Life In The Big Smoke

What is it like living in a big smelly city like London? It occurred to me when I was reading through my answers, that I mentioned life in London a few times. As this is my response to Melanie’s SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post, if you hadn’t noticed before, I live in London – the big chokey smoke. Here is Melanie’s original post, and below is a taster of my life in London:


What is the best pick me up that you know of?  To shake you out of the blues?

Oh I have a few. If I am feeling a bit low, (and it happens, why shouldn’t it happen?) I will try one of the following (some of these are weather permitting):

  • ring my mum, one of my sisters or a good friend
  • type an e-mail to Goldfinch
  • go for a walk, there are beautiful parks nearby my accommodation
  • lie on the grass in the park and doze under the warm sunshine
  • listen to some music that always makes me feel good (see videos at end of post)
  • walk to a nearby artisan bakery on the high street and buy myself the gooiest cake I can find
  • iron any laundry that is stacked up, it’s something I really enjoy
  • work on the little book I am writing for my niece
  • sometimes I let myself have a little cry – it is a miraculous release of pain
  • watch one of the funny little clips that always makes me laugh my socks off – like this one:

What would be the title of your memoir?

Sing First, Hide Later

sing along

I was struggling with thinking of something to answer this one. But Beckie, the creator of Beckie’s Mental Mess included a quote in a post she published the other day which was “Dance First, Think Later” which does sum up many of my life experiences. But I have done more singing that dancing let me tell you!! Here in London I have been to many parties and social events. I always throw myself into fun. (I wouldn’t do anything too wreckless mind!)

Where do you like to go when you eat out?

I am spoilt in London. I am often invited out to dinner at someone’s home. Which is always my favourite choice. I have friends of many nationalities, so I am able to try all sorts of delicious home cooking. It is more cost effective normally. Love it! Most of my friends seem to prefer entertaining at home. But some of us don’t have a lot of space. I can only have three guests for dinner (I only have four chairs!), but if my landlady was away I might invite more over of they are content to eat pizza and watch a movie. I would be hoping some don’t mind lolloping on the floor with a cushion.

There are so many restaurants to choose from in London, so many. We don’t go to the same place again and again. We are always looking for somewhere new. I usually am happy to go along to where my friends would like to go. Most prefer either Italian or South East Asian. But I love Greek, Persian, African, Mexican and so many other cuisines. In London we are truly spoilt for choice!

Do you believe in luck?

It’s not really a concept I am familiar with. I don’t remember hearing the word at home. Perhaps since my Dad had broken free from gambling, which ruined his finances as a young man, he was not going to promote anything except hard work and persistence.

But when I was at high school I remember people saying it before an exam. I didn’t quite grasp what they were saying to me. I always knew I was likely to do well in my exams, because I was was a thorough student, I had an ace memory and I didn’t feel any pressure in exams. Tests and exams never did bother me. I knew that others were being nice in using the phrase “good luck” but I always found it an odd expression.

law.jpgThe only exam I only achieved a “lower” grade in was a law A-level. I was fuming when I had a letter from the local college saying that if I did not sit the exam, I would have to pay hundreds of pounds to the college for the cost of the A-level course. I went to visit the college and asked them what on earth they were talking about. Apparently, I was enrolled on this course but I had no idea. If they thought I was supposed be turning up for classes – why did they never contact me before the exam at the end of the year? I had never been to a single class and had not read any material for this course. But to avoid having to pay hundreds of pounds (I believed their threat) I turned up and sat an exam for a subject I had not studied and a few weeks later received a letter telling me I had an “E” grade.

Now, if it had been an “A” grade, maybe that would have been what people refer to as “luck”. Things that happen when you have not put any effort in at all?

I am not sure what others actually believe if they say they do believe in luck. Everyone seems to have a different idea. But I am not superstitious. Sometimes things go wrong, but mostly they go right. Of the things that go wrong, I mostly don’t worry, unless it was my fault.

Gratitude Question:

Aside from necessities, what is one thing you couldn’t go a day without?

As a full-time volunteer, I lived without wages for five years, so I am used to living with just necessities. Even though I am earning a little money now, I still live a very simple life.

shower.jpgI have done some travelling and I realize I am spoilt compared to many. After the time I spent out in West Africa, I realized how hard I would find it to be without a washing machine, electric iron, a plumbed in bathroom and electric shower. Maybe I could go one day without these things, but not much longer! But if I had to, I would. I am just so used to those things. I love the ease we have of keeping clean and having clean clothes. London is dirty! I often find some kind of grime from buses, trains or railings has brushed onto my clothes, and my hair feels yucky after being out for a day in the big smoke. I feel like a complete wuss saying that when I think of how many people live on this planet without these things. Yet they are perfectly happy without them.

In my current accommodation, I have for the first time since I lived in London both a shower cubicle and a bath-tub. Although I mostly shower, there are times when a soak in a hot bath is wonderful. I don’t need these extras, but I am grateful for them.


Music that always makes me feel good…oh there are so so many! But here are a few: