One month of my precious six months here has already gone. Already gone. I can. not. believe it. I’ve only just started to feel settled and find my feet in this place and my gosh am I loving every minute of it. Who’d have even thunk it? That the ocean obsessed little seafairy would love living in a crowded, stinky, loud & utterly wonderfully vibrant city like London.
It’s still early days to say whether I’ll choose to stay here at the end of my ‘long vacation’, these days I’m making a habit of living in the present and not over thinking what’s around the corner, instead focusing on today. Now. This week. Maybe this month at a very big push.
So what’s new here? What’s life like in a city through the eyes of someone who’s used to the ebb and flow of the tide, living slowly and idly by the meadows and always having the time to do nothing?
I can’t get over the novelty of everything. From simple things like being able to go to the corner shop at 8pm on a Sunday and satisfy my chocolate craving as opposed to being well and truly screwed, to big things like strolling along Southwark by the Thames at sunset and seeing all the twinkling lights come on in the great big buildings that line the river. Walking to the top of the hill in the big park behind my flat and seeing the Shard and London eye, people MC’ing in the street and market shops filled with food I don’t even know the names of. I love surfing the tube and people watching, and my goodness there’s such an awesome plethora of people to watch. I still can’t get over wandering past people filming and interviewing for television in the streets and bumping into famous people – not that I’m one to get star struck (that sort of thing doesn’t faze me) but it’s definitely quite a novelty.
s o m u c h t o e x p l o r e
Although I love Cornwall dearly, I couldn’t shake that feeling of having explored most of it and feeling like I wasn’t experiencing anything new. I love being in an unfamiliar place and having no idea where things are and being able to wander the streets to my hearts content, taking it all in.
I also forget that there’s a zillion things that I’ve always wanted to see that are now on my doorstep. Like Highgate cemetery… the setting for one of my favourite stories ever, I can now just get the tube there – easy as that. I can go to all the museums and art galleries I could possibly want and there’s always a million and one interesting events happening – like the Moomin exhibition and Southbank centre that I’m dying to see. We went to a music festival last week that was free and in a beautiful little part of London, right on the canal. It was so green and folk bands were playing right at the canal side and it was such an incredible sight to see all the barges scrambled together with people dancing freely on the rooves. I was really missing the canalways of Bath & Avon so the prospect of strolling along the London ones and seeing how they differ is really appealing.
s o m a n y y o u n g p e o p l e
I love meeting people and hate being isolated or alone for too long, it makes me go a little bit mad. Cornwall has much fewer young people and although I do have friends there, I don’t see nearly enough of them as I’d like or need. Besides them, it feels like a lot of my friends and community back home are grown ups (says she at 25!) but here, there’s so much energy and so many people my age to meet and be around. It’s also great to be up here with one of my oldest and best friends and spend some quality time with him for a few months instead of meeting up about five times a year. I love being able to just ‘hang out’ in the park, do work at a cafe and not only that, but be so much closer to lots of my other friends who I can easily visit now. This feels like the place for me to be at this part of my life.
Also, I can’t but help to notice how stylish everyone is here. In Cornwall, a much smaller percentage of the population are bothered about what they wear and a questionable ‘Wolf or Moose fleece’ is a very common sight. Here however, I am constantly inspired by everybody’s crazy ability to style themselves and wish I actually had some money so I could go join in and buy some rad clothes. Having said that, I did pick up two pairs of super comfy culotte shots at Uniqlo that were pretty cheap and I’m allowed to wear for work.
t h e w e a t h e r
If I have to listen to one more person tell me that the weather is surely better in Cornwall because it’s so far in the south and has beaches, I’m going to start throwing food. Let’s clear it up once and for all. Cornwall has one temperature – and it’s pretty much that temperature all year round. Winter, summer, what’s the difference? It’s usually mizzly and mild. Yes, we get sunshine – but not a massive amount. No more or less than the rest of the island, but it never gets truly hot or truly cold. In the summer, there’s a sea breeze that keeps you cool and I can’t remember the last day in Cornwall where I couldn’t leave the house cause of the heat. I’ve already been sweated indoors twice since being here. It’s so hot, I can’t even. At first it was a novelty, now I’m just a bit… I don’t know, grateful for the breeze? grateful for working by the poolside? I do adore the sunshine and being able to stroll about in minimal layers and last week, my friend Jon & I went to the Lido at Hampstead heath (betrayed my own Lido) and floating in the cool water in 24 degree heat at 4pm in the afternoon was h e a v e n l y. Outdoor pools are the best and in this sort of hot, city weather, they are sacred places. I am so glad I get to experience this city in the summer months! Even if I am a bit unaccustomed to this crazy heat.
Oh, and do you know what’s great? Not having my car here so I can have a G&T in the afternoon on a hot day and not worry!
So those are a few of my current observations, I’ve still got so much to see and experience – I’ve spent a lot of my time here so far at work which has pretty long hours, trying to catch up on my freelance business work and then resting from the mileage I’m clocking up on my flat little feet each day.
I’ve already made some great memories here, memories of eating picnics in the garden in the evening, memories of long boarding in the park with my friends and dunking fries in ice cream and watching the sun go down. I’ve seen some rad dinosaurs at the museum and photographed an engagement at my most favourite location ever – a place I’d been dying to photograph a couple at ever since I first visited a few years back.
So last week, I was supposed to be getting married. I expected to be sad about it, but actually it didn’t affect me at all (heck, maybe I’m a detached robot with a heart of ice). I was really grateful to be experiencing all these new things that wouldn’t have happened if plans hadn’t had changed. So many things in my life completely changed but I wouldn’t have it any other way because I’m loving every moment of this new opportunity, this new adventure. It feels like a bit of a gift really, somehow although I was so sad and heart broken at first, I knew deep in my heart that I’d be happier for it in the future. I just didn’t expect the future to be here so soon!
I can safely say that going to London to live for 6 months was the best crazy, impulsive decision I’ve made since quitting my BA photography to study Creative Writing.
I understand that this is now my third post on this blog with photos from Kew Gardens, and I apologise for that… but it really is one of my favourite places and this is what happens when two photographers go to a really photogenic place and geek out. Perhaps it’s his film influence… but I’ve really fallen back in love with black and white photographs.
I’m just gonna leave this here now, with my little photo journal of our visit to Kew Gardens. I’m in love with the architecture, shapes and colours of this place. I really enjoyed taking photographs that weren’t just for a commercial purpose… photographs that were a study of shape and pattern or colour. Or just documents of the day. I really ought to start pushing myself and being more experimental with my photography.
So this moss apparently just moss grows out of thin air? No roots or soil? How cool is this?!
So here we are. A month in. In that month, I’ve desensitised myself to crowds and sardine like tube journeys. I feel like I’ve changed a little in me as well. I feel a little less childish maybe? Maybe slightly disillusioned by life or more sensible or maybe even just cynical. I don’t know, I’m a lot less whimsical than I used to be but maybe I’ll get that back in time. It’s a funny transitional time, but it’s a really good time for learning. Learning about people, learning about the world and the way it works. Cornwall is lovely, but it’s sheltered. Sometimes it’s good to get out and experience the wider world, even if it’s not your dream of a place. I feel like a little plant that got repotted from it’s tiny terracotta pot into the big garden.