So I wrote about the first few weeks I spent in London. On the whole I was still not terribly impressed by London.
Now that I’ve finished my stint in the Big City, I’ve had the chance to put my rose-tinted spectacles on and reflect on my time there. I first thought about the following points that might sway my opinions in an overly positive way (to try and be more balanced):
I was staying in 4-star hotels with room service, breakfast in bed, Sky television, gym facilities and king-size beds.
I was living on expenses and I’m not exactly poor. This meant that I could eat in fancy restaurants every night, drink in fancy pubs, wine bars and cocktail bars and never think about the cost.
My cousin has lived in London for about 15 years. He knows where all the best places to eat are (see point 2), where all the most interesting things to do are, and how to show a northerner a good time.
Living up north, things like the tube aren’t a mode of transport. They’re an adventure!
Initially I thought about the pollution, the worker ants that walk at top pace around the street without looking where they’re going, the underlying tension that most people seem under and the distinct lack of hills and greenery. But as time went on I started to feel the pulse of the place, the purpose that people have, the character, the buzz. To cut a long story short, I got hooked on London.
So much so that while I still wouldn’t entertain living there (until I find myself in the Times rich list I don’t think I’ll be able to afford the kind of house I would like), I know I’ll work there again. It seems the sort of place that you can really enjoy if you can afford the lifestyle, which suits me just fine. I’ve known for some time that generalisations about southerners are unfounded, so I have no prejudices about the people there either.
Well, that’s it. Turns out I think London’s great and I’d go back in a heartbeat. Nobody is more surprised than I am.