My husband loves London. There was a time when, had he been given an offer to continue the temporary job he was doing at the time, he would not come back to Newcastle to finish his degree. But he didn’t get the offer. So he came back to this small city in the North East of England, missing his ‘lover’ which is three hours train journey away ever since.
London was never my favourite city (not because I’m jealous of her). Every time I visited, it happened to be always in autumn. I remember it very well because there were red poppies all over the city. They were the only warmth in my eyes, in that big dark city. Autumn is not the best season for visiting London. All of the descriptions of “crisp and tangy” autumn does not apply to London. It’s wet and cold, grey and indifferent.
This gloomy autumn air does not affect my husband. As long as there are massive cranes along the river and muddy construction sites with fences all over the place, he’s happy. I hate walking in Oxford Street (and all the other streets) not being able to go on in a straight line holding hands with my husband for 5 seconds, because too many people would just walk straight into you either with their eyes fixed on their phones or turning their heads around looking at this big beautiful new world. E.g. my husband kept walking into puddles with his head 45 degree up to the skyscrapers, splashing me with muddy water.
There are two groups of people in London: Londoners and visitors. Londoners do not make eye contact with me. They have their important business in mind. The visitors always look lost in their eyes and always in Londoners’ way. Why can’t they work out the tube lines? It’s simple enough! Stop staring at the pathetic maps in the middle of the streets! But I see friendly, excited, shy smiles in visitors eyes.
However, London is a great place for artists. If I ever live in London, I probably will become an artist as well pretty quickly. Because apart from museums, galleries and bookshops, there are not many places I can afford to go to. The whole unhappy experience reached a climax when we walked into a tatty small street lined with junk shops and a fruit and veg market in the middle of it. It was grey and wet as ever, made the street looked more unpleasant. I stepped into the first fabric shop on my left, feeling slightly happier seeing all the suede and leather. I almost forgot about the greyness outside when I saw a shelf of lovely lace. Not as beautiful as I would like them to be, but pretty enough. Then the owner said, two eighty six.
For me, two eighty six means £2.86 when I shop in Newcastle. But wake up it can’t be that, you’re in London! But I didn’t imagine he seriously meant £286, per metre. But he did, with an annoying grin, which to me means, ‘so what are you going to do now this young lady who has never seen lace before?’
That was the end. London looked even darker after that. It was getting late. I was so glad we were going home to my lovely Newcastle that evening.
Visiting London again? Maybe not. Unless it’s for friends and family.