Month: August 2008

New House

Hi all,

I’ve got a new house.  I moved in over the last two weekends – but didn’t want to tell anyone in case it turned out to be another scam.  But, now I live there – and can proudly announce that I am a permanent resident of Clapham Road.

Some vague details:  I now dwell in Oval – of The Oval fame.  Yep – I live within 5 minutes walk of London’s second most famous cricket ground.  If my precedent of living 5 minutes from the MCG in Melbourne holds true – I will never actually step foot in The Oval.  I live with one other guy – a polish chap who’s been living in London for 8 years.  My highly-refined gay-dar sets off whenever he’s around – but I haven’t asked him if he actually is gay or not… I guess I’ll find out one day, one way or the other.  I’ve got a rather good sized room – big enough for bed, couch, entire wall of closet-space (insert your own gay joke – because I ain’t doing it for you), and a desk which also stretches for an entire wall.  Bored yet?  I also have a jacuzzi.  And a massive kitchen – bigger than most London flats in their entirety.

Anybody who’s interested in more details, such as the actual address – send me an email.  I have too many enemies (and creepy admirers) to post my actual address in the open.  (You know who you are).

Not much other news.  I’m slowly taking steps towards getting a motorcycle licence.  I’ve got so far as getting the form for swapping my NZ licence for a UK one thus far.

I don’t have a proper landline available at my new place, so international phone calls might become even more of a rarity.  Hopefully I’ll be getting a microphone for my laptop soon – and will be able to talk to the technologically-equipped of you via Skype or MSN.

Scams & Viruses

The nice virus which infected this here webpage returned, it seems.  Or another, using the same loophole to get in.  I’ve deleted this one again – and will try to remember to check once a day.  Again – if you don’t have a decent anti-virus program installed, you’ve probably got several dozen viruses already, so what’s one more?  There’s no excuse to not having anti-virus in these days of free stuff.  Legal free stuff, even.  And – if your antivirus came up with a warning when you got to this page, let me know – and I’ll remove it as soon as possible.

Still looking for a place to live.  And have re-discovered the old saying – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.  Finally got excited about an advertised apartment, and sent an email to the guy.  Replied “blah blah, had lots of people stuff me around, I have to come from Liverpool to show it to you, blah blah, can you prove you have enough money, blah blah”.  Kind of odd seeing as it was pretty cheap, but it sort of made sense.  So, I was clever, and thought “Ha – screenshot of my internet banking balance page”, and even more clever, with “Ha – I’ll open up a blank notepad window – and position it over my bank account number, seeing as this sounds a little sus.”  Sent that off, and didn’t hear back for a while.  I figured that yes, it was a con, trying to get my bank a/c details – or – he’s happy, and is waiting to arrange for when he can come down to let me know.  Next day, I get another email from Terry.  I liked Terry because of his name.  As you’ve probably already guessed, it’s very unlikely that Terry is his name.  This time, Terry wrote me an email which re-iterated “I have to come down from Liverpool, I’ve been stuffed around before, I need proof of funds” etc.  Did say that what I’d done didn’t prove to him that I had the money.  Odd.  Quite a few grammatical errors, even for an accountant.  And a random comment at the end about contacting his lawyer.  Alarm bells are certainly going off now.  So, a little bit of searching on the internet (Google is NOT a verb, by the way).  Sure enough, my search for “Gumtree scam flat” returns some results.  I read a story by some chap who found a flat on Gumtree (UK’s most popular classifieds type website thing) with his mates.  Talked (on phone) to landlord – who wanted proof they could afford it.  Had been mucked around by people not turning up for viewings, you see.  Lives in Belgium, or Scotland, or somewhere, you see.  So – suggests that they put enough money for the deposit and a months rent into a Western Union transfer.  Not to the landlord, but to a friend, or relative.  Just so the landlord (nice old lady) knows it is available.  Take a photo of the Western Union receipt – and email her that.  Nobody can get the money except the person who put it in (with the receipt), or the person it’s made out to – and even them, only with a certain secret number.  And they need to have proof of identity, etc.  Now, I can’t exactly remember the details, but I believe the ‘landlord’ tricked them into giving ‘her’ the ‘secret number’.  Possibly it’s printed on the receipt?  And within one day, somebody turned up at a Western Union office with some forged ID documents, the appropriate number – and bang, 1800 pounds has gone.  A fool and his money.

 Anyway – I’m not a fool, well at least not in this kind of thing, and my money is intact.  And over the next couple of days, sure enough – I spot several more flats/apartments, all much cheaper than they should be.  Send a request for more info, and fairly quick responses.  “i have recently moved to a government job in france – and have to rent out my apartment but ive wasted lots of money flying over to show people the apartment – so would need proof that you can pay the cash”  from roonie.  “I own several apartments in the UK, and have had my time and money wasted by people who can’t afford them but want viewings, so give me all your cash…” etc etc. I briefly considered sending some e-vitriol, but decided against it.  Although – maybe I’ll save the email addresses for a rainy day.

Other than the scams, I’ve looked at two places.  Both very small – but do-able.  I’m currently re-considering the option of living with other people, and have made an appointment to look at a room in a house owned by a friend of Dom’s on Saturday.  A long way away from where I was looking, and with only the hated tube as a link to the rest of the world.  So – pretty much exactly the opposite of what I was looking for.  Walkable to work, or at a stretch – can catch an overground train, but definitely no tube.  Fail.  One bedroom flat.  Fail.  Central as possible.  Fail.  But – sounds like it’s got a garden, which is nice.  No swimming pool though, but we’ll see about that.  I was starting to look at slightly more expensive places in a big complex, which included a gym, sauna, and swimming pool.  So I’ve started to get used to the idea of having a swimming pool – and anybody who lets me into their house can expect some excavations soon after.

Drinking news.  last weekend was busy.  I had drinks with workmates on Thursday.  Highlight of that was the barman at the latino-themed bar noticing my Colombia wallet (No – I wasn’t deliberately flashing it around.  Really, I wasn’t.)  I gather he, and maybe his pretty latina colleague were Colombiano.  So, a conversation about that – them speaking in English, and me speaking Espanol, like a jerk.

Friday night – Laura’s 30th.  Chook’s flatmate Laura.  Bottles of champagne, and many beers.  Ended up with Laura hanging onto my arm, in order that she didn’t fall over.  Put her on a tube with Chook – and trusted that he’d be able to support her the rest of the way.  Maybe not a good thing, as he seemed keen on at least one more beer.  Still – can be fairly difficult to find a beer after 12 in this ridiculous town.

Saturday night – Alex’s 30th.  Nick’s (Little Nick) girlfriend Alex.  Beers, then cocktails, then goldfish bowls of cocktails.  Eventually managed to leave there, several hours after I intended.  Was tired when I got there, and waves of tiredness rolled throughout the night.  Seemed to coincide with the bowls of cocktails, actually.

And that’s it.