Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Maybe It's Because You're a Londoner (That You Forget Other Places Exist)

I am entertaining again this week. Once more I shall be the hostess with the mostess and welcoming my friends as they arrive at Lukaland for a few days of over-indulgence. Many of these are friends from London. They have to come to visit me as I refuse to visit them. I hate the city.

Not that they mind. I live in a spectacularly beautiful place and am blessed with idyllic surroundings a million miles removed from the grimy, litter-strewn streets of London. No advertising hoardings here, no gum-caked pavements, no filthy blasts of diesel fumes from thundering buses, no crushes of bodies swarming mindlessly for a tube train because there won't be another for at least - oh - two minutes. It is peaceful here, it is green, lush, full of wildlife and friendly people with whom you can make eye contact, or idle conversation in the post office.

Yes, my London chums enjoy their escapes to the country and happily indulge my reluctance to travel to them. I have been unable to cure the other few million London-dwellers of their insular behaviour though. To this day most Londoners refuse to accept there is civilised life beyond their urban sprawl and seem to think living like a battery hen is not only desirable but aspirational. There is a mindset of self absorption, a belief that things that happen in the city just do not, cannot, occur elsewhere. Snow happens often and abundantly in other areas of the country, for example, yet a flake or two in London and it's front page news.

I have even had would-be suitors, smitten, unsurprisingly, by my online display of wittily turned phrases and plump body parts, discard me as a potential plaything simply because I do not live in London. While I am not actively seeking would-be suitors, being a disgustingly smugly satisfied married woman who no longer does that sort of thing, I enjoy the thrill of flirtation and the excitement of possibility as much as anyone. I am left to surmise that anyone who does not understand that a fine specimen such as myself is well worth a couple of hours travel time and a tentative exploration beyond the concrete cocoon of the city is spectacularly blinkered and a mammoth twat to boot.

How strange, I think, that these people would expect me to get on a train and travel for hours through the arse end of every town en route (a depressing composite of concrete, bad graffiti, scraggly weeds and warehouses) and then toil through the termite mound of London just to spend a few precious hours in the glow of their company and yet wouldn't dream of taking the same journey themselves, in reverse. "A meet in the country?" I sense them think in perplexity. "How perverse! Where would we have coffee? Where are the hotels that rent by the hour? How can I work my urbane charm, how can I make my excuses and leave, speedily, when far from the city? Can I really be arsed to travel for fucking hours when all that awaits are fields of straw-chewing yokels and the spectre of an unfulfilling flirtation ankle deep in mud whilst sucking on a turnip, alluringly?"

Thank goodness for the enlightened, my beloved Londoners who have made the journey to Lukaland. They shall be fed well and plied with the finest alcohol. There will be music, dancing and laughter. They will trade their urban night time soundtrack of car alarms, thudding baselines pounding from passing hot hatchbacks, wailing sirens and the constant rumble of traffic for the hooting of owls, the wind whispering through the trees, lowing calves and wine-fuelled lyrical outbursts from yours truly. Now how can any city compete with that?


trumpeter said...

London's only just bearable as a place to live, but anywhere outside the M25 is England, and you can't get basil or coriander and everyone looks at you strangely and it rains a lot.

Sulpicia said...

Heck Luka, I'd travel across the ocean to spend a few days in Lukaland. Sounds absolutely lovely. And I don't even live in a Big City. (That would be two days of travel.)

Ceeej said...

Only two hours driving to Lukaland?

Book me a room now, can't wait to see those rolling hillocks and undulating valleys..

Oh, and mow the lawn while you're at it..

Ro said...

Perhaps you need to have bigger parties so you can invite those committed Londoners to see the alternative.

Can you accommodate a few million?

Luka said...

Trumpeter - and everyone talks funny too.

Sulpicia - well if you ever do travel across the ocean you have an open invitation to Lukaland.

Ceeej - I'm not mowing that, it's full of abundant wildlife.

Ro - only if they bring their own sleeping bags.

Jackie Adshead said...

How can any city indeed! It sounds idyllic. Bet the sun always shines on Lukaland too, except for when the grass needs to look green and pleasant and lush!

Ceeej said...

Hmm, verdant and brimming with indigenous fauna...

I'll bring a camera then.

kf said...

Your post sums up London, and yet I still love it here... I love my birthplace of Devon too, but the problem with Devon (despite beautiful rolling hills and fields, the long walks, the lush green...*sighs*) is that it's so bloody far from everywhere else! I love the sheer strangeness of the architecture in London - I think it's the most fascinating thing about the city. But yes, Londoners are rather insular.

Luka said...

Jackie - sadly there has been much rain in Lukaland over the past week, but no matter, indoors it is as dry as my wine.

Ceeej - and a tripod.

kf - London has its good points, I know. For me, though, the remoteness of the countryside is a benefit not a drawback.

MonMouth said...

I don't get this post at all... I've looked and looked on my tube map, and there's no Lukaland station, even in Zone 6. Everybody knows there's a vertical dropoff on the edge of Zone 6 where the landmass of the world meets the void.

Luka said...

Monmouth - you need the Lukaland A-Z, which gives marvellous directions and clearly signposts all points of interest.