Living In London Summer 2012

In March 2012 my other half and I moved to Stoke Newington, London. I had no clue where Stoke Newington even was, it was just an insignificant place in Hackney to us. After paying a huge amount of money in estate agents fees, deposit and first month’s rent we moved in. Soon to find out that the place in which we were living was where Amy Winehouse filmed her ‘Back to Black’ video, and Stoke Newington was this little place based between Tottenham and Dalston and nothing like the two places it was between. With brilliant pubs, cafes and restaurants, a lovely atmosphere and a place where people actually want to live! It borders on the edge of Clissold Park some where we have enjoyed the sun on many of occasions. The only downside is Stokey doesn’t have a Tube Station, only a national rail station, but this is minor. We got lucky and when I say this I really mean it, we had two weeks to find a flat, this was the first place we saw and despite every piece of advice you read about not taking the first flat you see, we did.

Not long after moving in we were both settled in day to day life with jobs and the mundane task of London transport, within a week of living in the capital I had lent my car to my brother to get it out of London. We didn’t have a car parking space like most and the traffic was worse than anyone living here could describe to you. My journey to work takes 40 minutes, 30 of these I spend underground on a train, but I’ll save my love/hate for the tube for another blog.

Now I grew up in the New Forest in a little Village in the middle of nowhere, living in a city, let alone the capital of England with a population of 8 Million inside the M25 this was nothing like I was used to! Even in our 4th month of being here I still find it all a bit daunting. It’s busy, noisy and non-stop, I rarely feel like I’ve had time to stop and think because even if I have, there have been hundreds of people passing me by in a rush. In this city I feel very trapped, there are no open spaces, no beach and ocean I can escape to just the hustle and bustle of everyday life in the city. That’s just me though, I feel I need to live by the sea to feel free.

With all this said I knew we were going to be living here until the end of September so I won’t let the grind of city lifestyle make me un-happy, instead I choose to embrace it and enjoy it. To pass the time on my journey to work and back I read, an hour a day I switch off from what is going on in the tube around me and lose myself in whatever book I am currently reading, I have to say I enjoy my 30 minutes on the tube because I get to read.

We choose a flat in Hackney brought because BBC Radio 1 were taking their Big Weekend there this year, and residents of the brought were more likely to get tickets! So when the tickets went on sale we were delighted to have tickets within 30 minutes. Located 15 minutes from our flat, Hackney Marshes will be transformed for 2 days and we get to experience it for the small cost of £2.50 booking fee! Another privilege to living in Hackney was getting tickets to the Olympic Stadium event 2012 Hours To Go. This was the first and only time I would have to visit the park and Stadium. The actual night wasn’t great but being able to say I have been there is what it’s all about. The rest of London will be a buzz for the Olympics so despite my fears and dread of journeying to and from work I will fully immerse myself in the celebrations for the London Olympics.

As a kid I had visited the capital many time and been to most of the ‘tourist’ sites and seen everything I would show any one visiting this place, however despite not wanting to feel like a tourist in the place I live, I wrote a list of all the places I wanted to visit and things I wanted to do while I was here in London, another way of trying to embrace the experience because really that’s all this is

·Visit the Olympic park and stadium – DONE May 2012

· Go to Radio 1 Hackney Weekend – DONE June 2012

· Walk across the top of Tower Bridge – DONE April 2012

· Go to St Pauls Cathedral

· Eat at London’s Hard Rock Café (The first ever to be opened) – DONE April 2012

· Go to London Zoo – DONE – April 2012

· Visit free Galleries and Museums – Science Museum, National History Museum

· Visit the newly reopened Photography Gallery

· See the Olympic Torch Relay – DONE July 21st

· Be a spectator at the London Marathon – Did not achieve this

· Changing of the Guards – DONE May 2012

I hate being a tourist when travelling, but when we first moved here I really felt like it, now I feel more at home in London, but still plan on enjoying every moment of living here for the summer of 2012, the best time to ever live in London.

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