With an official move date of April 3rd for my return to London, I've got a lot on my mind. You know…just a few small matters like selling my stuff, finding a flat, ensuring my shoes have safe passage to the mother land. There's also the culture shock to prepare for, the adjustment period you need when you move from a city with a population of half a million to a city of 7.5million people. Thankfully, I've done it all before, so I know what to expect.
1. Day wear on steroids
When I got back to Oz, I went to a job interview in leather pants, a power blazer and 6 inch leopard print heels. In London in the fashion industry, totally appropriate. When you're being interviewed by a dude in his 70s at 8:30 in the morning in Hobart, if his watery disapproving gaze is any indication, it's too much.
In the morning, the only thing that makes me happier than coffee, is choosing an outfit. London is the kind of place where anything goes, a place where possibilities are endless and scornful looks are reserved for the the guy who tried to take the last Pret yoghurt. One day you'll wear trainers with a pencil skirt, the next a silk kimono and biker boots.
BRING. IT. ON.
2. Look away, for the love of God, LOOK AWAY!
These days on my lovely evening walks when I pass other people taking in the fresh air, you know couples holding hands, people with kids or dogs or fish and chips, I like to smile and greet them with a warm Hello. If you are contemplating this behaviour in London, then imagine my voice (a husky, Australian drawl) shouting ABORT! ABORT!
The only strangers who look at you for more than two seconds or talk to you unprompted, are weirdos. If they are not trying to steal from you or touch you without your consent, they're definitely contemplating following you home. They probably also smell. Don't be that person.
3. All food is available in an easy cook tray
I pretty much forgot how to cook for a while. I lived around the corner from a Waitrose, I lived alone and I worked weird and long hours…if food didn't come in a tray I could throw in the oven and then throw away, I wouldn't have eaten.
Because everything is available in a package, tray or tub, you start feeling like even opening a tin is just TOO MUCH EFFORT. It's not good for the environment, I'll grant you, but eventually your perfect day consists of lying around in your underwear eating microwave pudding and you justify it by saying 'Well I saved a whole bunch of water by not showering, so…I guess we're even Earth'***
4. Less bugs
The most common question I get asked about living in Australia relates to our international reputation for being positively overrun by snakes and spiders. Snakes, I mean they're out (like the truth), but not so much where I live. Spiders are a different matter. Right now I'm looking at a spider the size of my hand, just chilling on my wall. Same kind of spider I ejected from my car last Friday night in my reusable coffee cup****. No wonder the Brits are afraid to come here!
I knew I'd really assimilated to British lifestyle when I heard a strange rustling, like a plastic bag, in my room in the middle of the night. Instead of arming myself with gloves and a shoe as I would have in Australia, I just rolled over and went back to sleep.
They're everywhere, but you get used to it after a while. Like less pointing and gawking and sneaky phone photos, more subtle side ways glances. I saw Dame Judi Dench in Selfridges so many times I almost felt like giving her a special nickname just for us (Judelicious? Denchy? Tiny Damester?). This is not me bragging. I worked there, she was a customer, I don't flatter myself that she could identify me in a lineup. At least Jude and I never had a moment as mortifying as the time I shouted at a colleague 'I saw your dance moves earlier', but accidentally made eye contact with Stella McCartney AT THE EXACT SAME TIME, so she thought I was shouting at her.
My point here, is the first celebrity I see when I get back is gonna feel the wrath of my 18 month absence. Selfies, shrieking only dogs can hear, possibly tears. I frickin hope it's Cher. I mean, she doesn't even live there but I would just DIE.
***I love the planet, we gotta look after it. For a while there I used to turn the shower off while my conditioner soaked in, until the drought broke anyway. Also, I'm an avid recycler. For god's sake people, if you're not thinking of your children's future, think of my unborn drama queens/kings
****See, I told you. Reusable coffee cup. BOOM.
Image via KCKRS