London is not dismal!

All across the world when you speak to someone about their home country, you will get a stream of negativity. I have seen this from Australians, Canadians, Germans and now the English. You could argue that there can’t be anything too terrible by this list of countries. They are affluent, high-functioning, first world nations and not war torn, famine-stricken back-waters. In the UK, the most common reaction when a local finds out you have relocated there from the paradise that is Australia is “but WHY!!?? It’s DISMAL here!”

Dismal, what a horrid word and what a sad sentiment to say about ones own country. Defined as causing a mood of gloom and depression. Common synonyms are bleak, cheerless, desolate, dreary, and gloomy.

No country is without it’s problems, big or small. This is the case with the UK. Things are tough for many in the UK. Energy costs are high and inflation is high and yes, the weather is often grey and rainy. In London, the city is grimy, the rental market is insanely competitive and the cost of living vs average earnings makes things very difficult. You could also argue that politicians are lousy people no matter what country you are in. Nevertheless, there is plenty to be positive about.

Big Ben – looking spectacular on a gorgeous blue sky day!

It could be argued that without having some bad times you don’t appreciate the good times as much. Similarly without experiencing some grey and drizzly weather, you don’t appreciate the gorgeous sunny, blue sky days. Weather reporting in the UK is unreliable (apparently there are good meteorological reasons for why forecasts are more difficult in this part of the world). There have been many a day that have been predicted to be rainy but all of a sudden, the clouds will part and the sun and spectacular blue skies emerge. The side effect of the drizzle and rain is a beautiful shade of lush greenery here in the UK. This is something that someone who has lived in the dry parts of Australia really appreciates.

Anyway, the worst of the winter is over and there are the most glorious signs of spring everywhere. There are snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils. The cherry blossoms have come out and they are so enchanting, that it is impossible to say that London is dismal!

Cherry Blossoms in London – Aldgate Square
Snowdrops – the first harbinger of spring!
Turn the snowdrop over! There are all kinds of variations on the inside of the flower. A hidden secret! Exquisite!
Purple Crocuses near Horses Guard Parade
Springtime Daffodils

If you are sick of the cold, grey London weather, one of the best things is that London is a major transport hub. From here, there is so much of the globe which is easily accessible. Perhaps a short trip to the south of Spain for some warmth and Moorish architecture!

London is a massive city and the result is a melting pot of diversity. A huge number of people from all over the world live and work here and also plenty of tourists. The result is a dynamic city with lots of diverse, delicious choices to tickle your fancy in food and events.

An array of paella at the Portobello Road Markets
A lion dance during Chinese New Year blessing a restaurant for a good business year ahead.

There are plenty of other advantages of living in a big city. There are plenty of free and paid events, performances and lectures. There is also loads of opportunities to meet interesting people. The population density also means that the apps like Olio, that helps to reduce food and non-food waste work really well.

Olio is an app which helps prevent waste. Food Waste Heroes collect food which can no longer be sold and help to distribute it into the community. On this night, we got all these lovely Pret items for nothing.

London is very famous for it’s theatre scene. There are so many shows which are playing that the competition is fierce and the talent and quality of the productions outstanding. Whilst it may seem expensive to go to a big name show, there are plenty of ways to score a cheap(er) ticket.

West End Production of Sylvia based on the life of famous feminist activist Sylvia Pankhurst.

London is full of iconic sights. It’s hard to feel dismal when you look up and you see something majestic like Tower Bridge.

Tower of London
Changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace
Victoria Memorial – crowds anxiously waiting for the changing of the guards
A great view of St Paul’s Cathedral from One New Change
City of London Skyline
Tower Bridge – often mistaken for London Bridge. It was painted in browns during the war to minimize visibility to protect it from bombing but was painted since in white, red and blue to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee. An iconic sight in London. Yet, before it was built, there were a huge number of competition entries as to the type of bridge that should be built across the Thames that can allow ships to go through. This bridge could have looked and operated in a completely different way! That’s the beauty of design! Different ways to achieve the same outcome!
Glass walkway on Tower Bridge. You can see the cars and river go past below!
These old motors used to be the way that Tower Bridge was raised to allow boats through. The system has been upgraded and these are no longer being used.
London City Hall
Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey

In addition to the iconic sights are the hidden gems. Walk around, look up, look around and you may see something interesting. Here are some cool places and things in London that I’ve accidentally stumbled across whilst wandering about.

The Iconic Lloyd’s building
Westminster Cathedral
Triton and Dryads Fountain – Regent’s Park

The people in London are kind and friendly people. This has been unexpected. It has not been difficult to meet people who have transitioned from being new acquaintances to being friends.

The public health system in the UK is dysfunctional at times but is free and is very good. The medical staff do their absolute best and are kind, supportive and competent.

When you need to get out of London, the UK is a big country with centuries of history to explore.

Castle Acre Castle
Bailey Gate, Castle Acre built in about the year 1200 and you can drive through it today!

No place is perfect. There will always be good and bad. Hopefully you can look around your life and there are some positive things, some joys, however small in size and that things are not dismal for you.

Love to hear what you think! Thanks!!