Friday, 26 November 2010

The buzz of London

She dragon mentioned 'that charged atmosphere', and Billie Jane called it a 'buzz about London'. They are both right, people were literally charging about like a lot of buzzy bees. As soon as I stepped off the train at Kings Cross Station I had to stand still for a few minutes to take it all in. What was so urgent that caused them to move at such speed. There was nose to tail traffic with the howl of sirens, and blue flashing lights, I had arrived in a crazy world.

I found it all very fascinating, a completely different lifestyle to what I am used to. I can understand however, when people say that living in a city can be the loneliest place on earth, no one has time to stop. I can also understand why people yearn to escape the rat race and retire to a cottage in the country.

Some flashy Christmas lights.

These hanging baubles are in Covent Garden, it was certainly buzzing here.

The street entertainers were playing down in the courtyard. I stood on the balcony for a while and enjoyed the free entertainment. I noticed an elderly lady walking round and round the balcony, shaking a basket and asking for coins. I thought, aaaah, how sweet, she must be the mother of one of the fiddlers. But when they finished their stint and the next act came on, an operatic singer, there she was again, going round and round with her basket. I have to say though, she wasn't collecting for herself, she did go down the steps and deposit her takings into the basket of the performers.

This stall selling antique silver was doing very well in the market. I had to wait a few minutes for the customers to make their purchases, to get the photo

There was a buzz at this open air market outside the Saatchi Gallery. Most of the stalls were selling food and they were doing a roaring trade from the nearby offices. I don't think anyone does their own pack up in London, they all seem to buy their food and eat it while on the move.

The crowds were thronging around Harrods of course, you have just got to go inside for a look, to see how the other half lives. No I didn't buy anything just to get the Harrods carrier bag, ha ha.

Oxford Street was very buzzy.

And so was Regent Street.

Picadilly Circus was crammed full of people.

More Christmas lights.

This was a little courtyard just off Carnaby Street. At one time it was open to the elements, but now it is covered over. There are balconies all around with shops on three floors.

And seating in the middle if you want some food.

The mural was on a side street nearby.

And here is the world famous Carnaby Street. This used to be the place to go in the sixties if you wanted to be in the height of fashion. There are still a lot of clothes shops there now, but it has lost it's buzz. Most of the people strolling through seemed to be tourists, not shoppers.

A few days into the holiday I was getting into the buzz of things and was starting to enjoy the atmosphere. I thought, how exciting, look at me walking round London, eager each morning to get out of the hostel and see what interesting stuff I could find to look at. Imagining what it would be like to live there, going back to my cosy little flat in the evenings. There would be plenty to do each day, no time to get bored.

But then I came to my senses, and when it was time to get on the train for home, I thought, get me out of here. I'm a country bumpkin at heart, it's ok to visit, but I like to breath fresh countryside air, not be choked to death with all the polution. Aaahh, the smell of the nature, you can't beat it.


  1. Although it is technically my "home town", I wouldn't move back there for a gold clock.

  2. It`s an experience, but not something you`d want to do all the time. I certaily prefere to live a bit more rural, just like you. I live on the outskirts of Brighton, but rarely venture into town, as the atmosphere is stiffling. All that I could wish for is where I live, with shops nearby if I need them. And, the beach or the countryside is just minutes walk from my house. That`s far more aluring to me then any city ever could be.

  3. I'm very lucky to have the best of both worlds - living out in the country in a cottage and commuting into London. I do love working in London - you do get to find out everything before everyone else, you feel like you're part of something bigger than you (which I love) and you get to people watch. Then I come back to my cottage and can leave it all behind for the day.

  4. Sounds ideal, Lavender hearts. I like people watching too. I suppose I could pop down there more often, it's only 2.5 hours on the train, that's if they are running ok.

  5. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip to London, Ilona. Yes, it's a buzzy city with lots going on and lots to see but for me it lost it's attraction when I became unemployed 2 years ago.

    I feel that London is a city where you can only be truly happy if you have lots of money which will enable you to live life to the full, live in a nice part of town, socialise in the nice restaurants, cafes, and enjoy trips to the movies, theatres, concerts. Although there are free things to do and see, I personally feel like a beggar in London without an income.

    I used to live and work in Notting Hill (W11), a well-to-do area of London which is full of celebrities. I used to regularly see Michael Winner, Eric Sykes and his daughter Melanie, Pete Burns, Elle MacPherson, Claudia Schiffer and Claudia Winkelman to name just a few. I used to enjoy walking daily in Kensington Gardens and further into Hyde Park, shopping at the famous Portobello Market every Saturday, and socialising in the local cafes and restaurants. And I regularly explored all the areas you have been to. Covent Garden was one of my favourite places.

    Now my life is horribly different. I am just scraping by in a cheap overcrowded part of Tottenham (North London) which has a 60 percent unemployment rate and where crime is rising. This is not how I want to live for the rest of my life.

    Since I stopped working, I no longer venture into central London because the transport alone would cost me nearly 7 quid a day and it's a hassle getting anywhere by public transport especially if you need to use a combination of bus and tube. I don't drive but for those who do, there is nowhere to park when you reach central London plus you have to pay a huge congestion charge.

    But worst of all is the unfriendliness of the people, people are even less friendly in the deprived areas, everyone is suspicious of everyone else, it's a very selfish place where you would never make friends picking litter! In London no one picks up litter, they just drop it! You would have full-time unpaid employment if you moved to London, Ilona! Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, would give you a gold medal! :)!

    At the age of 48 and after 2 years of unemployment and with no prospect of ever finding work in London, because I am now considered too old (London is very much a city for young) I am applying for work abroad. In the new year workers) I am off to New Zealand to stay with friends who are helping me with job applications. I desperately need a fresh start and need to work again.

    Sorry that my comment is longer than your whole blog, Ilona, I could not resist spewing out my personal reflections onto this nice clean space! I don't have my own blog because there is not enough cyberspace for it!! :0| XXXX