WHILE my Dad worked for Independent Newspapers during the 1990s, my family and I spent most of our weekends at his flat on the Isle of Dogs, in East London.
We visited all the usual tourist hotspots and spent a lot of our time around the ultra-modern and ever-expanding Canary Wharf development. With new high-rise towers popping up on every visit and cranes towering over the city, it seemed a world away from Lyme Regis.
Dad even considered moving us there at one point, and I guess if he did I would have been a true East Ender by now. But luckily we stayed in Lyme… and I’m definitely no city girl!
I always loved our trips to London – in fact most of my early memories are of our visits to the capital – and for a while I thought maybe I’d move there to “make it big” in journalism. While I was university, I secured a week’s work experience at The Daily Mirror, based in Canary Wharf, and I think I decided then that city life just wasn’t for me.
I still look forward to trips to London every few months to see family and make the most of everything the capital has to offer, but after a few days I’m ready to come home to a more relaxed pace of life.
Over the past few weeks I’ve enjoyed a couple of ‘city breaks’ with friends. We headed to Manchester – my first time visiting the city – to see Billy Joel in concert at Old Trafford – and it was a non-stop couple of days, touring Manchester on the trams, visiting Media City in Salford (I even got to sit on the BBC Breakfast sofa!), and enjoying the celebrations for Eid Festival on the famous ‘Curry Mile’ and the Manchester Day Parade.
The following weekend we went to London for another gig, this time to watch pop princess Taylor Swift at Wembley Arena. We danced the night away but our excitement dwindled on the long journey back to our beds for the night. It took us two hours to queue for the packed tube and make our way across the city to London Bridge, where I found my last train had been cancelled.
Luckily, we had a plan B and finally pushed our way onto a train at about half past midnight. It was the most crowded train I’d ever been on – you practically needed a run-up to shove your way on and it was overflowing with leather jacket-clad rockers who loudly discussed the Foo Fighters gig they’d just been to. I suddenly became a bit sheepish about my flashing Taylor Swift wristband.
The next day we walked around bustling Borough Market, one of my favourite places to visit and absolutely rammed on a scorching Saturday, and then along the South Bank back to Waterloo, where we flopped on a train to Axminster – heads a little worse for wear, feet tired.
When Dad was living in London, he said there was nothing like catching that first glimpse of the Cobb as you drive down the hill into Lyme… I couldn’t agree more.