Sunday, November 9, 2014
As you can probably tell from my recent posts, we've had a pretty rainy autumn. The garden is sodden, the skies almost perpetually gray. But this is England, after all, and I don't think this autumn has been rainier than usual.
When we moved into this flat, we heard from the previous resident that there were issues of "damp" around the back door. The management company had a contractor in at least twice to check out these issues. But no repairs ever seemed warranted and we never saw any signs of water intrusion.
I was cleaning the floor in the corner by the back windows, where we keep our avocado plant. I noticed black specks on the wall -- definitely mold. We have noticed a very damp feeling in the living room, particularly in the mornings right after we both shower, and we've seen condensation on the windows. But this was the first sign that dampness may be a problem.
So we began looking around the room for more spots. When we pulled the couch away from the wall, a gray/black patch of mold a couple of feet square was visible behind it -- a fairly scary looking patch, and I'm not very squeamish about these sorts of things. (Hey, I was in the Peace Corps.)
I took photos of the moldy spots and sent them to the management company, asking them to expedite their repairs. These managers are glacially slow about maintenance issues. Dave and I reported a separate list of problems when we first moved in -- everything from broken hinges on cabinets to a non-functioning range vent hood -- and they've sent at least two contractors to look at those problems and give estimates. Four months later, none of that work has been done.
Meanwhile, we pulled the couch a few more inches away from the wall, to increase ventilation, and we've decided to run the heat a bit more in an effort to keep the flat drier. (On the other hand, it will be warmer, which seems like it might help mold grow. I don't really know the best course of action there.) Mold can have health implications for some people -- we haven't experienced any problems but I do think this needs to be addressed, and pronto.
I keep imagining ways in which this will circle back to bite us -- they'll blame us for not notifying them earlier or not using heat to keep the flat drier. I keep telling Dave, "There goes our security deposit!" I'm also wondering what drastic renovation may be required to remedy the problem. But who knows. I always imagine the worst and so far, in our rental situations, reality has been better!
In other news, Olga and I had a long walk yesterday morning -- me photographing missing streets in Hampstead for Bleeding London, and Olga cavorting in the woods on Hampstead Heath. We walked through part of the heath where we've never been before, and it was great to see some new scenery -- and new squirrels!
Last night, Dave and I went to a new (for us) restaurant -- Theo Randall at the Intercontinental Hotel on Park Lane. This was a slightly belated birthday dinner for me, so Dave knuckled under to my penchant for Italian food. We enjoyed the meal, and the dining room was beautiful, but overall I agree with the axiom that Italian food doesn't have to be fancy to be good. We liked the wine, though!
(Top photo: Shopfronts on Finchley Road, yesterday morning.)