As I sit here in Sheffield waiting to go to the match, eating Parkin, I start to reflect on six months living in our nation’s capital. Here are some of the things I’ve learned so far.
How to descale a kettle
It’s a new skill that has been thrust upon me due to the hardness and cloudiness of the water down there. I wasn’t so successful with the iron. Now every time I press the steam button it’s like having an artificial snow machine in the flat. The water hasn’t done wonders for my hair either. Here in Sheffield it looks like the purest silk, in London I look like Toyah Willcox without a brush.
How to live in one room
I never thought I would be spending nearly £1000 to live in what is essentially one decent sized room with a bathroom and kitchen alcove. However, I’ve adapted to my lack of space and even relish the fact that I can legitimately lay in bed and watch TV.
You need to leave the flat
Not knowing anyone when you move to a new city is hard and the temptation is to stay where you’re comfortable. After a wet and dreary winter, the motivation to get out and about becomes a daily battle. It’s easy to be anonymous here and even easier to be lonely but there’s nothing like a severe vitamin D deficiency to shake you out of that. The exploration for sunlight has forced me to wander and find more about where I’m living and to meet the friends I make online.
How to develop double jointedness
Londoners have the genetic makeup of a field mouse. If there is the tiniest corner on a tube or bus that they can squeeze into then they will. You do learn how to contort yourself into shapes too otherwise you’d never get anywhere. Gone are the early weeks when I would let three tubes go because there wasn’t enough space, only to see 20 other Londoners climb into it.
You can’t get away from quinoa
I’ve eaten meals with edamame beans and with quinoa in them. You can’t avoid it. If you want to eat in nice places in London you have to become a full on foodie wanker. Yes, you can just live on fried chicken but let’s face it I don’t want to die of a coronary in my one room where no-one will ever find me again.
Being a London Owl is hard
The travel is tiring but most of all you miss the night matches. Because of Sheffield Wednesday’s unexpected cup run, matches were postponed and moved to be played midweek, meaning I was forced to find a dodgy American online feeds full of adverts for ‘Professional soccer apparel’ and mispronunciations of Hillsborough.
I miss the nights where I’d go to my parents after work, mum would cook a chilli or a pan of ash and we’d get wrapped up and walk down to the match. It’s not the same eating edamame stir-fry and listening to BBC Radio Solent.
The transition wasn’t as hard as I expected
I’ve settled very quickly which means the decision must have been right. So here’s to the next six months and the new experiences to be had. Now, back to that Parkin.