Forget the Footnotes

10 things I love about life in London

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“The man who is tired of London,” said Samuel Johnson, ” is tired of life.” I am, I have to admit, tired of London. What does that mean? Well, of course Johnson was writing at a time when London symbolised all there was of excitement and cosmopolitanism. The alternative was to live in a hovel somewhere in the English countryside. The alternatives are a bit different today. The person who is tired of London just might get a real kick out of New York, or Shanghai.

Anyway, there are some things I’ll dearly miss about our life in London. These are the top ten:

  1. our house, although it never got finished and always was too small and full of toys everywhere.
  2. shopping on Green Lanes, Harringay. Especially Baldwin’s, the world’s best butcher, and Yasar Halim, with its amazingly juicy carrots.
  3. South Harringay Infant School — which provided a warm, welcoming and endlessly encouraging educational environment for our four Swedish-American children and the children of 53 other ethnic groups.
  4. my students at the LSE.
  5. CBBC — the last bastion of intelligent television.
  6. stodgy puddings with custard.
  7. Ed, our electrician. The only practicing Menonite electrician in London who also is a drop-out from Peterhouse College, Cambridge.
  8. Jeremy Hardy on the News Quiz. Linda Smith too.
  9. sitting on the top of dubble-decker buses. It’s still fun, ten years later.
  10. listening to Radio 4 while making coffee in the morning.


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