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The Horror of the London House Hunt

02/12/2014 11:05 GMT | Updated 31/01/2015 10:59 GMT

"And this", says my smiley estate agent friend, "is a little love nest. So cosy."

He has just pulled back a curtain to reveal a bed shoved in an alcove the same width and length as it. We're standing in the kitchen.

"Riiight," I say, questioning the grinning man's sanity, "so if that's the second 'bedroom'" (it's hard not to make air quotes), "where's the third?"

He points contentedly to the adjoining living room and then slowly as though he's unveiling some profound world truth utters "sofa bed."

I can't tell if he believes that presenting what would generously be described as a one bedroom flat and realistically is an underground dungeon as a luxury three bedroom maisonette for a cool £600 a week is OK or if he's just a fantastic actor. I haven't the courage to challenge him in order to find out so I enthusiastically return his insane grin whilst my soul is brutally crushed by a wave of despair:

Flat hunting in London is nothing but horrible.

A work friend offers me a room in the flat that she's just bought. This is exciting for all of thirty seconds:

"Great! Where is it?"

"Anerley??!"

"No, sorry, I've 100% never heard of that in my life."

"Below Crystal Palace? I didn't know there was anything below Crystal Palace..."

Facebook leads to another more hopeful home with an old school friend, actually in London. This is until I remember that said friend, who is apparently more of a Lothario now than in our school days, recently had a Tinder tryst with my best friend from university; an unwelcome collision of social circles and sexual anatomy.

And so commences the ritual of two women trying to express themselves without even vaguely saying what they actually mean; this normally entails a conversation based solely on aggressively passive - rather than passively aggressive - 'I don't minds'.

Me: "I don't mind not living there at all if you'd rather I didn't."

Friend: "I don't mind if you live there. It's totally your choice!"

Me: "Yes", I say, whilst secretly thinking "that's all very well but the question is will you secretly hate me and venomously hiss the tale of my betrayal to all our mutual friends!?"

Eventually the 'I don't minds' come to an end and we move on to pondering whether the guy may construe my moving in with him as an extreme form of stalking on the part of my friend. We decide that Lothario or not, he's not that arrogant.

Just when it seems tinder has not wreaked total havoc on all our lives after all, everything falls apart anyway.

I briefly entertain living at my parents in Norfolk and commuting; a yearly train pass is about the same as rent. Then I go and spend a weekend at home and somewhere in between my mum explaining the gossip from the latest WI meeting and my dad taking me on a tour of his recent eBay antiques purchases I think better of it.

Finally my friend Polly offers me a room in a house she's found in Peckham. All seems great. It even has a garden. I'm already barbequing and hosting garden parties in my head. Long-term London dwelling friends, more in the know than me, express such swathes of enthusiasm about me moving to Peckham I can only assume 'Only Fools and Horses' has had some sort of revival. They assure me it is the place to be, which is just as well because it certainly isn't the place to get to. Polly, however, says the lack of tube is not a problem; I will buy a bike and save hundreds of pounds as well as the environment by cycling everywhere.

Anyway I have a home. I'm to be a trendy Peckham-dwelling cyclist and in the spirit of such, I've even bought a rucksack.

Then it turns out that I'm not eligible for a career development loan. I have spent too much time abroad apparently. In an assessment of my career potential I never thought my months in Brussels working in the European Commission would count against me.

And now even the fictional birthplace of Del Boy is beyond my means.

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