Plus ça change

It has been very strange stomping the streets of London this past couple of weeks; remembering parties, nights out, dates and - ahem - drunken snogs as I wandered through a now very changed West End.  Like most things BC (Before Children), my years of living in the Big Smoke seem like another lifetime, even as though they were lived by a different person.  Which I suppose they were really.  Most odd.

At one point, probably like every 20-something currently resident in the city, I thought I would never live anywhere else.  That I would always want to live in a city with its convenience, continual activity, culture and buzz.  Moscow wasn't wildly different in many respects, yes for me cities were where it was at.  But of course, with maturity (or is it old age?!), the hum and buzz becomes just noise and busy-ness; the brashness of the people makes you yearn for chatty old ladies in bus queues and friendly shopkeepers; the cultural resources remain untapped as yearnings for open vistas and clean air replaces their appeal.  And so we move on, making way for a new generation who cannot imagine ever living anywhere else.

As the five of us, in various combinations, navigated the busy streets, the tubes, the buses, the trains, and the shops of my old stomping grounds these past few days, the appeal of home with its view of the sea, wide open sky and clean, ozone-filled air became stronger and stronger.  Even at my mum's in Buckinghamshire where we stayed there is a hemmed in filling, a lack of space and openness.  So now I say, of course, that I can't imagine ever living anywhere but by the sea!

Not our actual view!
Image courtesy of Strutt & Parker

Of course, not everyone escapes London in their 30s, and there are plenty of people raising families and still enjoying a culture and fun-filled capital life into middle age and retirement, as the listings of property for sale in London attest; but no, definitely not for me.  Although should we win the lottery, maybe we should invest in a little pied-à-terre - it would certainly help with all the Christmas in July-ing!!