When packing up to leave London Town earlier this year, I knew I would miss many of its star qualities. The Southbank on a sunny day. Cherry blossom and the pastel confetti as it falls underfoot, no doubt now in full bloom. Dream shopping in the Burlington Arcade. Big Ben. Fashion temptation at every turn…
However, I didn’t think I would end up so nostalgic over the thought of pavements. Now I dream of them. Miles and miles of glorious pavements. Unbroken streets paved in gold. Or tarmac, but whatever.
You see, it’s funny the things you take for granted. And this was mine. The freedom to push a double buggy through your front door and walk anywhere you want, for as long as you want – that my friends is a gift.
In Dakar, the iCandy Twin is pretty redundant in most places. On a daily basis, I clamber into a beaten up four-by-four, with Nathalie the nanny squeezed between the twins in the back and Balde at the wheel. We drive to our destination and then Nathalie and I go about our business, with a sweaty baby strapped to our backs. Which somewhat ruins my independent woman act.
Here are another nine things I greatly miss from back home:
2. My friends. You all feel a world away. And yes, I am meeting lots of wonderful people but I still wish you were all here with me.
4. Fashion; everywhere you look, from the cutting edge to the totally eccentric.
5. Knowing that the Queen is just down the road.
6. Total anonymity. In London you are invisible, unless you choose otherwise. You can go out for an entire day, and other than exchanging a few words to order lunch, you can vanish wordlessly among thousands of other mute townies. In Dakar, everyone likes talking. And smiling – although I am getting used to it and its actually nice!
8. Black cabs and cocky cabbies… ‘A’wight darlin?’. Most taxis here are like little miniature gateways to hell.
9. Uncompromising convienience shopping and services, like Deliveroo for those lazy nights in.
But you can never have it all. You can’t cherry pick the best of London and combine it with 365 days of sunshine, ocean views, golden beaches, heaven-sent fruit, smiling, chatty people and beautiful little boys walking goats on leads. What the hell would us Londoners have to complain about then?
Yes, there is much to miss. But Dakar has so much to enjoy (pavements aside).
Right, I’m off to go and spy on fisherman and spot for dolphins. Can’t do that in London…