I may live in Reading, a town that has been fighting to be a city for a very long time, but my heart has been in the big city of London for as long as I can remember. There is something about that city that makes me feel at home. Something that makes my body burst with that 'home sweet home' feeling you get by a warm fire with a mug of tea... although that's probably the car fumes making me deluded.
As soon as I take that 25 minute journey and arrive at Paddington Station, I take a deep breath and it's like a release of stress, the complete opposite of so many others I know. I always hear people say that the hustle and bustle of the city causes them stress and anxiety, I just don't see that. I could wander those streets all day and not get lost. I don't think I can fully explain the feeling I get when I drift into London but I can explain why I get it in 3 easy steps...
1 - The Boroughs of London take you from big city living to the feeling of village life, within one stop of the tube. There is always somewhere new to visit and adventures to be had. The different boroughs all have a different feel to them too, you can go from the beauty and hustle of Westminster to the crazy colourful scenes of Camden and it doesn't stop there, other boroughs take you into completely different continents with the smells of beautiful food and the community spirit that makes England great. When you think of London you don't think of it being community driven but in most cases it most definitely is, you just need to look beyond the tourism areas to get the real feel of London.
2 - The hidden gems are the heart of the City in my eyes and where you'll meet the most interesting people. The little café down a side street, a pub along the river, a tunnel full of art, a market hidden in a place not highlighted to the tourists, this are where the real London lies. Kyd and I often go on adventures to find new places we love, some are greater than others but when we find somewhere we love we often go back with others to share the fun. These are the places that make me love the city. I love learning about the people who live and work in these places, the history of it and the journey they've been on to get there... I'm just nosey really.
3 - Smiling at people on the tube is my favourite game. I grew up in Yorkshire, we are a friendly bunch, we tend to smile and wish a good day to everyone we pass. I like to bring that to London, the look on people's faces are AMAZING. You get a mx of freaked out Londoners who are used to no eye contact and silence and people who you can see are happy somebody broke the silence of their journey. I have never had so many people talk to me on the tube as I did the day I took #BruceTheTortoise to London in his carrier. Everybody smiled when they saw what I had in my case, everybody wanted to know why I was carrying a tortoise and some even asked about his life at home. I'm pretty sure people thought I was mad but I found it exhilarating to see so many people smiling on a tube. It's the small things that keep me happy and a smile from you can often make a strangers day... don't smile for too long though, they might think you're either a weirdo stalker or fancy them, just to warn you.
I do love London, I couldn't live there though, just in case it tainted my love for the city. My sister however loves it so much she moved to Hampstead and does a backwards commute to Reading every day for work. Crazy Lady. Her love for London made her do it and if I didn't have kids I'd have done it too. Kids are expensive at the best of times, in London they double in price.
I leave my heart at Paddington Station every time I get back on that train home, I pick it up again soon enough though, I'm there ALL the time, it's only a hop, skip and a jump away for me and I can't live without my heart can I?! So I have to go back, it's a must!
This is our entry into the Tale Of Three Cities Competiton. Check out #3cities on twitter to see more entries.