Saturday, September 12, 2009

Studio Flat discovered

Have finally found a wonderful little place in Willesden Green. It is a small studio, with a dug up private back yard under huge, huge trees filtering speckled shafts of light.
It has a double bed, sofa, tiny kitchen space, little bathroom and a cute table and chairs set at the end of the double bed looking onto the backyard. I couldn’t wait to move in. After being dropped off at the station after the viewing I doubled back and walked down the main street to where the flat was, only to discover that the place I had rented was very close to an Islamic College!

It appeared to be a former church and I decided to inquire inside, as it did not seem possible for it to hold more than a few evening classes. A narrow entryway led on a small welcoming room with a large reception counter. I noticed the expensive graphics and the authorisation from Middlesex University. This was clearly more than a little operation. The sister at reception was kind enough to show me around, down winding hallways with more and more classrooms, a tiny outdoor area to play table tennis, and a small musallah. A library full of volumes loomed briefly through a doorway with a firmly set Anglo woman in traditional and austere hijab. She smiled briefly before returning to her records. Apparently they have up to 200 students studying for their ‘A’ grades – a category I am not yet familiar with, as well as Bachelor’s and Masters of Arts in Islamic Studies. Some of the terminology however was unfamiliar – what was a Hawza? – and the style of hijab gave an indication that this was a Shia institution – confirmed in its subject offerings. The College also offers Arabic short term courses in the evenings – certainly going 'next door' would present little concerns regarding travel!
I also discovered the following safety features of my new residence – a doctor’s surgery two door away, a police station directly opposite, and a small supermarket (amongst numerous little 24 hour fruit/supermarkets) further down called Noor al Houda! A Muslim never ceases to be amazed at the ‘coincidences’ that Allah s.w.t. throws up in their lives, and certainly I’m thankful – Alhamdu lillah!
My taxi driver the next day who helped me get my bundle of large bags to the new house was a Bangladeshi who chatted at length about the state of the Muslim world. He also espoused speakers he admired – particularly a prominent Hindu convert – who run their own Sky (?)TV program avidly watched by British Muslims. Apparently many of the Hindus who watch this program convert to Islam.
As I waited for the agent to arrive and organise the lease, a line marking truck pulled up in front of me. The two lane street was already crowded with buses, overtaking cars and bicycling people, until this truck appeared taking up another half of a lane for the traffic to weave around. I waited with bated breath for an accident.
Two brave men eventually hopped out and proceeded to walk down the road two abreast without any form of traffic diversion while the traffic continued to weave around them. Ultimately the traffic simply could not get around them and the parked cars and was completely stalled until they stood aside temporarily. Is there any form of Occupational Health and Safety here?? I’ll have to learn to turn down my internal alarms systems, especially as the papers today record that up to 80% of public schools are being forced to use totally unqualified ‘supervisors’ to run classes in schools, sometimes for weeks at a time! Well, if I was worried about coming up to scratch in this new system, I should at least be better than the reported ‘supervisors’ such as retired bus drivers! Then again....
Finally, another interesting new system. I was handed a small USB type key and told that this would need to be regularly ‘loaded’ in order to keep the power running. I was shown how to push it into the power meter, read the amount that was still available, and the local shop that ‘uploads’ money onto the key. Certainly an interesting way of monitoring expenditure on power, which apparently can be as much as 4 pounds a day – even for a little flat!

1 comment:

Marryam said...

Great to hear you are having a good time, your blog is very interesting reading! how long are you in london for?

please send me and munmun's and my family's salams and lots of love to noor and saima if you see them!!