London: a love-hate relationship

London. Some love it, some hate it. I’m currently feeling a bit of both.

Having moved to Putney a few months ago, I am still feeling my way around this city. When I first arrived I hated the place – the grey, the swarms of people, the lack of space, lack of air. Bit by bit, the colour has gradually been working its way in, and I now have a love-hate relationship with my new home.

The first thing that struck me when I moved here was the lack of sky. I miss walking along the beach in Portsmouth, sea blending into sky, stretching overhead in a vast sheet of blue. Because of this it feels like there’s no air. Some days I feel so suffocated I want to run and run until I find a green field and can breathe again.

There’s a particular pace to London life, and joining the millions of people pouring out of trains and onto pavements and in and out of the underground, I feel like a worker ant in a vast colony, a tiny dot amongst the masses. This churning and rippling, and everyone having something to do and somewhere to go, makes the city feel like a great machine. There’s a clunkiness to it but also a rhythmic power – a great steam engine rather than a high-speed train.

Gradually splashes of colour splattered here and there on my view. A stroll by the river, a wander round the Natural History Museum, an afternoon spent sitting in the National Theatre typing a blog post with a large slice of cake for company. I can get on a train from Putney and be at the South Bank within half an hour. That’s pretty cool.

I’ve come to realise that as much as I often want to escape from London, I also find it fascinating. There’s a strange pull to the chaos, like a moth to a deadly flame. I miss the space, I miss the sea, I miss the forest, but perhaps I can one day learn to love this place too.


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