I’ve got 99 problems but a city ain’t 1.

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The question ‘Should we leave London?’ arose soon after the arrival of our daughter Rose.  When Theo came the answer seemed obvious.  Of course we have to leave London.   It’s not a good place for children everybody told us.  Children need fields to run around, fresh air etc.  Then there was the crime, overcrowding and lets not even get started on schools.
The panic set in like a Daily Mail reader worrying about immigrants ‘taking our jobs’.  If we stayed in London would our kids end up knife fighting at weekends and rioting during the week?  There was concern.
After the initial panic we sat down, took a deep breath and tried to think things through in a calm and level headed manner.  Why did we come to London in the first place?  Would the way it’s enriched our lives do the same for our children?  Can children and cities co-exist positively?

Upon arriving in London I was immediately blinded by it’s colour and audacity.  A hectic metropolis full of bright lights and shiny takeaway joints. Dixy, Tennessee and Kennedy fried chicken all battling out for business.
I’d never imagined that such a multi-cultural place existed.  I was suddenly surrounded by people of every shade, creed and nationality.  New types of people, language and colour gradually created through an unforseen social experiment.
Global minds, local souls.

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In our area we’re absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to toddler groups. Each day there’s a different type of group in the morning and afternoon.  Music, sport, play, art etc etc and all free!  The children get to play with children from an array of different cultural / religious backgrounds, all the kids having the time of their lives.

Margaret Thatcher famously said that there was no such thing as society.  She was wrong.  Whether you live in North, South, East or West we are all in a sprawling, filthy, difficult, wondrous mess together, our place, our messed up, vibrant society.  A metropolis made up of a collection of villages, yet joined unusually like Siamese twins who share their vital organs but have different personalities.  The difference between places is amazing, Chiswick has a notably different character than Wood Green and Hoxton is definitely not Peckham.  But difference breeds familiarity.  The Edgware road runs about ten miles from Mable Arch to Edgware, centre to suburbs, connecting three boroughs, and at least 20 identifiable ethnic communities, but it’s all London and we are all Londoners.  Nobody thinks of himself or herself as a Hackneyite etc you live in London, regardless of place, you’re a Londoner, you belong even if only on a temporary basis.  Don’t misunderstand me, in many ways I love Devon (where I’m from), but I’m personally more suited to a place that’s got hundreds of languages, just as many cuisine’s, and probably more problems.

If we were to move for the sake of our children they’d probably move back as soon as they were old enough anyway!
Although after saying all of this, it looks like we are going to sell up and move from Zone 2 to Zone 4 which is almost suburban living.  This isn’t out of choice but rather what can we get for our $.
Of course it’s all about personal choice, perhaps by writing this i’m trying to convince myself that i’m making the correct decision.  City living with children will bring up many challenges such as the school issue but we’ll deal with them as they arise and as long as the kids are happy it’s all good.

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8 thoughts on “I’ve got 99 problems but a city ain’t 1.

  1. Oh I agree – although I have never lived in london it certainly teaches about getting on with different groups and if that isnt important for the future then I don’t know what is.

  2. Pingback: I got 99 problems but a city ain’t one… | Tots 100

  3. At the beginning of last year we moved from Dorset to Bristol, primarily to be nearer to my family as my illness progresses but I must say I adore living in a City. I love how each area has it’s own personality and whilst I miss Bournemouth at times (or more specifically my friends) Bristol has far more opportunities for us.

  4. I totally understand your dilemma. I love so much about London but do crave open spaces too. You are so right about the number of things available to do with kids – that’s definitely a big tick in London’s favour. Hope the move to zone 4 goes well.

  5. I read your post and nodded my way through it. I wonder what your counterparts in Devon think about life in London? The grass is always greener and everything in moderation come to mind. Zone 4 could be offering the best of both. Whatever you do you’ve done it with thought and care for your kids so that’s all in all pretty good parenting. Good luck! x

    • I think any friends left back in Devon are in the right place for them, London’s not for all that’s for sure.
      A good friend also originally from Devon didn’t like living here one bit so moved to Brighton. That was ideal for him as it’s small enough but also dare i say a bit more cosmopolitain than where we came from 😉

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