Give me London or give me… well, maybe New York, I guess, at a push

by Suw on July 12, 2003

Days like today I really miss London. I get such a strong feeling of 'hiraeth', that wistful homesick longing that only the word 'hiraeth' really expresses. I've been speaking Welsh continuously all day, and as I'm typing this my brain is simultaneously chucking up a Welsh translation. Apart from for the word 'simultaneously', though.

Came up for the afternoon to meet up with G, (I don't know why I use people's initials instead of their name), who used to be my Welsh teacher. Haven't seen her in ages, so it was good to catch up. After a pint in a pub on Baker Street we went over to Regents Park, sat under a tree and watched people go by. (In particular this cute bloke who was sitting not so far away reading a book about how to teach people English. I wanted to go and talk to him about whether he was teaching the language or literature, but I didn't have the nerve.)

The weather was just glorious – not a cloud in the sky, hardly a breath of wind, just beautiful sunshine, the kind that makes the world seem perfect. We went boating on the lake for an hour. My, those oars are tricky blighters at times! I got the hang of this rowing lark fairly quickly though, although surely I'll pay for it tomorrow when my shoulders seize up. G managed to lose an oar and we provided an abject lesson to all those around about how impossible it is to row with one oar.

The waterfowl were great. I love ducks. And grebes. I made some really awful grebe jokes (like ?Oh! He’s looking a bit a-grebe-d? and ?I hope we don’t suffer grebe-ous bodily harm?). G looked at me like I was a bit gone out. Not for the first time, and certainly not for the last.

Later we had a coffee at a pavement caf?, looking at all the amazing buildings in the area, then we went for a wander from Baker Street down to St Christopher’s Place, then over Oxford Street to Grosvenor Square where armed policemen stand round the American Embassy looking bored.

I don't know why, but I always feel edgy around policemen with guns. First, I get the irrational urge to confess to everything: regardless of what it was, I did it. OK? Then I find that I want to look at these guns, want to see what a real gun looks like, up close (although not too close, thank you very much). Then I realise that staring at a policeman and his big gun is probably not a wise move so I try to look anywhere but at the policeman or his big gun, which is hard work when they're stood right in front of you. Trouble is, the act of trying not to look at the policeman and his big gun immediately makes me start to feel guilty again.

Men with guns are strange. Particularly ones that cradle them like Blofeld does his cat.

Anyway, we wandered through the sultry evening streets and I got more and more nostalgic for the days when I used to live in London. Ironically, some of the best times I had living in the capital were when I'd just graduated and only just moved there. I was unemployed, but ironically less broke then than I became when I got a job. I temped for a while, ended up working all over London, and used to really love exploring places in my lunch hour. I’d just wander out of the office and hope that I didn’t get so lost that I wouldn’t be able to find my way back.

I remember one night, I was out on what I suppose could be loosely termed a date with a comic called Simon. He was a nice guy, but I was in a wandering mood. We walked for hours through the London summer, climbing over the wall into UCL at one point, just because we could, and legging it out over a fence cos we'd been spotted. I think. I was a bit pissed at the time so frankly anything could have happened. We walked through Bloomsbury. Through Kings Cross. Through Shoreditch (although not, I believe, in that order). Eventually, after a bizarre conversation with an illegal cabbie, we ended up in a comedy club somewhere in East London at about 1am.

I don't know what Simon was expecting from that date, but I don't think it was a six hour exploration of the capital city. Oddly, I never saw him again after that.

People are strange.

So yeah, I'm feeling very nostalgic tonight. I would therefore like to advertise here for a? I was going to say partner, but really I’m just after a source of cash. Must own or rent nice apartment in central London – Mayfair, maybe, or Regents Park; must be happy to keep me in the manner to which I would like to become accustomed; preferably should speak Welsh, be gorgeous and like cats. If you can't manage the being gorgeous and liking cats bit then I must admit there might be a bit of an issue, but the Welsh is negotiable. Just don't be a monoglot English speaker. In return, you’ll get that warm fuzzy feeling of knowing that you’ve made someone’s life much, much better. And frankly, not much else.

Applicants should sent their last three years' accounts, with picture, to me by email.

Let's face it, this is the only way I'll be able to afford to move back to London, and London on a night like tonight, the moon hanging full and red in the deepening blue sky, people bustling everywhere, the streets seething with life, the warm sirocco-like breeze breathing on your skin, it’s worth it. It’s worth every penny. Even the ones I don’t have.

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