bed.

Finally there’s Jodie. She will marry you and take care of you forever. The steady head and shoulders when we need it, she is organised, smart, caring and motherly. She will make a great mother. She cleans when she’s restless. She’s a great cook and cooks often. She gives me dry cleaning advice and worries that I still haven’t put a new light bulb in my room for about 2 months (I have a lamp). She’s the last part of the Balfour House date, and the best part.

And she’s the one who is leaving us next week. It’s very sad, but I wont dwell on that. Plenty of time to do that. This week we have been interviewing potential housemates and it’s been a drag. Only one person seemed to fit in with us.

It has pulled the rest of us closer together. Isabelle and I wet through people today, and I just felt like we both loved this place, and we were going to protect it from the spoilt, the daysleepers, the non English speakers and the plain unsettling.

Nathan has been here the longest. Four years or so. He’s sad about Jodie too, but he has a perspective I don’t. People leave all the time. He’s lived with all kinds. Strange feeling, that. But at least it looks like Nathan and I will be pretty stable parts of this house for the coming years.

Home is a time and place. I’ve said it before. Jodie reckons she’s put off her real life long enough. But her last couple of years, her real life has been travelling, and London. As is mine. And nothing stays settled for long these days.


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