Sunday 12th September
As I counted down the days until my departure from the UK, the excitement I felt about my forthcoming adventures in Europe and, eventually, New Zealand was inevitably tempered by sadness towards the things I would be leaving behind. In these early days, it’s hard to know what I’ll miss most about the UK, England and London specifically. But, just for the hell of it, I’m going to make a list of the things I think I will. And in a while I’ll tell you if I was right or not…
Family, friends – obviously. Pubs. Pints. Phone boxes (the classic red ones, and maybe those cool black ones that pop up in Westminster – not those tacky new budget TARDIS versions). The Guardian. The music press, apart from Q. The BBC. Fish ‘n’ chips. Match of the Day. London buses, when they turn up. Early evening walks through Regents Park. Maida Vale – the place I told everyone I lived when it was actually the slightly grittier Maida Hill. The shopkeepers that knew me. The staff in the café near work who knew what “the usual” was. The diversity of people and colours and accents. Sheffield United and trips up north on East Midlands Trains (particularly the free biscuits in first class). Gigs. Culture on your doorstep. Walking across the Thames, a different experience from every bridge. A full English. The delight when a full English came with hash browns. The sense of humour. Rainy autumn days (viewed from the comfort of your living room). 6 Music. Five Live. The variety of cuisines. The handful of independent record shops that are left. The absurdity of so much of the politics.
I’m sure there are more. But I guess I’ll find out about them when I miss them. For the moment, I’m just excited about the new things I’m going to discover on my travels with Ms Miller. And to be honest, I don’t feel like I’ve really left home, just that I’m embarking on a rather lengthy holiday… and who wants to go home when they’re on holiday?