Things I miss and don’t miss about working in London

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.

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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?
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.
  6. 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! 
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2 Responses to Things I miss and don’t miss about working in London

  1. Michele says:

    Like the comment about bread and wine….and totally agree. Funny though that Jesus managed to make bread and wine go a long way….and that was way back when in the good ol’ middle east.

    And I have endured enough of the NSW Railway System to last a lifetime. Many long train trips in Sydney and many books read too.

    Look forward to your next blog entry.

  2. Blanche says:

    Nice blog and idea Chris and I’m sure very therapeutic.

    You are definitely right about going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark being soul destroying. I had that at Lyndalware and was stuck in an office without a window all day, horrible.

    Books definitely are good an extremely good reward for a lonely life!

    I bet that taxi driver told that story to his passengers for ever more 😉

    Maybe you could do some thoughts about the people in this worlds strange obsession with football. I hate it but must admit it has it’s good points. I do think though that all this loving and hating various colours is not the road to go down!!

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