No, no, not the baby, he’s too young for that, but I’m pretty sure the day he upgrades from his basket to his nursery cot there’ll be mucho weeping and wailing and it won’t just be from him.
No, this particular case is also known as homesickness. Just as I think I’m doing okay, BAM it hits me again when there’s a London backdrop on the telly box and I want to be there so much it physically hurts. It does. It sounds oh-so-melodramatic but it’s true.
We have moved away for a spot of money-saving during my maternity leave and I knew I’d miss London but I didn’t anticipate how much. And then, exactly one month before we left, I saw Love, Actually again. The London settings set off this kind of physical reaction in me and I sobbed, really sobbed for what I wouldn’t be a part of every day any more. Because of my office’s stunning location – in the Strand – the South Bank, Royal Festival Hall, Big Ben, the London Eye, St Paul’s (feeeeeeed the birds, la la la la), Waterloo Bridge and the Gherkin were part of the landscape of my everyday life. They were my views on the walk in to work, what better view could there be, this aside?
London provokes a Marmite reaction in people; for those who don’t love it I can’t understand why not, likewise they cannot fathom anyone’s ardour for a place that last year, as voted by 75,000 tourists, came 39th out of 40 worldwide cities for having the least friendly and helpful locals. We were of course fully expecting to get the coveted 40th place as the most unfriendly and unhelpful, but were beaten by Moscow of all places.
Yes, some people are rude, everyone’s in a hurry and it’s busy, but it’s vibrant, it’s alive. It has an atmosphere and a buzz that is tangible, there’s so much going on it’s impossible to list and every single weekend, no matter how long you’ve been there for, you can visit somewhere you’ve never been before and may never go again.
During the Jubilee and Olympics I felt pride like I’d never known and regularly found myself thinking of this song. I owe my darling dad my love of London, he instilled it in me from such a young age, and thanks to this excellent gift from a friend, Zee will be following suit.
I know one fine day, in the words of Arnie, I’ll be back, but for now I’m going to sit and drink tea from my I heart London mug whilst wearing my I heart London hoodie, and just to add to my melancholy I’ll listen to this. If I close my eyes and wish really hard, Psammead style, I can magic myself back there in my mind. Which will just have to do until the next visit.
Disclaimer: Where we live now is beautiful, we are having such a nice time – this was our setting for today’s sun-kissed stroll with friends. But London is in my heart. And you can take the girl out of London…