I may be a Londoner by birth but since I was very small it has never been my home. Instead I’ve roamed settling for a few years here and there, although London has been a constant feature in my life through family who live here or the 7 years I commuted in from Surrey and Oxfordshire to work.
For a long time I was completely out of love with London. The crowds, the crime and sheer enormity of the place made it so unappealing; it wasn’t until I visited in 2012 for the London Olympics that I fell in love with it all over again. Coming back for this trip I wondered whether the Olympic glow would have worn off but it hasn’t. Perhaps it’s the good weather but London feels vibrant and embracing once more.
Spotting all the familiar landmarks flying across London in the last minutes of my flight from New Zealand makes you realise how green London is. The birds-eye view showed large parks and green spaces that you might not otherwise be aware were there. Thanks to enlightened Georgians and Victorians in the 18th and 19th century, London has vast parks and gardens that breath natural life into the city although in the 21st century most Londoners are trapped in tightly squeezed hard landscape with no green space in sight although I am pretty sure they wouldn’t have to walk far to enjoy a garden, park or landscaped space.
Wandering through Hampstead Heath with my nephews is a far cry from roaming the country parks of Kaitoke but still a wonderful place to be with them.