It is 11.40am and the Stansted Express service starts up and pulls out of Liverpool Street Station as if by magic. I love an on time train.
We are heading to Guernsey (and no, I still haven’t read THAT book…) for a few days and I’m looking forward to it enormously. While I’ve loved London, it’s been the pleasure of revisiting favourite spots rather than the excitement of seeing something completely new. Watching the suburbs of north east London roll by the window gives a sense of perspective. This, after all is the sort of place where most Londoners live, not the rarified suburbs immediately surrounding the city, nor the fancy hotels where tourists stay for a week and then move on.
We are passing Saturday morning football, including one field that’s laid out more like I would expect to see netball courts – rows of fields set up in an enormous park and buzzing with hundreds of players and parents. It’s a lovely glimpse into everyday family life that looks (probably unsurprisingly) not entirely unlike my own.
I am conscious of this at home in Sydney as well, that visitors rarely see beyond the iconic tourist sites and monuments. We’ve tried to counter this a little by walking as much as possible in London, to get some sense of what it’s like for the people living and working in and around the city. Still, it’s hard to go past the iconic images – so here’s a few for you