Life in London is never boring, or straightforward. A trip that should take 20 minutes, can take over an hour if there is the smallest accident and in the same breath, one tube line can totally de-rail an evening… sorry for the rather obvious pun. You see this played out in the faces of Londoners all the time, the business man who is cursing the 2 minute wait for the Northern Line or the drivers trying to get off the line before the peloton of cyclists envelop their car and they are forced to drive at 13 miles an hour from Bank to London Bridge.
Even the humour of the traffic changes. In the morning, everyone knows what they are doing, (‘cept for the vast majority of September with back to school). Everyone has a route that they take religiously and they know what happens at every step along the way. Do the same journey on a weekend and you will see a very different type of driver and way more agro…
Back home I always hear how life must be way too mental in London and there is always a veiled reference to death by stabbing. “How are you still alive” sort of thing. All, have visited there once… didn’t like it… wouldn’t live there sort of thing. I honestly couldn’t wait to relocate. I had lived in Glasgow and that really didn’t work out but I that didn’t stop me from wanting to move again I mean how many nights can you have in Annabelles or worse… Break For the Border in Dublin? It didn’t matter that I didn’t even know London all that much. I’d been to Coulsdon for a few courses and knew the nearest big place was Croydon but that was it. I did’t know anything about Croydon. But that is where I moved to.
Though in truth, I almost didn’t move… I was able to relocate back to Dublin with my job and continue to manage Scotland and Ireland… and things could have just continued like that. Then the good people in upper management decided to restructure the company and suddenly I was left with only one office (which was really just 3 people) and my wings were well and truly cut. They had another role that they interviewed me for but they seemed to take some pleasure in telling me “I wasn’t good enough”. So I was out. Decision made. Time to leave Ireland.
London was next on the cards, I had friends and karate folks that I knew… so why not. I remember the last few days and all the stuff I crammed into them. I went on the Viking Splash Tour of Dublin, ’cause well.. I’d seen it for years and never done it. So I became one of those “tourists” who was encouraged to wave plastic swords from a yellow amphibian.
On moving day, I called to see my granny on the way to the airport and walked the “Old airport road”, as I had done for years when it was “the airport road”. It didn’t matter that I had all my bags, the extra time it took as cathartic in some ways.
But when I got to the airport and was all checked in I decided I needed a drink… this was it… the big move. This was back in a time when Dublin airport was growing and trying to become even more cosmopolitan 🙂 and lets face it…this was Dublin.. there is always a bar.
I remember the barman, he was a real piece of work, I’ve always remembered him even after all these years. He had the swagger of someone who knows that they are attractive and yet plays it cool to seem even more aloof… or what I’m sure he thought was cool.
So he comes over and doesn’t even ask what I’m drinking, more nods at me and throws a beer mat my direction. I had a London map book and my ticket on the bar and it’s quickly clear that he is less bright than attractive. “You going to London are ye?”, he’s definitely sharp! He doesn’t wait to hear the answer then he’s off talking about some weekend he had at a stag weekend. “Let me give you some advice”… I’d had so much advice… turns our mr swanky had worked for 6 weeks in London…couldn’t hack it and moved back to his parents house.
I will admit that the first few months in London were very different… but not in a bad way… I was in love with the tube and the transport links. I spent every weekend exploring and to be honest, it hasn’t changed. I do love it here… best decision I ever made… but I can’t help but think what ever happened to the swanky bar man…