10 things I didn’t know about London

Well I realised it had been a while since I wrote anything on here but having been inspired to have a look at my last entry by the marvellous Con Carlyon’s discovery of the ex-Voxer’s page on Facebook, I was a little surprised to discover that the last time I wrote anything was last October. Even for me that is a pretty piss poor performance. So, here is a very short catch up on what has gone on since then:

Ex husband moved out…still with new boyfriend who isn’t really very new any more…mid divorce….working in London during the week and travelling back to Manchester every few weekends to keep up with friends…been in new job for nearly a year. And tragically, that is pretty much it. Still, since ‘news’ in my world was generally related to something going tits up, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

And semi-moving to London has proved to be a strange experience. Mainly because it’s a strange place. So here are five things I didn’t know about London until I came here:

  1. Everyone drives like a fucking arsehole. It’s true, they do. They either drive like they have eaten their own bodyweight in amphetamines then stolen the car or like they have never been in a vehicle before. It explains why they are incapable of driving down the M25 without hitting each other. The M25 is a pretty much straight bit of road yet every single day a psycho knob-head will hit a halfwit, resulting in you  getting home three hours later than planned. Nothing says ‘fun’ like spending another evening parked on the M25. In case that didn’t translate in writing, it was sarcasm.
  2. It has parrots. Green parrots to be precise. They flap round the trees making screeching noises. Thanks to the green parrots I am now able to identify four species of bird instead of just three. I am practically David Attenborough.
  3. Everyone in Putney is improbably attractive and creepily fit. While jogging along the banks of the Thames, puffing and blowing like a damaged steam train and wondering if I was going to have a coronary or whether the pain was just due to muscle damage, something occurred to me – I was the only one out of all the joggers heading along the towpath towards Hammersmith Bridge who looked like this. Everyone else was glossy, shiny and gorgeous, jogging swiftly along with head and legs high, like expensively coiffed, lycra-clad gazelles. The fuckers. there are times when the urge to trip them up becomes almost overwhelming, it’s only the fact that if I then discover that they even bounce off gravel with style and finesse it may be too much to bear that stops me. The only conclusion I can take from this is that the people of Putney have all been replaced Stepford-style with perfect size 10 robots who don’t have roots, split ends, wobbly middle bits or a respiratory system still a bit fucked from 13 years of Marlboro Lights. I like this explanation better than ‘everyone in Putney is just better looking and fitter than I am’. So I’m sticking with it.
  4. The impatience on public transport is catching. You arrive in London a normal person. When someone pauses in front of you at the ticket machine or the Tube barrier you wait patiently for them to move. If someone stands in the middle of the escalator at a station you politely ask them if they wouldn’t mind moving and if someone is walking slowly in front you, you either slow down or amble round them. This lasts less than a month. Within that month you will find that you too have started responding to anything that slows you down by a fraction of a second with a sigh that registers on the Richter scale and a dramatic roll of the eyes. You too will view any dawdling by people in your vicinity as a personal insult. London public transport turns the most normal and rational individual into a creature with all the personal charm of a badger with a wasp up its arse. Odd but true.
  5. No one on public transport ever acknowledged anyone else. I don’t know why, but on London public transport, the main aim of the game appears to be to studiously ignore everyone else completely. There will be no eye contact, no chit chat, no passing the time or making new Tube friends. Nope, you are to completely ignore the person whose armpit you are wedged in and make like they’re not there. Difficult when their armpit hair is tickling your nose. However this has given rise to the most fun new game I have found in ages – making conversation with strangers. The rules are simple; first you make eye contact with someone, them you smile, then you talk to them. I guarantee that they will assume you are a dangerous lunatic and start to sidle away as if you are going to bite them. The aim is to get them to shift all the way to the far end of the carriage before you have to get off. Childish but fun.

So there you are, five things I didn’t know about London until I arrived. I don’t doubt there’s more to come…