If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me by e-mail or through Whatsapp. Note that I'm in timezone GMT-04, meaning it's 5 hours earlier where I am. If something urgent comes up and you cannot reach me, you can contact the upstairs neighbors, Miguel (+44 7492 937145) and Francisco (+44 7492 92327).
Security & safety
Your key ring should have two keys. One is for the front door, the other for the apartment door. For your safety and that of your belongings, please make sure to lock the front door behind you by turning the key, every time you enter or leave the house. If you do not, anyone can enter from the street.
Note that the apartment door locks when you close it, so don't leave without taking the keys with you. The windows in the living room and bedroom open with a small key. Please close and lock the windows when you're not in.
Call 9-9-9 in case of a life threatening emergency. There are smoke detectors throughout the apartment. In case of fire, use the fire extinguisher by the trash can, around the corner of the kitchen, or the extinguisher in the hallway just outside the apartment door. There's also a fire blanket right by the stove.
The WiFi network is called be my guest. The password is #fixmysink# (including the pound signs). If the connection is down, you can reset the router by simply plugging out the adapter from the electricity socket, waiting 30 seconds, and plugging it back in. To check if the network is down, click here.
You'll find shower gel and shampoo in the shower and toothpaste by the bathroom mirror. Please keep the sink and shower drain free of hair and dust; both drains clog very easily. If you find that water is building up in the shower, please use the Mr Muscle Max Gel Unblocker or Draino to unblock the drain, following the instructions on the back. Whatever you do, make sure the shower does not flood over. Even a little water can cause massive damage to the dental surgery directly below the bathroom. (Trust me, it has happened before and it is a disaster.)
Kitchen & living area
Feel free to use the kitchen stove, water cooker, oven, and other appliances. Please help yourself to any coffee, tea or condiments you find in the cupboard and fridge. The washer/dryer is yours to use as well. I've left the instruction manual in the kitchen cupboard over the sink. Just buy the laundry detergent of your choice, and it's ready to go.
If you want to play music you can simply connect your phone, laptop or other device to the amplifier, directly through the (round) volume control unit, using the socket labeled line in. If you want to play any of my records, that's also OK as long as you handle them with care. To switch the sound source to the record player, simply remove the cable from the line in socket. Turning the volume control clockwise (to the right) will turn the sound on, as indicated by a blue light, turning it counterclockwise (left) turns it off again. Please make sure you turn the amplifier off when you stop using it.
There's a vacuum cleaner in the living room, trash bags in the set of drawers in the kitchen (on your left), and other cleaning supplies in the kitchen cabinets.
I've cleared the middle and right-most cabinets for your use. (My own clothing is stored in the left-most cabinet.) There's an ironing board and steam iron in the middle closet. You'll also find a hair dryer by the bed.
Please throw out any perishables from the fridge and cabinets. Contact the upstairs neighbors to drop off your keys. In case they're out, just lock the front door behind you as you leave, and push the keys through the letterbox.
With these boring practicalities out of the way, let's turn to the neighborhood.
For groceries, you can go to the small Tesco right across the street from the apartment, the larger one down the street by the Bethnal Green underground station, or to one of the many Sainsbury's in the area (one is right by the station).
You'll also find plenty of cheap but decent vendors in case you forgot to bring something, as well as for food from all corners of the world.
There's a coffee shop right across the street, and a couple of others just down the street. Jonestown is especially hip and happening, and a little more spacious than the others.
On weekdays, there's a market for basic groceries and goods on Bethnal Green Road. More excitingly, on Sundays, people from all over the city flock to Brick Lane market for vintage outfits, records, live music, world cuisine, and for my favorite: people watching. There's also a beautiful flower market just around the corner on Columbia Road.
The Old George pub and Star of Bethnal Green are good places for drinks, pub food and a dance, as well as for weekly pub quizes, I believe, if those strike your fancy. The famous XOYO nightclub and other dance venues are close by in the Old Street area and in Angel.
My favorite park in the area is Victoria Park, by Regent's channel, which itself makes for a great walk or running trail. Closer by, there's a patch of green right behind Bethnal Green Road, to the south, called Weavers field.
Art and cinema
Some of my favorite cinemas in the area are Genesis, Institute of Light and Rich Mix. They're all cheap, and serve food as well. Whitechapel gallery is one of the leading galleries for avant-garde art. Most exhibitions are free for the public (as is true for all major museums in London, like the Tate and British Museum). Smaller galleries closer by are Calvert 22, the Brick Lane Gallery, and the rich collection of street art you'll find walking around Brick Lane.
It's impossible to miss the bus stop right by the door; it's called Barnet Grove. The 8 and 388 will take you into Central London (Westbound). Cross the street to go East. Other convenient modes of transportation are the underground (tube) and overground. For underground central service, walk to Bethnal Green Station. For the District and Hammersmith & City line, your nearest station is Whitechapel. For overground service, head to Shoreditch High Street (just past Brick Lane).
You're free to use my bicycle. If you do, please take care to properly lock it with both locks, and never leave the bike unattended overnight. London's a big city; it will be stolen. In case you need it, Brick Lanes Bikes is just around the corner.
You can also use the Santander bikes. There's a station a minute walk from the apartment to the west, and one a few minutes walk to east.