I turned my back for a few months and something happened to London. I mean I knew that the streets were being ripped up and crossings shifted and stuff, but let's just take Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square.
When did the Trocadero become Ripley's Believe it or not ?
Why did the Swiss Centre turn into M&Ms world ?
What is happening behind the hoardings surrounding Leicester Square ?
Who is the multicoloured chap hanging around outside the enormous "London" shop on Piccadilly Circus and why is he waving an umbrella ?
Where on earth did all the bloody moving statues come from and why can I not walk along the pavement without seeing a dozen of them ? It's like walking through Edinburgh during the festival.
Also it seems all the theatres have been renamed so when I went to see The Ladykillers I had to find the Gielgud theatre. Once I found it I realised I'd been there before with my sister who was chatted up by some freshies before we went in. She was very polite, but dismissive in response which I remember being impressed by at the time.
Of course in a few months time the city will be heaving with visitors who are here for the Olympics and they won't have any idea what I'm moaning on about. It reminds me of the time I went to Edinburgh outside of the festival and didn't recognise the Grassmarket as it wasn't heaving with street acts and tourists.
When people criticise London for being busy, dirty, crowded, unfriendly, etc. I get really cross. It's mostly the ungrateful gits from out of town who've moved to London for the work who complain it's not more like 'back home' where they can leave the doors unlocked and the local shopkeeper knows what colour your underwear is. To which my stock response is, "Oh is that the same place you left because there was no work for you then ?" If you pick on my beloved home town expect short shrift from me.
I can take things changing and I appreciate that being dynamic is what makes cities so vibrant and exciting. When I was a single woman dating in London was fabulous as there are so many places to meet and so much to see. I have a dating memory (variously good, bad or ugly) of most sights in London and some of them are so indelibly imprinted on my brain that any change to the landscape is like rewriting history.
Now I'm working on new memories to share with my son. I can't wait to show him the Transport Museum, take him to play softball in one of the many parks or to walk along the South Bank taking in the sights and sounds. I just hope he loves it as much as me Hubbie do.