Phil suggested I write about what I don’t miss about working in London but I thought in the interests of balance I would write about things I miss as well. When I started to think about it some of the things aren’t as obvious as I first thought.
- I don’t miss the one and three-quarter hour journey that I had to make to work and then the same time it took me to get back home again. That was on a good day! When things went wrong it took a lot longer. The central line was closed completely, for several weeks, when a bolt fell off one of the trains, they all had to be checked, that added at least an hour to the journey. I found it particularly depressing in the Winter. There is something soul-destroying about leaving your home in the dark and getting home again in the dark!
- At the same time I miss that journey for the opportunity it used to give me to read! When you spend more than 3 hours a day on a train that is a lot of reading time. I used to polish off a book in no time at all or I would read the Guardian from cover to cover. I have only read two books in the time I have been here – seriously, but then having kids also eats into your reading time, and I barely manage to read the Dilbert cartoon in the Gulf News.
- This is a weird one – I feel like I miss my family, but actually when I think about it I see more of them now than I did when I lived in London! My family lives a long way from London and I used to have 20 days holiday a year. Now I have 48 days, or something like that, and a paid flight home. I see my family for 3 weeks every summer and Jack comes out to visit me a couple of times a year on top of that so that’s a lot more contact than I ever had when we lived in London. I think though that the distance makes you feel a sense of separation?
- I miss the simplicity with which you could stop off on the way home and get a decent bottle of wine to have with tea. There are only really 2 things that you can’t get here – a decent loaf of bread and a decent bottle of wine.
- I miss my job at the BBC and the people I used to work with but I don’t miss the complications that came with Socialising after work. The rush to get to the station for the last train and the one and three-quarter hour journey home in the company of various drunks and neer do wells, wasn’t always the best end to an evening. I didn’t do it that often.
- That brings me on to another thing I definitely don’t miss. Trains have always had a rather soporific effect on me and on several occasions I slept past my stop. The worst such incident was on one occasion after catching the last train mentioned in number 5 above. I woke with a start to find myself somewhere near Dover! It was raining and I only had a few coins in change, it was in the days before I owned a mobile phone. I used up a couple of these coins phoning taxi companies that had no cars available at that time of night for my location and with a feeling of trepidation had to use my last 20p phoning Haley and waking her up to explain my sad predicament. Haley phoned a taxi for me, they required a credit card number so she gave them hers it seemed like a very long wait in a telephone box (it was raining heavily by then) before the taxi arrived. It also seemed like a very long journey home with a taxi driver who, it seemed to me, found rather excessive amusement in my predicament and never seemed to tire of reminding me how much trouble I was going to be in, with the missus, when I got home! It was also a very expensive journey which was credited to Haley’s card! Actually given the circumstances Haley took the whole incident in remarkably good humour but, no I don’t miss falling asleep on the last train home!