With a few post-Jubilee days off work at my disposal, last week I attempted to Be A Good Londoner.
In short, I was definitely, ipso-facto, 100 percento going to cram in as much cultural shiz as possible into my three days of office freedom. I scoured Time Out, Googled “things to do in London today”, asked friends for tips and canvassed Twitter for ideas. Grand ambitions – oh yeah. I had ’em.
If that sounds familiar, then you’re probably a little bit like me and every other Londoner I know: constantly penning a to-do list as long as your arm, without ever actually getting round to doing any of it.
Why? Well, firstly, there’s the horror of replicating your everyday journey to work when visiting your chosen attraction. And who wants to do that on their day off? Not fun. Also, you’ve got other stuff to do. Shoes to re-heel. Shopping to do. Cupboards to re-stock. Tea to drink. Three billion hours of YouTube videos to watch.
Oh! And then there’s this:
So in the interests of telling it like it really is, let’s look at how even the most ambitious Londoner really spends a few days off work.
8am-12pm: Bed. Put the washing on. Grab a book, pop next door to the coffee shop. Eat croissants and drink tea. Sigh. Get a bus to the West End.
1:15pm: Go to the Prince Charles Cinema to watch The Artist (£4 members, £7 non-members, £0 for lucky members with a free pass for two weeks, a.k.a me). Get increasingly annoyed at the woman behind you rustling in a plastic bag. Have a micro-nap in the dark. Miss the middle of the film. Wake up at the end. Leave.
3:30pm: Walk to Foyles.
3:45pm: Pass Chipotle on the way. Think about burritos. Mmm. Burritos.
3:50pm: Eat a burrito.
4pm: Reach Foyles. Amble round unseeing, clutching distended belly.
4:45pm: Bus to Euston. Go to the Wellcome Collection (free entry) to see an exhibition called Brains: Mind As Matter. Worry slightly when they give you this leaflet as you walk in:
5:30pm: Leave exhibition feeling impressed and brainy (arf arf, make mental note to use that one in future), but a little bit like you’ve seen enough human flesh in jars and dissection instruments to last you at least until next week.
6pm: Bus back to Dalston to find someone lying in the middle of the road, surrounded by ambulances and police cars. Go to Sainsbury’s.
6:30pm: Bump into someone you haven’t seen in a while. Go to the pub.
9pm: Home. Internet. Watch Borgen. Go to bed.
8am-12pm: Bed. Put the washing on. Grab a book, pop next door to the coffee shop. Eat croissants and drink tea. Get a bus to the West End.
2pm: Forget to pick up a guide on your way in, and walk the wrong way around the Photographers’ Gallery (free entry)
2:20pm: Head outside. It’s pissing it down. Get on a bus to Waterloo.
2:45pm: Attempt to find Imperial War Museum in the rain. Walk the wrong way. Twice.
2:50pm: Give up. Get on a bus to Dalston.
3:30 – 6:30pm: Nap.
8am-12pm: Bed. Grab a book, pop next door to the coffee shop. Eat croissants and drink tea.
Get a bus to the West End.
1pm: Go to Ridley Road market.
1:30pm: Decide that today, you will definitely go to the Tate to see the Damien Hirst exhibition. Yes. Definitely.
2pm: Get home. Unpack shopping.
2:15pm: Have a little lie down. Tough day.
2:15pm: Have a nap.
5:30pm: Oh. Still napping.
5:35pm: Don’t go to the Tate.
5:40pm: Pour a glass of wine and congratulate yourself on a week well done.
So, fairly conclusive proof that, faced with a few days off and a lot of good intentions, we’re still all a little bit rubbish at making the most of the big city. Are you any better?
Sarah Rajabalee says
Haha. Sounds familiar. I don’t live in the heady, bright lights of the capital, so whenever I do go to London,it’s for a reason. I *do* try and do something cultural. I didn’t set my sights too high for the long weekend. A local street party was as exciting as it got. I had fun!
I think that’s the thing, if you’re making a special effort to go into London then you tend to find things to do. When you live there, it all just seems like a bit of effort. It’ll all still be there tomorrow, after all. Apart from when it’s not and the exhibition ends, anyway.
Sarah Rajabalee says
Very true. It’s very easy to become laid back and not make the effort.