September 04, 2007


It’s a strange place. I lived there for over fifteen years and when I was there I really couldn’t imagine ever living anywhere else. I loved it, grime, smog, indifference, anonymity, congestion, overcrowding, crime, the whole scene, at the end of the day I still believed, and still do, that it’s the greatest city in the world.

I moved out just over four years ago now and ended up more by accident than good judgement in a sleepy little village in North Hampshire where the pace of life is so different there’s no comparison.

As I drove up the A3 today, past all of my old haunts, and the landmarks that were part of my life for so long – The Tollworth Towers, a regular mention on the flying eye on the morning commute, dodging the numerous speed camera’s along the way then through Clapham, Stockwell and finally onto the Elephant and Castle, which to my disappointment is no longer pink. Passing old homes and old employers along the way I felt an overwhelming rush of nostalgia and started to seriously question why I ever gave in to the idea of leaving.

Then I realise it took me forty minutes to get to London and two and a half hours to drive fifteen miles into it (the tubes were on strike today and I really couldn’t face hauling the files that I needed for my meeting around with me on an overcrowded bus). I was hot, thirsty and quite frankly out of practise with traffic jams. I listened as faceless people honked their horns blindly in the vain hope that they might get a little further a little quicker and I drove at a pace slower than I could walk! I also had the pleasure of paying £8 congestion charge for having to leave at any of the exits on the Elephant and Castle roundabout (all roads lead to a big red C)

By the time I finally got back onto the A3 and waved goodbye to the City all I could think about was getting home again, back to the nice, quiet, green life that is Odiham.

Do I still miss London? Yes. It’s always going to be a big part of me. I absolutely loved my time there. Would I move back? No. Sometimes the past is best left as a fond memory that you can look back on and smile, but the present is what matters and the future – well who knows?

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