2,300 days as a London Resident

55,200 hours / 3,312,000 minutes / 198,720,000 seconds, or thereabouts

That’s it! I’m going!

I’m a ball of nostalgia, excitement, sadness, nerves and anxiety. Making this pretty picture last night when I couldn’t sleep helped me through a few hours, at least.

My London in  6 years, 3 months, and 17 days (1)

This last week as I’ve travelled on the underground I’ve been unable to stop playing a little game I invented called ‘Pin the Memory on the Tube Map’. As therapy for me I thought I’d share a brief version… 

Pin the Memory on the Tube Map

My London journey started in Camden. I got a dream job in what had always been my favourite place in London and found an awesome Heartbreak High style house. My new housemates and I went out to the new club Proud on my first weekend – I partied in a stable with Lily Allen, Adele, Peaches and Pixie Geldof, The Horrors – it was amazing.

“Ah London life, this is what I was made for”

Leaving London Camden

Shame the job turned out to be a bunch of grads running the place while the bosses went off sailing in Cornwall –  we regularly had to work until 10pm, even 2am at one point. At least I made some of the best friends I’ll ever have here. Every cloud.

Leaving London

Also a shame that the only celeb spots in the next 6 years and 3 months included Denise Van Outen, Laurence Llewellyn Bowen, Matthew Wright and Mikita Oliver. I saw Keira Knightley on a train once on my way to Birmingham, Pete Docherty in a restaurant and I’ve seen Alexa Cheung about 5 times, we’re practically bezzas.

Anyway, as I came to find was normal in London the landlord booted us out to redecorate. I spent a month sharing a flat with a French girl right in the centre of Camden, her boyfriend used to stay over too. Oh the fun. I moved in with a girl from the netball team I captained in Arsenal – she let me stay for free. That was a great few months. Alas, as I also came to find was normal on my London adventure she decided to up and leave and go back to Manchester for work. Quitter.

I had a great time in my first few months in London – partying, dating, eating, picnicking, chilling, exploring – every day was an adventure.

I moved to East Finchley, big mistake. I was out in the sticks and thanks to my housemate leaving the window open my precious laptop was stolen. It sucked living here, but meeting my boyfriend on a work night out sure brightened life up a bit.

As soon as possible I moved back down to Holloway. I loved it there. I cycled to work and was near enough to Angel for after work drinks and dinners. I have fond memories of those first few months of a relationship and really feeling like I belonged to London in that house with a community of friends from netball and work just a short walk away.

My London

That was until I was made redundant in the recession – best thing that could’ve happened. My boyfriend and I decided to go travelling so I managed to move out just before I was kicked out for too many house parties. Four months in Europe followed.

Back, penniless, homeless and jobless we moved in with my boyfriend’s mum in St John’s Wood. This little arrangement lasted 3 and a 1/2 years, oops. We enjoyed cheap shopping visits to Kilburn High Road, weekend lunch dates in Notting Hill, loving picnics in Primrose Hill and walking to the fortnightly double bill visits to Cineworld in Haymarket. 

Back to the tube map and I remember sweaty Holborn station, from when I used to work at HostelBookers. That was a good year. My first foray into online journalism and I have many happy memories of innocent drinks at The Old Nick afterwards, that soon turned into absolute carnage.

I see Charing Cross where I had my first date with W., at Gordons. I’m sure lots of people in London can lay claim to that being where the love began. Classic date night destination.

I remember lazy Sundays in West Hampstead, curries in Brick Lane, after work drinks in Highbury and Islington, oh that time I worked at the BBC in White City – every morning I’d be amazed I worked there, by elevenses I couldn’t wait to leave. Paddington, the start of all my Heathrow adventures. Euston to go to my parents house. Liverpool Street – the first point of call for Shoreditch when I first moved here. Waterloo, to change for work in New Malden – a mere 1 hour 10 minutes from home on Abbey Road at the time. I did that for 18 months. Way too much time spent on trains.

And my final home in the Big Smoke Vauxhall, surprisingly now one of my favourite places in London but totally underrated by everyone else. It’s one of the best places I’ve lived in London but for me it will forever be full of sadness for everything I thought my life was going to be.

Victoria – my name, ever the joke for others when I’m around (‘haha, I’m in Victoria’ / ‘stand next to that sign’), my landing point when I used to visit by coach from uni in Sheffield and now the launching point for the rest of my life. This is it!

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