There’s lots of times that I’ve been out in London, whether on my way to work or meeting friends and I’ve started doing something and part way through thought “Oh shit, this was a bad idea”. And I don’t mean just once. I make the same mistakes time and time again…will I ever learn?!
1. Just how far underground the underground actually is
You head towards the escalator, there’s a queue on the right so you decide to go to the left…after all, it’s only a few steps to the top right?! Wrong! There are always at least 1,000,000 steps between you and street level and no matter how fit you are, you will regret choosing to walk up the escalator approximately a third of the way up. But it’s too late – at the moment you realise this, there will be no space for you to take a side step to the right so you have no choice to push on and stagger off the escalator a sweaty, out of breath mess.
2. How busy it is EVERYWHERE
Where do all of these people come from?? I mean seriously, no matter what time of day it is or where you are, there are always so many people! Of course Waterloo station is going to be busy, people want to see the London Eye and hang out on Southbank but it’s too late, you’re already stuck in the crowd and missed your train out of the hell that is Central London on a weekend!
3. Which bloody exit to use at the station
I’ve worked at Green Park for over 6 months now and still take the wrong exit every now and then. Half way up the stairs I remember these aren’t the ones I usually take but it’s too late and I’m standing on the pavement wondering where the hell I am and how I find my office from here. Who even decided that tube stations should have multiple exits? Why? What were they thinking?
4. That it would have been quicker to walk
There’s a number of things that every Londoner hates to hear but top of that list has to be “Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re just being held here as the train in front is stuck in the next station, we hope to be moving again in a few minutes”. Inevitably, that “few minutes” will be 20 minutes and feel like 20 hours! But it’s not just delays that mean taking the tube is actually slower than walking. You go into the station, down the escalator and then realise you’re at one of the stations where the line you need to get on in is at the end of a mile long tunnel but it’s too late, you’re already down there and, chances are, you’re probably walking in one direction to get on a train that’s travelling in the opposite – you should have just walked.
5. Just how much you hate pigeons
I’ll take a nice little walk through St James’s Park on my lunch break and enjoy the sunshine you think to yourself…sounds perfect. As you stroll through the park you see some birds ahead and you remember how much you hate pigeons, but it’s too late, some little brat is running right into the group of birds and they all fly up and into your face!
6. That it’s always so HOT!
It’s the middle of winter. It looks pretty grey and miserable outside, there’s been rumours of snow. You grab a coat – maybe a hat and scarf – and head out of the house. You get warmer as you walk which you think is great but as you descend the escalator into the tube station you start to feel uncomfortable but you have to dash to get onto the tube before the doors close. That’s when you realise you didn’t need your coat at all…or your cardigan…or the t-shirt underneath but it’s too late you’re already squished into the carriage and there’s not a cat in hell’s chance (which, coincidentally is how you feel right now) of you being able to move enough to be able to wriggle out of your coat let alone any other layers. You have no choice but to stand there and sweat it out!
7. That it rains here too
Sure, it’s bloody boiling here all the time and the underground is nice and dry but you never remember that it still rains in London until it’s too late and you’re on your way out somewhere and get soaked!
8. How quickly time goes
How?!?! Seriously, how does time go so fast?!?! You make plans to see your friends over the next couple of weeks and before you know it, 6 months have gone by and then 12. And then, it’s five years later and everyone has moved out of London to have families and get dogs and live in the countryside and you’re just sat there wondering where the hell the time went.
Note: I was just about to hit publish on this post and noticed that I started drafting it on the 24th January! Point proven!
9. Just how expensive London is
Oh, over £10 for two pints, sure, that seems reasonable. At the end of a crappy day at work, all you fancy is a cold one so you and your work mates grab your coats and head to the nearest bar. You’re chatting away and that’s when you remember how poor you are and how insanely expensive London is. But it’s too late, you’re already being served at the bar and it looks like you’ve offered to get this round in for the whole crew!
10. How beautiful London really is
Despite the above things happening to me on a daily basis, I wouldn’t live anywhere else right now. Just in case you need a reminder of how amazing and beautiful London is, just look outside. Get out there and enjoy it before it’s too late!