I am and always will be a country girl. A muddy one at that. A bedraggled child who swims in flooded fields in November, builds camps in the woods with her friends and battling with opposing teams. Most days when I’m not doing schoolwork, I’m clad in muddy war paint and armed with sticks, tearing around on my faithful bike, Harmony. Sometimes with my brother and sister, sometimes with my friends Benny and Tiger.
So you can imagine, for a girl who had only been to London five or six times in her life, how drastic a change it must be to suddenly be living there. Well, temporarily living there.
The big question is: How is she finding it?
Well, being on the canal in London is like not being in London at all. When you’re on a boat on the Regent’s or the Hertford Union, you can almost forget that you’re in the middle of town. It’s when you venture from the towpath and down some little side road that it suddenly hits you. The traffic, the frenzy, everyone seems to be on a mission. Everyone’s rushing this way and that. Men in suits strut along the pavements, barking urgency into their huge shiny smartphones. Women in the highest heels ever, with the most fluorescent coloured lipstick, flounce around with tons of shopping bags over their arms. No one nods or smiles at you, to me London doesn’t have a friendly atmosphere.
There are loads of boats here in London, but we’ve met very few boaters. We thought we’d meet lots of friendly folks. All the boats are deserted. We were really surprised and disappointed. The few people we have met have been really lovely, though. London boaters, where are you all?
One thing I have noticed is the night sky. It may seem like an obscure thing to notice, but it really stands out to me. When I go to bed at night, I shut my curtains. When I do this I catch a glimpse of the sky. It’s always an orangey pink colour and you can’t see the stars. At home it’s a black or navy blue. Instead of trees, there are buildings silhouetted on the horizon. Mum calls the colour urban light.