Tuesday, September 21, 2010

On London

Today it is officially two years since I moved to London. I'm most definitely at the stage of entanglement with the city where I've begun to take it for granted. I take it for granted that, on a whim, I can go to the Proms, or I can go and queue for Wimbledon tickets, or I can see tickets being released via twitter and, 90 minutes later, be at the National Theatre watching Earthquakes in London.

Given I use the tube approximately twelve times a year I haven't developed some crazed knowledge of the transport system, but I do know walking routes over pretty much all of central London and much of its South East pocket.

I have favourite cafes in Hackney and Deptford and Forest Hill. I know where there are great cocktails in Brixton, where to find a cheap fry-up in Streatham, where to go charity shopping in Richmond.

I know the names of the bridges across the Thames and how to pronounce Southwark.

Questions from tourists rarely stump me.

I could confidently tell you my favourite views in London (but then I would have to kill you).

I know where the train doors open at my local station. I'm skilled at getting on to seemingly full buses.

I have places with memories so ingrained that they speak of those moments just as strongly as those of my past do.

In the last few months I've become more aware that (excluding some not-entirely impossible turn of events) London for me isn't forever. Things like travelling and prices and fact that here I can't see myself being able to afford my own flat for some time have begun to grate. I'm making the mental lists of places I might go next (though selected by my ability to pop back with regularity). Again excluding some twist of fate or chance or whatever you might like to label it, I'd suggest that I'm going to be here for a good couple more years though. And in acknowledging that, and acknowledging that I must do everything I can do in London during that time, I think I'm in a better place than even I was when I first arrived here.

1 comment:

Meg said...

That's a great blog. I've never lived in London but I do love the feeling you get after a year or two when you realise that you actually LIVE somewhere; you've stopped feeling live a visitor.