Coming Back To London

London, Observatory

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Summer’s end saw me selling my house in France and moving back to London. I’ll miss many things, but one of them won’t be the culture shock of arriving back in King’s Cross.
On my last return I bade farewell to my happy, healthy summer pals and dressed in grey once more. I spent several lifespans at airport check-in behind a sunburned hulk in a sleeveless top as he tried to blag his way on board with hand luggage the size of a desk.
I was served by an Easyjet trollista who had clearly decided to abandon his actual job (dispensing nuts and holding up tuna baps) for a career as a comedian.
I disembarked behind a girl who urgently needed to call someone on her mobile and discuss makeup purchases before the plane had finished taxiing to a stop.
I arrived in Luton needing a pint of milk and some teabags, to find twenty drunks returning from a stag weekend in Latvia queuing to buy porn mags in the only open shop. For reasons known only to themselves had chosen to dress as Vikings, although some were wearing grass hula skirts.
I sat in a train carriage that looked like it had been used to ferry incontinent survivors from a major disaster area, and rubbed grit from my eyes as Kestrel cans rolled across the aisle. At West Hampstead, several teenagers who appeared to be sartorially trapped in the Ali G era boarded the train with their own sound systems. Next to me, an American couple clutched their bags and peered anxiously through the graffiti, searching the dim platforms for signage.
At the King’s Cross platform, two inebriated gentlemen of the road were singing an Arctic Monkeys cover into Budweiser bottles. Outside, everything looked like it had been sprayed in wet dust. Someone was slumped over an illuminated traffic island bollard being sick. Several hundred people who had been held captive in the Egg nightclub over the holiday weekend were weaving their shell-shocked way towards the tube. That Austrian girl who’d been locked in a cellar for ten years had looked healthier. I joined a troop of bag-dragging tourists and waded waist-deep through flyers and beer cans until I reached my front door, where someone was having a pee.
The upside to this miserable London welcome was that I’d missed the whole of Big Brother. It’s great to be back.

6 comments on “Coming Back To London”

  1. Jennifer says:


  2. I.A.M. says:

    Mistake â„–1: you flew EasyJet through Luton. Everything else falls into place after that.

  3. Helen Martin says:

    Perhaps it’s just England. At 5 am last Sunday we came into the lobby of our London hotel preparatory to checking out only to find two girls in skimpy lingerie trying to find (via cellphone)a place to stay. They had made themselves undesirable and the hotel was kicking them out. They were not allowed to go up to get their clothes and luggage until the manager came on duty and they were begging one of their “friends” to come back and get them. We met the friends out on the sidewalk. They were throwing up all over the sidewalk. Euston Station had security people going through waking up the overnighters, who admittedly made no trouble. The express to Gatwick was thoroughly quiet. The airport was very busy, but no weirdness at all (if you discount the girl offering chocolate samples at 6 am). Our plane went mechanical so we had an hour’s delay, but there were pleasant people to chat with and not a rotten child to be heard. The flight was a peaceful ten hours. The food was tasty (I don’t expect gourmet) and the staff were pleasant. Vancouver airport was busy and a new digital scanning of passports was being tried. No problem. They didn’t even lose our luggage. British stations handle taxi queuing better and the signage for British customs is better than ours but at lrast no one tasered anyone. We discovered there had been small children on our flight, children who must have slept the whole way. You must pick the wrong airlines/airports/destinations, Chris.

  4. Steve says:

    However, it doesn’t hold a candle to Swansea at 3:00 AM….!

  5. David Read says:

    *sniff* you make us lads in the country yearn to get back to the big smoke…

  6. Rodney Askew says:

    thanks for that mate! awesome idea and thoroughly interesting read. ive been trying to convince my mates that we should have a proper curry night in instead of going out every week, and actually did it last week. well good success it was, i can tell you! i found a tasty chicken and vegetable and a few others from this wicked curry recipe site, and even made the naan meself too. who said guys cant cook!

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