I have lived in London for the best years of my adult life, and my children grew up here in Knightsbridge in the shadows of the Royal Albert Hall. It was simply the best years of all our lives, as my grown-up children now live a mile away from their childhood home, recreating the life we had.
And here I am again, back in London at 50 to start a new life. I am excited, and perhaps a little daunted.
It wasn’t all plain-sailing, trying to buy a place in the crazy property market (luckily I have a smart friend Anna) and moving again in a social circle filled with glamorous young people. But slowly, I am making progress, though on several occasions, I wobbled and felt like running back to my island half a world away:
Things have changed
My darling Hercules no longer lives on Queen’s Gate! I walked past his house and looked for his cars, remembering the precious times we had. So many precious things. And how I miss his daughter, whom I love as my own.
Yes, people move on.
It was hot, hot, hot and I needed to get out of the City. “Let’s go to Richmond an walk by the river,” I said to my partner.
“Let’s cycle there. It’s only a 20 minute cycle ride” he suggested and I refused. Against his better judgment, we got in the car…..and the traffic was horrendous. It was as if the whole of London had the same idea as me.
Now I know why my daughter, who lives in Fulham, does only Fulham things.
I went out with a girl pal to our favourite haunt, The Botanist in South Kensington. It was a great night out…..until we got the bill. Each glass of Pimms cost £12 and we had about 10 each. I had totally forgotten how expensive this place is.
it cost £75 to fill up the tank with petrol (no more diesel), which rather scuppers my plan of buying this baby (I couldn’t believe how cheap secondhand cars are here! This stunner is for sale at £600. It will cost £1,000 for a recond engine that my son and fix on):
“You have to get a Tesla, it runs on electricity, 200 miles per charge, and it costs nothing to charge your car,” my son said.
“Can we buy a secondhand Tesla?” I asked my partner and he laughed. “Tesla can’t make cars fast enough, Jac, good luck with finding one on the secondhand market.”
Damn public transport
I was going to visit my parents with my younger daughter on the train : £30 each to Portsmouth (90 minutes away) ! We had to review our travel arrangement very seriously (i.e. go next week, shop for cheaper tickets on the internet).
“Wait till you have to get on the tube to go to work during rush hour,” my partner grinned. “Still up for this big move, Jac?”
Please tell me why Asian food costs this much!
We had a takeaway. You know, cheap stuff like fried noodles, sweet and sour, black bean sauce. The bill made me gag. £7.50 for fried noodles! And it wasn’t a posh takeaway either, just a hole-in-the-wall job!
Oh, I am so out of touch! I was reprimanded several times for being racist by white people (I am POC – people of colour – by the way) whose conversations are littered with words like cultural appropriation.
I went to a book event run by white people who kindly encouraged POC and BAME to write more Middle Grade fiction because only 1% of books in this segment is by BAME writers. White people are apparently censured for writing about BAME characters because of cultural appropriation.
I stood up and said, “I don’t mind actually, if you white people write about my people, so long as you do your research properly.”
Thirty white faces looked at me with disapproval. “Surely you don’t approve of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book!” one gasped.
I love being back in London ❤ ❤ ❤