Right. After the best part of two decades spent as an east end boy (everywhere in between Mile End and Clapton), I have decided to move south.
I've chosen SE4 for various reasons, which I'll bore you with some other time, but it was a close-run thing with Nunhead and Honor Oak Park. I don't want Brockley thinking it's *so* special...
That said, I am stupidly excited about the new perspective on living in London it will give me. For starters, I've never had to cross a bridge to get to work before, and cycling home has never involved slogging up hills, so few bike lanes and such murderous drivers.
But then I've never been so close to trendy cafes (plural), restaurants that Time Out have bothered to rate, and all that lovely open space. All this and a choice of train station, too.
Even before I up sticks – and there's plenty that could go wrong until I exchange – it feels like a rebirth.
Aside from a handful of trips to the area – for copious flat viewings (thanks for messing me about, KFH), and to spend my days off getting a feel for the neighbourhood – I know nothing about the people of Brockley, your customs or your quirks.
But I'm keen to learn, which is why I hope you'll step in and help. Before I'm handed the keys to my new place, I have started a snagging list. Respond at will – and thanks in advance, future neighbour. Don't be a stranger.
1. During rush hour, how bone-crushingly busy is the Brockley-to-Victoria train? Any chance of a seat, or is a case of kill to get inside the door?
2. Which pub does the best pint in Brockley?
3. Is there anywhere you can buy organic milk? (Oh, he's one of those...)
4. The Met's new crime maps – click here for SE4 – paint Brockley as a hotspot for lawlessness. What's the worst that could happen? (Do bear in mind that I have lived off Hackney's 'murder mile' for more than a decade.)
5. Who do I have to sleep with to get an allotment around here?