Friday, 6 August 2010

Tick tock, tick tock...time for a holiday

The longer I have lived in London, the later I become. No matter whether I am visiting my local Benugo cafe, or a friend’s house perching on the outskirts of the Underground map (this colourful web acts strangely like a 'safety net', marking my city boundaries). Admittedly however, save for family occasions or weddings, I rarely venture beyond Zone 2. Insular? Perhaps. But I am a city girl from EC1.

Back to the lateness. I know I’m not alone. Perhaps a lazy nonchalant attitude, which materialises when you live in close proximity to an abundance of restaurants, cinemas, shops, galleries; any destination those you are meeting are likely to suggest. It’s very similar to living near school (as I did), or knowing your lecture hall is next door to your dormitory (which I did). You are fully aware that the well-practised journey from bed to desk, books-in-hand, comfortably takes 15 minutes... which is why you start allowing yourself 14, 13, 12, 11, 10 minutes. Until you become late. Now, when it comes to crucial meetings or events, I go so far the other way that my arrival one hour prior equals a waste of time and too much caffeine (sound familiar? Stick to the weaker hit of Starbucks...)

So why then, in everyday life, can we sometimes fail to keep up with London’s hectic pace? Evidently, Londoners are busy. We all seem to be taking on more at work and play and are desperate to maintain eclectic social lives so that we remember why we're working so hard. Perhaps that’s a downside of living near everything and everyone; it’s difficult to say no. Our days are suddenly one long race, from cursing that shrill alarm to re-setting it later. Sure, there is a secret thrill in imagining that it’s possible to get from A to B in many less minutes than is actually achievable; as though you were some superhero that could command tubes/buses/cabs (or just run very fast). But I don’t like to think of myself as regularly so irresponsible. I suggest that London itself is (partly) to blame. City-dwellers elsewhere may understand when I say that we become conditioned to live at a certain speed and this throws our sense of time off-kilter. Can you remember when you didn’t sigh with impatience, because the next tube wasn’t due within 3 minutes? Or when you could navigate your path to work across the ‘wobbly’ bridge, because snap-happy tourists weren't capturing the magical morning? And how about the ‘dawdlers’ (normally seen around Oxford Circus). People who must absolutely reside outside of London, because the idea that you should stop in the middle of one of the most over-populated pavements to window-shop or text a friend, is not what any ‘conditioned’ Londoner would do. 

So perhaps, when one particular line of London’s colourful web is suspended mid-travel (as I experienced twice this week), it’s quite a sobering and healthy reminder to pause, lose the impatience and simply allow more time. Stop expecting life to happen in a flash. After all, why would we want that? London has far too many amazing sights and experiences to enjoy along the way. Maybe I should conduct an experiment and become an Oxford Street dawdler for the day... it could be enlightening.
To my delight, I am heading to the South of France today (I do love London, but occasionally you need a break). Slowing down is exactly what’s on the menu (along with steak-frites, strong espressos and Seberg-style shopping). Please send your recommendations of places to visit/eat/shop in Provence, our first stop. I will try my very best to keep in touch while away and share some further city adventures (and possibly, yes, some more rural ones too!) 

(The state of my packing so far. My 'slowing down' efforts will be delayed by approximately 2 hours. Following a traumatic holiday arrival earlier this year, when my suitcase was mistakenly collected by another passenger, I am wondering whether these ribbons and headscarves will distinguish it more clearly, if not scare people away...)

I will be celebrating stunning summer weddings, chic new clothing labels and introducing a new feature on my blog, Ask City Girl

I will also be  anticipating (with great excitement) the 54th BFI London Film Festival (13 - 28 October 2010). If you thought this was an event open solely to the media or film industry, think again! You are in for a cinematic treat. Sign up to the mailing list here to receive information on screenings, gain access to clips and enter competitions. And that's not to mention the amazing prize-draw you'll be entered into, to win the ultimate Film Festival experience: accommodation, transport and tickets to the star-studded red carpet Galas! Yes please.

Don't forget, there are still 4 days left to win tickets to see My Night with Maud at the BFI.

See you soon!

Images: 1) Transport for London, 2) Starbucks, 3) BBC, 4) my own, 5) BFI.

1 comment:

  1. Have a lovely time in France! I just got back from Lyon, my hometown, which I highly recommend if you do happen to be in the area.. Especially the "old Lyon" area, it's really lovely! Otherwise, I think that Montpellier is quite nice, or Aix-en-Provence, they have great food(such as the sweets called Calissons and Nougat, possibly my two favourite things ever!)



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