1 year in London

14 07 2010

River Thames by will_hybrid

I can’t quite believe that a whole year has been and gone since we moved to London. On the one hand it feels like no time at all has passed since we moved, on the other, Canterbury feels a lifetime away!

It only seems appropriate to offer a few thoughts on how my life has changed this past year. Just the first five that come to mind, in no particular order.

Since living in London:

  • I’ve seen more theatre – I’ve felt more creative, as I’ve had a stream of incoming inspiration over the year. I’ve seen 16 shows since I’ve been here (taking full advantage of the £5 tickets for under 26 year olds… sadly no longer applicable!) from great classics, to new writing. Highlights include The Mysteries Yiimimangaliso, The Habit of Art and the McKellan/Rees production of Waiting for Godot. Lowlights include the thoroughly dull Power of Yes (how its author won a knighthood for anything other than sheer sympathy I have no idea!?!) and The Mousetrap which had the most tired, listless and lazy cast known to man. Additionally, we’ve been to see standup comedy, a classical concert and open air street theatre. As a result…
  • I’ve written far more – The benefit of seeing creative material is that it provokes you to be more creative yourself. I’ve seen things this year that have sparked new ideas. I’ve seen things that have honed my opinion of the kind of theatre I want to, and definitely don’t want to, be involved in. And if nothing else, I’ve now got a new goal and impetus to write – if Sir David Hare can get his thoroughly dull scriptwork onto the stage at the National Theatre unchallenged, there’s clearly something lacking in the drama world!
  • I’ve read far more – The tube journey has helped me to get through far more books than in previous years. I’ve learnt to be both more selective about  what I read, and also to read wider. I’ve learnt to read books differently – some slowly to take in every drop of nourishment they have to offer, and some lightly, sifting the wheat from the chaff and gleaning the little of use. I’ve got good at reading standing up, one arm clutched around a pole, trying to stay balanced. The notes in my books have become even less legible.
  • I’ve realised I have a higher work capacity than I knew – Simply having a faster pace of life, and a greater workload has made me realise how much latent potential I never tapped into. I’d always thought I was busy previously, and I was, but now a year on my productivity is far higher. It’s probably a combination of necessity (I have to go up a gear to get through the increased workload) and occasion (I have the opportunity to be stretched in new ways.) It’s also made me aware of my tendency toward workaholism, if not kept in line!!
  • My marriage has improved – You may want to ask my wife for her opinion! But I think being in London has helped my marriage in a number of ways. We no longer work in the same room, 2 feet from one another, which means we actually have something to talk about at the end of the day! Early on we had to get used to spending more time together – we didn’t have our natural friendship groups to fall back on. So we’ve learnt to really enjoy each others’ company again. We’ve been able to do new things together, and to pursue old hobbies to a new level (Helen had never been to a classical concert before, we now have access to new restaurants and exotic foods to cook etc). And it’s the first time we’ve been able to share an adventure together from scratch. Previously we had both lived in Canterbury, both developed friendship groups, ministry roles and habits which we brought together into marriage. Now in London we have started from a clean slate and learnt what suits us both. I think it’s helped immeasurably.

There are many things I could add to this (I haven’t mentioned my job or my church for example) but over-all my feeling toward this past year has been positive and thankful. Leaving Canterbury, my home of 7 years, wasn’t easy, but it was right. And though I miss both the place and the people, I’m glad to be in London… And looking forward to year two!




3 responses

14 07 2010
Corporate photographer London

We have been thinking of moving back to London. More of my work is in central London and I dont really enjoy spending most of my day commuting. Interested in the part about it helping the marriage, as after the commute too tired to discuss the day. Grant

14 07 2010

Hi Grant – I can’t claim it works for everyone! But I’ve certainly found it helpful. I do work in the same office block as my wife, so we actually make our 45 min commute together, which is useful. We try to debrief on the train and keep work talk out of the home… It doesn’t always work quite like that, but it’s a nice ideal for us to aim for!

14 07 2010
matthew Hosier

Ah, just imagine how much you’ll have to write about once you move to Poole!

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