Sunday, 30 October 2011

Pubs, Pumpkins... and Peace

As I type I am sat on a train heading north to Peterborough. One of my best friends is getting married next year and she has invited me and another buddy to help her choose her wedding dress. So, in true Sex and the City style, I have a bottle of frizzante and a box of Maltesers in my bag for a bit of girly bonding over fashion.
Naturally, I am a bit jealous. No, not because she and her fella are tying the knot, and not even because she gets to try of lots of pretty dresses without looking like the hard done-by heroine of Muriel’s Wedding. But because she has a house. A lovely house. And, believe it or not she has another one too that she is currently renting out until the housing market picks up again.
You know what though? I wouldn’t swap my rented one-bedroom shoebox for her three bed semi for all the vodka in Russia. Because, despite my whingeing, I would never swap London for Peterborough.
Don’t get me wrong – there is plenty about London that does my head in, and house prices are just one of them. But, my savings are slowly getting to the point where they might be able to act as a deposit on a property slightly further out, and a two bed flat in Walthamstow is no longer a million years away.
But it isn’t just that. It’s because, in London, you can do what you want, be who you want to be, and as long as you aren’t really doing anyone else any harm, nobody bats an eyelid.
Two examples. On Tuesday I went for a late afternoon tea and pumpkin carving at my new favourite haunt, Drink, Shop, Do. I am quietly confident that not many places in the UK offer pumpkin carving, finger sandwiches and cocktails all at the same time.
Then there was yesterday. In need of a bit of respite from the aforementioned shoebox, I went to the pub for a spot of lunch and spent a couple of hours sat undisturbed drawing some illustrations. There was a football match being shown at the other end of The Old Dairy, and a group of yummy mummies meeting for a bit of informal group therapy, but other than the occasional screaming child running past my table and roar of joy as Arsenal scored yet again, it was a very peaceful afternoon.
Now, I know for a fact that where I grew up, this would be unheard of. As would sitting on a bus with Bert the pumpkin cradled in your lap. But, in London it is okay. No-one cares – they’ve seen it all before and are too busy living their own lives to really take notice.
So, no, I don’t have my own house yet. But I still have my anonymity and freedom to be me without question. And that, as far as I am concerned, is priceless.


  1. I couldn't agree more. Londoners don't even bug you if you're a gorilla. Would have happened if people saw Bert the pumpkin on your lap in Peterborough?

  2. I dread to think, Bananas. Especially if I happened to be a gorilla too...