London has always been my home. I've never known anything else, and I'm very fond of this big old city (most of the time!) There are times when I'd love to live in the countryside, or by the sea, but most of the time I'm pretty in love with being a London girl, and here are just some of the reasons why...
1. watching the tube mice scurry around on the rails (you can't see them at every station, but there are lots at Oxford Circus station, so I see them pretty much every day and they never fail to make me smile)
2. being able to walk out of my house at any time of day or night and get anywhere in London via public transport. I lived in Northampton for a year, and on Sunday there was one (very unreliable) bus an hour on a Sunday, so even a simple food shopping trip was like a military operation.
3. the dozens of free art galleries and museums - if there is one reason why I couldn't imagine leaving London, it would be this. When I have been traveling to other cities around the world, I'm always shocked by how expensive entry to museums and galleries and other cultural attractions is. People always complain about how expensive London is, but there are so many amazing things to do here for free.
4. strolling along the Thames (particularly the stretch that runs past the Southbank Centre) on a summer day is one of my favourite things to do in London.
5. we have two old fashioned photoautomat booths. TWO. plus a pretty cool digital one in Rough Trade East.
6. the fact that, even after living here for 25 years, I still need to use google maps to get to most places. Okay, I'm the first to admit I have no sense of direction, and an awful memory for routes, but I love that you can get lost in London so easily, but without being 'lost' in the typical sense. Plus, that's how you discover new things in London, by wandering and letting yourself go down roads you've never been down before.
7. the sound - every city has a unique sound, and while at first it might just sound like a load of noise, they all have different qualities. New York is very loud, full of car horns, lots of industrial sounds, with lots of shouting from street vendors. In London though the sound is lower, the traffic is a kind of background rumble, you can hear a general chatter of people, there is a constant buzz that grows in volume during the day then dies down in the evening. I love listening to it, it's the sound of home.
8. different parts of the city have different personalities - East is more dirty and rundown, but is also very young and arty, while West is more grown up and smart, and is home to more families and older couples. Of course these are huge generalisations, but I love that London is so divided up, even if in some places the divisions are very subtle. It gives it more character and makes it more interesting to explore.
9. walking home at night and seeing foxes strolling along, bold as brass - I'm sure you see them in other places too, but in London they are fearless, and for some reason they seem to totally belong here.
10. no matter how many stories I hear about people in London being cold, and unfriendly, and rude, I know that this is largely untrue. Sure, there are people like that, but I can't count the number of times I have seen people do the kindest, most selfless things, for people who are complete strangers. And it's those little things that make me proud to be a Londoner.