Monday, 3 April 2017


It's been a while since I arrived in London, 3 months of a blur in fact. A lot has happened, my life has changed and I have stories to share.

I should have shared them when they happened, but London doesn't provide the kind of downtime I had in the desert. Indeed rather than wonder what to do with myself, there is always something to do.

But before I get into wearing undies on the underground or who punched who in the face, I want to share some of the basic observations that make Mum's happy.

Everything is made of bricks. Everything.

There's insulation, double glazing and central heating.. New Zealand, these are things you could learn from.

Almost all the cars are fancy European ones, VW, Mercedes, BMW, Renault.. I'm beginning to forget what a Honda was.

People are quite happy to drive them up the centre of the road and park them every which way in all directions, road markings be damned!

London is pretty flat, there are a lot of cyclists and I haven't seen a single one of them wearing a helmet. Cyclists are also completely immune to the effects of traffic lights or pedestrian crossings.

The supermarkets are much cheaper than New Zealand, including the New Zealand produce.. figure that one out.

Dining out however is extortionate. I unexpectedly paid 18 pounds to satiate my craving for fish 'n' chips.. about NZ$35 for a piece of crappy fish, some chips and a lemon fizzy drink. Never again.

People love to talk about what part of London they're from, which part they currently live in and which part they'd like to live in. Welcome to the most boring conversation of my life and know that when it comes up, which it inevitably will, that's at least an hour you're not getting back.

Did I mention everything is made of bricks? I was constantly asked when I first arrived which parts of London I liked, but initially I couldn't tell one brick from another. While I'm now more aware of the subtleties, there's still an awful lot of bricks.

Public transport is king and it's marvellous. The amazing thing is how Londoners like to complain about it, a 3 minute delay is met with collective groans, with the astonishing fact there's a train every other minute seemingly lost on them. I would love to see what they thought of their transport after living in Auckland for a bit.

There are a lot less cats, or so it seems to me. I actually live near a cat which is famous for hanging out at the local mini supermarket, not that I've met him, but the fact he's so well known only adds to his mystique. They do have foxes and squirrels though! There's also an inordinately large number of sausage dogs which you share the tube, bus, supermarket and pub with.. people take them everywhere.

There are very few KFC's, unable, I expect, to compete with the plethora of cheap and nasty 'chicken shops' which are absolutely everywhere. One even has its own TV show, a hidden camera in a chicken shop which highlights the eccentricity of their clientele.

Shoes here are also much cheaper, people take them seriously and you don't often see anyone wearing anything that doesn't look new.

The weather is better than people think, it's certainly better than the locals make it out to be. I suspect too many trips to the south of France may have tainted people's expectations, or perhaps people simply revel in the one thing they can agree upon.. a commonality in deriding the weather no matter how good it may be.

Although it's frustratingly difficult to get clothes dry when the sun's not out or the heating's not on given my place has no outdoors of its own.

You can forget about having phone reception indoors.

And finally, despite driving on the left, they walk on the right side of the footpath.. ffs.

Anyway, I made a quick list of 20 stories which should have been told, so hold onto your butts, cause while some of it's funny, some stuff gets rough.

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