Monday, 1 October 2012

Thirteen things I won't miss about London

Since it's been a while since I last blogged, I thought it was time for an update.

And no surprises; Eliz is on the move again.  Not to altitude again, but back home to the Emerald Isle to get this book done and dusted at last.

I was having a little think yesterday about some of the things that I dislike about London, and in the interest of readability (and to prevent too much moaning), I've summarised them into 13 things that I won't miss about the city (I tried to keep it to a nice round 10, but just couldn't):

13. Police sirens.  Not a day goes by that I don't meet an emergency vehicle of some description when going to or from work.  One day I met 7 police cars in a journey that is no more than 4 miles.

12.  People thinking I'm strange for refusing a plastic bag when buying a single pint of mile from the corner shop less than 100m from my house.  Or maybe that's just me getting used to the idea that I'll soon have to pay for plastic bags again back home.

11. Feeling like I'm the only white person living in my postcode.

10. Noticing that I'm the only white person living in my postcode.

9. Having a postcode.  I've had 4 postcodes (2 work ones; 2 house ones) in the 16 months that I've lived here, and it's not convincing trying to remember the right one when providing information to prove my identity.

8. Dangerous drivers doing u-turns in front of me at every available opportunity, or pulling halfway across the road knowing that the traffic will just have to stop.  Oh and drivers inability to pull over/get out of the way when an emergency vehicle is coming through.  It's not like they don't get enough practise.

7. Other cyclists cycling through red lights, especially those that do it to get in front of me, and then cycle at two miles an hour so that I have to keep passing them.

6. Pedestrians who don't look when they are crossing the road.

5. The constant smell of weed.

4. The constant smell of wee.  Well poo to be more precise!  Did you know that they Jubilee Greenway is built on a massive sewer?

3. Getting caught up in the rat race every time I make a tube journey, and becoming irate every time somebody blocks my way on the escalator, like as if getting through life is one big race.
2. The constant fear of becoming the person that London has the potential to turn me into.

1. Feeling like I'm coming across as ungrateful because I'm not in love with the place; almost like I'm denying someone else the great opportunity to live in this wonderful city just by me being here.

I guess it hasn't been all bad though.  There are a few things that I will miss...


...let me see...

...Hold on a second...

...I'm thinking...

...Well there is the...

...Well, no... not that either...

...Wait now, I've got it...

...There was the Olympics!  Wow, what a few weeks that was!

Of course, how could I forget the Olympics.  One of the reasons I came here in the first place.  After being in or near a number of Olympic stadiums during my travels, it was great to actually be in one where there was some actual Olympics going on.  And what a night to get my first taste of action - Saturday 4th August. PM. Forever to be known by the Brits as Super Saturday.  Three gold medals for the hosts in the space of just over half an hour.  What an atmosphere that was.  Some days I feel that I am very privileged.  And that was very definitely one of those days.  Surprisingly, the Brits become way more tolerable when they're winning stuff. 

And of course there were two gold medals for the Irish, and two renditions of Aramhan na Fhian, in the same night in the Olympic Stadium during the Paralympics.  I was there that night too.

And there was Beth Tweddle, the greatest British Gymnasts never to win Olympic Gold, finally win an Olympic medal.  I was there for that too.

And there was Dean Miller, someone who I've seen grow from boy to man, and endure some heartbreak along the way (well metatarsal break to be more precise), run his first Paralympic race and give winning a medal a very gallant attempt.  I was there for that too.  And I was just nine rows back from the starting line.

I guess I was pretty lucky to be there at all.  To see that many races and events, I was privileged.

And of course, a green stadium.  You can't beat that!

All this talk of green; it's making me sound like I'm terrible homesick.  I'm not.  But I do know when it's time to move on.  And I do know London's not for me.  And so Ireland, here I come.  And book, well time to get you finished once and for all!