23/02/2023 by Dave Robson 0 Comments
You can't hurry love
London is one helluva place! How did I ever manage to live there?
You can't hurry love
I went up to London twice last week (I live 100 miles away in deepest Wiltshire now) and as we approached via Hammersmith, Chiswick and Fulham, the place seemed completely mad and totally chaotic. I can hardly believe I used to live there for almost 70 years. I must have been crazy. How did I ever manage it? What a nightmare.
And yet I have a soft spot for London and probably always will have because London is my home town. I knew that moving to a village near Salisbury would be a challenge and quite an adjustment would be required, and that was one of the reasons I moved here. I wanted a new adventure, and that’s exactly what I’ve got! And oh boy, what a culture shock it was at first, especially as Covid hit only about a year after we moved in and all of a sudden we were in lockdown!
The hardest thing for me moving to a semi-rural village next to a genteel market town was the almost total lack of cultural diversity. For example, there are very few people of colour around here. If you want to meet people from the Indian sub-continent you have to go to one of the few Indian restaurants (no hardship there). Likewise there are three Thai restaurants, which are the only places you’ll see Thai people, and there seem to very few people around of African ethnicity. There seem to be a few more Chinese and in the summer, quite a few Japanese tourists. It hadn’t occurred to me that it would be like this and found it very hard to get used to.
The rich cultural diversity and throbbing creative scene are two of the best things about London. It’s very churchy round here, mainly I suspect because of the world famous Salisbury Cathedral, and if you like choral music and organ music, which I do, the music scene here is terrific. But there’s only so much of the religious stuff a bloke can take before becoming rebellious and stir crazy. Let me put it like this: when the Rolling Stones are touring the UK, they never schedule a stop at Salisbury, by which I mean that high quality popular contemporary live music is very hard to come by here, unless of course you like English or Irish folk music.
As it happens I enjoy both of those and I am delighted to say the folk music scene in Salisbury does seem to be waking up at last, albeit cautiously after the pandemic. After all, as I mentioned in my last post, we did have a wonderful performance by Sharon Shannon a week or so ago, and there is talk of a forthcoming gig by Altan, another great traditional Irish band, later in the year.
So do I fit in here? Will I ever be able to hear the heartbeat of this city and the village where I live and get in sync with it? I believe I’m just beginning to feel it, though I have a feeling it will take at least three generations before the Robsons can consider themselves to be country people, but slowly, very slowly, I’m getting to know a few people. Ah well, I suppose you can’t hurry love!
All of which goes to prove the old adage, “you can take the boy out of London, but you can’t take London out of the boy”. London is my home town and always will be. I used to love it and hate it in equal measures but now I no longer live there but am free to visit as a tourist who knows all the best places, the balance is tipping in favour of the love side and away from the hate side. London is one helluva place, never dull and certainly never bland, but you know what? I'm begining at last to develop a sneaking affection for Salisbury and the Wiltshire countryside.
For starters it’s got a great cathedral and there are some seriously excellent choirs. And we have found at least one excellent Indian restaurant and some pretty good fish and chips. And there are two places now offering falafel - that's diversity! And a couple of kebab shops.
Oh, and there’s a great market. Maybe I’ll write about that next time...