I was in London over the weekend for just 24 hours and I think I’m finally ready to talk about some of the stuff I do miss about the auld town. I wrote quite a long time back on the Things I Don’t Miss About London. And, to be honest, I don’t spend a lot of time pining over the place.
Now, there’s no point in me talking about gherkins, bridges, royal palaces or the London Eye. You can read about all that stuff at my old stomping ground www.visitlondon.com. I’m talking about the real, nitty gritty things you miss about a place you lived in for several years. The stuff that gets under your skin (or under your fingernails and up your nose, if we’re talking about Tube-grime). So anyway, without further ado, here’s
What I miss about London:
The energy – there’s an undeniable buzz to London, that’s somehow enhanced by
The grittiness – the sand in the oyster? I don’t know. There’s something romantic about a bit of grubbiness and peeling around the edges, something “real”. Or is that just me? Particularly on
The houses – streets and streets and miles and miles of terraced homes. Some are immaculate. Most aren’t. Oh the humanity, and
People – people everywhere. You’re never really alone in London. It can be claustrophobic. It can feel safe and comforting. And fun. Also
Conversations – I forget about the vicarious thrill of overhearing conversations. Even the inane ones as some geezer quizzes a shop owner on the merits of a certain firework. “So how long does it larst?” “Fifteen seconds eh? Not vewy long then… Wot about this one?” I think I just enjoyed being able to understand the language. You also get good chat at
The pub – London pubs are so great. They can be like a big loungeroom full of all your mates. Because everyone has small houses or flats, these are the meeting spots, the melting pots. There’s nothing quite like it in Zurich. Or Sydney for that matter.
Uber – wow – what a revelation. Cheap(ish) cab rides got even cheaper and easier. Can I miss something that didn’t exist when I lived there? Also falls into the category of
Cheap shit – London is cheap compared to Zurich. Believe it. Food, toiletries, taxis (see above), clothes, the list goes on.
North London – in all its ridiculous so-crappy-but-everyone-thinks-it’s-great glory. Some bits are lovely, some bits are astoundingly nasty. But… kid-friendly shops, cute cafes, pubs, restaurants, parks and streets full of families and Hot Young Things and gangstas and dogs and bikes all just muddling along with such diversity but somehow a cohesive community and it works. Or doesn’t. I don’t really know how to explain it.
Anything, Anywhere, Anytime – The Goodies‘ motto works well for London. Once Himself said he liked Joaquin Phoenix because he “looks like you could take him to bed and he’d do whatever you wanted”. London is the Joquin Phoenix of cities: ugly-beautiful and up for it. Which brings me nicely to my final point 😉
My friends – nuff said.
PS: Just realised I also wrote a preemptive post about What I’ll Miss as one of my earliest entries! I see Cheap Stuff and My Friends make both lists, ha ha.