Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner by Jane Lawson

January 17, 2015

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner....

 

Well, actually I am and I'm not. I was born in Nottingham, but I've been a Londoner for more than forty years and that qualifies me. In fact, living in the most diverse city on earth, most Londoners reckon that six months or so is a good enough to counted as one of us.  And for the residents of Charlton Parkside we see ourselves as a very special and important part of this great city.

 

 

To be a Londoner is a great privilege. There are eight million of us living within the greater London boundary and this population is swelled by 30 million foreign tourists each year. There over 300 languages spoken by its residents. It's the home of some of the most iconic sights in the world  from St Paul's to the Shard and from The Tower to The Tate.  Its inhabitants have been described throughout the centuries as noisy, awkward, contentious and ill disciplined, but also as generous, innovative, lively and open minded. 

 

All this is true, but most Londoners would say that actually we are composed of a large number of villages which just happen to have merged into each other. Each separate village, be it Hampstead or Hackney, Greenwich or Golders Green, Charlton or Chelsea its own unique identity and its loyal and partisan population.  

 

Being a Londoner means that one can have the warmth of the small community that makes up one's own locality and yet have all the benefits that this great city offers. The cultural opportunities are immense from concerts of all kinds, art galleries, museums, great architecture, the finest parks and open spaces, 43 Universities,  14 league football clubs and countless numbers of other clubs, societies and organisations. There is never an excuse for having nothing to do.

 

And, of course, there is the accent!  The old Cockney voice isn't gone yet and to those of us with a sharp ear it's quite easy to tell if the speaker is from north or south of the water, but you will hear all accents and languages if you sit on a London bus for an hour or two watching the cityscape and eavesdropping on a few conversations. You'll see a huge variety of costumes too from the colourful printed fabrics of Nigeria to the elegance of a sari or the sharp dresser at the cutting edge of fashion. 

 

And another glory of London is the food. With such a diverse population you can choose to enjoy the authentic cuisine of hundreds of nations and if your choice is plain English you can dine in style at Wilton's or the Rib Room, or choose pie and mash or jellied eels in the East End.    

 

Most importantly of all, London is the seat of government. Love it or loathe it this is where the decisions are made, and the continuing tensions between the City of London and the City of Westminster are just as strong today as ever they were. 

 

And running through all this is London's greatest glory, the Thames; England's longest river at 215 miles long is one of the very few names which survive from pre Roman times. 

 

Are there any downsides? Well, of course there are. The crush on the rush hour tube cannot be recommended and neither can the experience of being stuck on the M25. And it does take too long to get into the lovely countryside of  Kent or Essex.

 

But for those of us who are Londoners we wouldn't swap it for the world.

 

So, I'm off up the apples to get my new dickie, just hoping my cheeky saucepan don't put his daisies all over it!

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Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner....

 

Well, actually I am and I'm not. I was born in Nottingham, but I've been a Londoner for more than forty years an...

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner by Jane Lawson

January 17, 2015

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