Before you travel to a new country you probably will hear a lot of things in advance: about the weather, the transport system, the language, the currency, or the myths and legends about how people are and the nuances of their culture. There are things however, you will never find out until you get there!
One of the most surprising things about London, perhaps the entire UK, is a black mold, a fungus so pervasive that nothing can escape it. It terrifies me because in my three decades of life I have not seen any life form so aggressive and resilient, besides Homo sapiens and cyanobacteria. I swear it! For the Brits it makes already part of their daily lives and their natural landscape, so they don't make a big deal of it, rarely mention it and seem to be pretty oblivious to its existence, but it is nonetheless one nasty fungus.
At the beginning of the autumn, when it was getting cold, I decided to wear one of my winter jackets for the first time in that season to go to the shop one Saturday morning, when I take a look at the jacket it had been completely colonized by the m****f***ing fungus. How disgusting, NAAASTY!
I had never experienced anything like it.
This fungus grows everywhere, it lives within a rubber that is used to seal tile corners in the shower and sinks, it grows within the fibers of the curtain shower, it grows within every wall where it probably feeds from the paint, it grows in pretty much every surface of any material you find in a house. It has completely invaded my flat-mate's shaving razor and she does not seem to realize it at all. I have seen this fungus in the lid of plastic lunch boxes from some people at work. It invades your clothing hanging in the closet if you leave it unattended for just a few weeks. It grew on the plastic lenses of a pair of 3D glasses I forgot in a drawer. The nasty fungus also thrives in the cold rooms of our laboratory and probably every laboratory in the UK, so it clearly loves the low temperatures and high humidity. Every so often, it needs to be bleached, but that will not stop it from invading once again! Nothing can escape this fungus of doom.
I must say that during the five years that I lived in Sweden, I never experienced a fungus like that in my apartment... not even during summer time. Neither in my hometown in Montería nor Bogotá I saw a mold so nasty, and that is the tropics! In Paris, I never had to worry about anything like this and the building where I first lived was probably a couple of hundred years old.
I have asked people around and I have seen other apartments and I'm sure this is not an isolated problem of my house, but a quite common occurrence.
I think this has to do perhaps with the fact that the UK is an island, so the humidity in general is very high and the temperature rarely goes below freezing, at least in the south. Who knows.