Wow – after a whistle-stop trip to London this week I’m safely back home in Scotland. London is a bit of an enigma to me – both foreign and homely, safe and edgy, busy but peaceful, it’s a young city and it’s old and it’s a poor, sad place with sometimes real glimpses of wealth.
This hasn’t been my first trip to London – I go about once a month but I had a bit of free time to walk around the place. I had a meeting around St. Paul’s and since it was a nice, sunny day, I walked back to my hotel around Paddington.
It says that should have taken me about an two hours but I wasn’t in a hurry and stopped to look at a few things on the way. A nice 6 mile trek from the City of London to the West End and Leicester Square, Soho, Mayfair, Oxford St, Hyde Park and Bayswater.
6 miles sounds like a long way when you think about it – but in a good pair of shoes, in the sun and with nothing else to do it’s a sinch.
When you slow down in a city, you start to notice things. If you rush around you don’t appreciate everything. London is a complex city and there are people from all over, doing all sorts of jobs and all sorts of ways for you to spend money. When you are bored of London, you are probably broke by London I say.
One thing that I noticed was the high number of either high-end cars on the roads and the number of chauffeur driven cars (also high-end). I’m not talking about flashy sports cars that the drivers can’t handle. That’s new money. I’m talking about a large number of well healed Londoners who own top of the range Range Rovers (which might cost upwards of £60k). Maybe it’s showing off – maybe it’s not. Maybe they can afford these cars and the congestion fees that come along with them. You don’t really need a 4×4 in London so there’s definitely a bit of conspicuous consumption going on.
Even better was this car I saw around Paddington. If you are going to cover your in a dustsheet – make sure you use a branded one in case people don’t know which car you own. Get yourself a baseball cap too! You’ll look pretty cool
But I found out this week that loads of luxury car owners can’t be bothered or afford to tax their cars. Porsche drivers are the worst offenders (always a poor man’s sportscar if you ask me). So, a lot of these Londoners are fur coat and no knickers. I might be wrong and everyone in London is loaded but I would hazard a guess that given that there are more ways to spend money in London than make money, you need to be pretty disciplined to make your fortune in London Town. And conspicuous consumption like a luxury car is a good indicator that you are not disciplined.
So, I’m glad to be back in Scotland where a sports car is a supped up Ford Focus and luxury means the rust is on the outside of your car. London’s a fine place to visit but I don’t think I could live there – and I was only in the nice places this week – most of it is proper horrible and very expensive!
What do you think of London – how do you cope? What’s it like living there? Let me know and get in touch.