Uptown Girl Abroad
You just don't really talk to randoms in London.
At least not willingly.
I'd guesstimate that, at least 43 per cent of the time, if you are talking to a stranger in London you are frightened.
I don't mean to slag off my (still kind of sort of mainly) new city - nutters are everywhere, even Southland - but it feels as if the bigger the city, the less voluntary eye contact.
Involuntary eye contact, on the other hand . . .
London houses a myriad of special spots the unwitting walk - briskly, mind - past regularly.
There's the veritable oasis of waterside bars in Barbican.
Cash machines that distribute pounds in Cockney.
The best brunch ever in Stoke Newington, for a fiver.
An entirely random and seemingly out-of-place artist's collective in posh, leafy Chiswick.
If there's a task more dreaded in London than finding a flat, I'm yet to discover it.
Our lease was almost up, and Mark and I agreed to say sayonara to Southfields. We even bandied about the prospect of finding a place beyond the borders of the tried-and-true Kiwi stomping grounds in the southwest.
Living with continental flatmates would surely be rewarding, if not for cultural enlightenment but the number of familial abodes dotted throughout the northern hemisphere.
Was a Portuguese flatmate really too much to ask for?
Besides that, our requirements were short and sweet: 1. Non- sociopathic flatmates; 2. An absence of urine odour; 3. General non-stabbiness. 4. Not on the District Line.
It's impossible to overstate how seriously the British take the art of queuing.
First, the back story.
A regular occurrence in London is turning down a random street, and coming face to face with a building that makes you go "corrrrrrrr".
Their numbers grow each day - time will tell if the works in progress, which have bizarre names (behold, the Cheese Grater) attract the same accolades as classics like the Swaminarayan Hindu Temple or the Natural History Museum.
Working in what I've been told, repeatedly, is an "iconic" - sincere apologies, Mr Fallow - London building was not at all reassuring during the staff- wide lecture from a policeman in the Met's counter terrorist command.
Although I didn't make it to Oktoberfest proper this year, you can't swing a magenta slipper vamp heel from Topshop (yes, they are fabulous, thanks) in London without hitting a pub.
Even with my throwing arm, finding a substitute wasn't going to be that difficult.
(Fun fact I learned from friends whose lederhosen was Germany-bound: Oktoberfest starts in September. Mind = cannot compute.)
I was invited by some new pals to a "do" thrown by the New Zealand Society, at Kiwi House - which I quickly learned was reputed to have one of the most enviable views in London. That, plus the promise of delicious New Zealand beverages, sounded like a winning combination.
Unfortunately, I learned a life lesson that same week: I am officially An Old now.
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