In London and without Daryl, I started feeling lonely and I thought that time had come to go on with my life. I booked a 4-day trip to Stockholm for the end of the month with my colleagues Carla and Paola, I started taking Japanese classes at the Thames Valley University with Caterina and on the weekends Tommaso and Ricky took me to G-A-Y, Heaven and Sound. In the same period I decided that I was financially ready to make my first step on the property ladder and I started looking for houses to buy in Middlesex.
The 25th of January 2002 I viewed twice a 2-bedroom end-of-terrace with garden and parking space in Hayes that I really liked. On the 26th of January, I was drinking a coffee with Carla and Paola in a café in the district of Gamla Stan in Stockholm, when I took the decision, I called the estate agent in England and I said: “I’ll buy it”. I had just made my first step on the London property market before some Swedish Mellanrost. Price: 124,000 British Pounds.
“Not bad for a coffee” I said. Then Paola, Carla and I walked in the snow back to the Mälardrottningen, the ship – hotel, where we were staying.
When I bought my new home, I did not know anything about the British property ladder and its chains. When one wants to buy a house, or a flat, whose owner is buying that of another owner, who is also doing the same and so on, everyone has to agree on a date for the exchange of the contracts and one for the completion of the sale. On the completion day, all the buyers can move to their new property. In March I realized that my chain was one of the longest ever and that I had to wait months before I could actually move to Hayes.
Spring came and I needed a man. The relationship with Daryl was over for months, he was somewhere in Asia between Hong Kong and Singapore and I started looking for someone new. This time, he had to be a hot Spaniard: after the cold winter, I needed someone passionate to warm me up.
“On the 18th of April 2002 I had a day off from work and I planned to meet Ernesto, a Spanish guy from Malaga, with whom I had chatted the week before. He was supposed to start working at his hotel in Liverpool Street at 5pm and hence we arranged to meet for lunch at 1pm, in front of Easy Everything in Tottenham Court Road.
I turned left from Oxford Street to Tottenham Court Road and walked along the overcrowded narrow pavement, when I saw a tall, good looking, tanned guy with black hair and a funky Hawaiian shirt. “Not really my type of clothes…” I thought, but I went for it. We had some pizza at a restaurant nearby and spoke Spanglish, as he had just moved to the United Kingdom and he did not know yet, the difference between hens and cocks.
After the funny talk, Ernesto went to work and I took the Piccadilly Line from Leicester Square to Hounslow Central. At 6pm, as soon as I got off the train, Carla called me on my mobile phone and she said that at 17:46 C.E.T, a small aircraft had hit the Pirelli Tower in Milan. Melissa, a colleague of ours, who was in front of the building in Piazza Duca D’Aosta at that time of the impact, was under shock. I called my parents and some friends who lived in the area, to make sure they were all fine. Once home, I turned on the BBC and followed the news. A Swiss registered Rockwell Commander 112, which was flying from Locarno to Milan, had apparently lost control and flew right into the building. Debris, documents, pieces of glasses, computers and office furniture had flown down from the 25th, 26th and 27th floors of the tower to the square facing Milan Central Station, injuring tens of people.
The first 2 weeks of May, Ernesto came to sleep at my place every night. He used to wake up at 5am every day, leave at 6am to go to work in Liverpool Street and return to my place in Hounslow in the evening. After those 2 weeks, I felt that I was not in love with him and my feelings for Daryl were most likely still there. On the 18th of May, Ernesto and I went to the Starbucks near the Cutty Sark in Greenwich and even before our relationship had really started, I broke it up and I broke up in tears. Ernesto who at first was angry with me, later understood and he started going out clubbing with Tommaso, Ricky and I and holding my shopping bags on a Saturday afternoon in Oxford Street.
After my Spanish parenthesis, I had a very short affair with a removal man on his thirty, who happened to have the same first name as my English ex. As the 14 buyers of my chain agreed to exchange contracts and complete on the 12th of August 2002, Daryl offered to help move my stuff with his van, from Hounslow to my new home in Hayes. A week after my move, I found out that Daryl was cheating on me with his ex and my Italian blood came out. I threw the removal man’s clothes out in the rain and I asked him to pick them up from my garden.
My new home needed urgently some upgrade. Within a few weeks, I tore off the brown wallpaper with blue-dolphin-springing-out-of-water theme in the living room and the yellow and violet wallpaper in the bedrooms and replaced it with white paint. The grey carpet left its place for a modern cherry wooden floor and the living room ancient sofa was replaced with two black leather sofas, four metal and black leather chairs and a metal and glass rectangular table, all made in Milan. I bought a 4-set cordless (one per room), a large flat screen TV, a DVD player, VHS player and home cinema in silver colour for the living room, a smaller TV with DVD player and VHS player for my bedroom, 2 double beds, 2 wardrobes and plenty of IKEA dishes and cutlery, with which I could have dressed a table for 40. The kitchen needed urgent renovation as well. The cupboards were falling apart, a leak below the sink was corroding the wood and some warms and insects were partying with some food rest. As I did not know where to start with piping and electricity, Edoardo, a colleague of mine, together with Abdul, an Egyptian friend of his, offered to renovate my kitchen with new pipes and tiles for 2,000 pounds. In September the two men took 2 weeks off from work, they removed the old kitchen and started laying new tiles.
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