I am now on my way to the airport to catch a one way flight to Toronto. There is a sentence I never imagined saying.
Luckily I will not be alone as I will have my lovely boyfriend of 3 and a half years, Will, with me. That said, even though I won’t be totally on my own out there and even though I will be on a great adventure, I will still miss the UK and the people in it SO MUCH.
To try and get over what I am going to miss so much, I thought I would put exactly what it is into words…SO here is a post about what I imagine I will miss most over the next few years.
- English Summer – Yeah, I know “lol” right?! But when it does show up, it DELIVERS! Obviously the picture below is of a hearty Pimms in an English summer garden, because the two go hand in hand.
- The Seaside – I am sure I will be able to go to the coast in North America (Toronto has a beach even though it is on a big lake) but it is just so much easier to get to the sea here. There is also a HUGE charm in some British seaside towns. My favourites are Brighton and Southwold for their unique charm but I also LOVED camping at the Gower earlier this year.
- Camping / Camping in Will’s Orange Tent – I LOVE camping! Some people are surprised when I say this as I love a good bit of lippy and some hairspray, sure, but I also love hearing nature while I sleep, smelling fresh air first thing in the morning and cooking my breakfast on a travel stove. I am sure we will be able to camp in Canada…but….BEARS.
- Boots – Guys, Boots is such a great shop. It has all of the essentials and more under one, big “drug-store-y” roof. Boots FTW!
- History – This country is “older” than Canada…the cities there can feel very new and shiny, which is lovely…but where are the thatched roofs and Medieval castles?
- Tea – For so many obvious reasons. Tea tea tea!
- Cadbury’s Chocolate – I eat WAY less chocolate these days than I used to but that doesn’t mean that I don’t carve a good old chunk ‘o Cadbury’s every now and then. Chocolate heals what many things cant. Sure they have chocolate in Canada, but where is the Cadbury’s. Boo…hiss.
- Cambridge – My hometown. It’s full of English charm and is so pretty. Plus punting…always fun!
- Pubs – I bloody love pubs. England and the UK is rammed with fantastic boozers – the best of which I have found in both London and the Yorkshire Dales. Pints, merlot, roast dinners, board games, open fires in the winter. You make me British and you make me happy!
- Roast Dinner – ROAST POTATOES…Am I riiiight?! Roast beef with smoked horseradish, roasted veg, roasted pots, Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, sprouts, bread sauce (all washed down with a glass of merlot.) YEAH, COOL, THANKS.
- Cheese – I have actually googled “price of cheese, Canada” and I could have cried. Someone tell me it is not true?! This is a biggie for me. I hear Toronto is great for food…but…cheese! The UK is so close to France that Camembert, Comte, etc are cheap imports. PLUS WENSLEYDALE!
The Yorkshire Dales – Speaking of the Dales….OH GOD I WILL MISS THEM. So much it makes me ache. Some of my happiest memories of the UK are from time spent in Hawes and the surrounding places. It is BEAUTIFUL, the beer is great and so is the cheese. What more do you need?
Whilst the Dales are my favourite place, London is the city I have lived in for 8 years and it has been glorious. It is filled to the brim with fun, culture, food and fabulousness so it deserves its own section!
- Theatre – again, not to state the obvious, there could well be a huge theatre shaped hole in my life. Toronto is filled with theatre and culture and fabulousness but I can’t deny that I won’t miss seeing a different show two or three times a week. The picture below is from the Globe Theatre as it the most traditionally “English” theatre I could think of.
- Music – London has a shit hot music scene. Any day you want to see some live music to suit your taste you can, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Not only do all of the big bands play here, this is the birthing place of small bands who are still finding their sound. Red stripe in a plastic cup, bass pumping through my stomach, lights blaring in my eyes…..you never know, there may even be a smoke machine. God, London sounds amazing. I will very much miss presenting my Shoreditch Radio show *tear!*
- Cocktailing like a Wanker (see also skyscrapers) – this is a whole different ball game than having a cheeky one in the pub. London is king of the cocktail! The best places I have found so far are the Duck and Waffle in the Heron Tower for a classy and delicious drink, Graphic for gin based dreams and the Shoreditch Grind for a world class Espresso Martini.
- 4 am fried chicken – Toronto, do you do this? Please say yes? You can take the girl out of London but you can’t take the London out of the girl. #SamsChicken4Life
- Restaurants – be still my beating tummy. I love food. London has restaurants with food from all over the actual universe to suit every budget. My favourite places include wahaca, Little Bay, Burger and Lobster, Dishoom, The Breakfast Club, Ping Pong, Murakami, the Red Dog saloon, Meat Mission, the little pizza shop round the corner from my office called the Barrel Boulangerie. (They do actually say Toronto has an INCREDIBLE food scene – so we’ll see about this one!
I actually fucking hate Piccadilly Circus, the crowds make me homicidal, although I have to admit that the teeniest part of me looks at those bright lights and is all of a sudden that 18 year old girl who was so in awe of her life having just moved to the big city. I am not her anymore, but I love her and know now she will be fine.
Skyscrapers – Yeah, we aren’t New York, but London has some buff sky scrapers, often shaped like humorous objects like “gherkins” (who you kidding London? #butplug) a walkie talkie and a misc shard of glass. Getting in a lift and soaking up the view from the top floor of a London sky scraper will literally make you feel like you are on top of the world. If the city looks so small now, it can’t be so hard to conquer. Keep trying. Oh god.
The Southbank – Hands down my favourite place in the whole of the city. My favourite weekend pastimes involve strolling from London Bridge to Waterloo via Borough Market. I love the vibrancy and smells of the market even if I am not buying food (which by the way there is plenty of!) the pubs round the Southbank are also pretty bang on and the river is just.so.pretty.
Shoreditch and Brick Lane – My area of work for over three years and home to the best vintage shops, pop up shops, pubs, restaurants, record stores, clubs and curry in London, not to mention loads of quirky art galleries. On the first Thursday of each month, if you take a walk down brick lane popping into open galleries as you go, you can get very drunk on a very short walk due to the free drinks being given away at “private” views.
Art – Be it street art or a public gallery, London has got this shit! Is there anywhere else in the world where you can see a famous Salvador Dali painting for free? The Tate Modern is the shit. End of.
Museums – See also art. These babies are generally very free. Also, we have some excellent quirky museums such as. Yeah London, you are expensive, but it is still easy to have fun with no funds.
My Friends and Family
My friends and family get a category ALL of their own because they are the biggest mega babes of all time and to be honest, everything above would be irrelevant to me if I didn’t have one of these people to enjoy it all with.
I am so lucky that I have a big group of friends across the UK, although most of them live in and around Cambridge, where I grew up. Somehow between the ages of 12-16 I managed to make friends with some of the loveliest girls in the universe who loved me back, even though I was a massive chav when we all started school. These girls have been there for me through thick and thin and I will never stop being thankful for knowing them.
Similarly, I have a lovely group of close friends in London who I love and will miss sassing around with. PLUS there is a honey out there in New Zealand…does that count as something I’ll miss about the UK?! Sort of.
One of my closest “friends” has always been my sister, who is so FIRMLY on team Rebecca Jane Felgate it is crazy. I am on team Wuzle Rachel Badger Felgate Barker for LIFE. Also, she has contributed to the world for making this wonderful being, Isobel.
MUM – oh mum. Dad, Andrew…you guys are excellent. I have my mother to thank for SO many things! ALSO Bracken….how can I go a year or so without hanging out with that beautiful black lab! Woof!
Waaaaaa. I LOVE YOU ALL! PLEASE COME VISIT ME!
ANYWAY – after all the missing, I am looking forward to living in a new city and experiencing everything Toronto has to offer Will and I. I can only hope if/when I come to leaving that place that I have a list as full as the one above, which I am sure I will!
So now…..to the airport!