My mum grew up in London, but I was born in rural cheshire. Growing up, we would often visit the city, as my greek grandparents lived in harlesden, but I never got to know it. Our visits to the metropolis were usually short, and, save for trips to the park, we seldom strayed far from the house. Thus I did not truly get to know the metropolis until I moved in with Lyn, three years ago. But get to know it I have, and I have fallen in love with it.
I just came back from a walk. The last two days were too cold and snowy to go ut, but today I thought I’d risk it. I headed towards Greenwich. There is usually something on at GAD on thursday afternoons, but today, as I realised when I got there, nothing was happening, so I headed on into the historic naval town. Going that way always makes me think historic thoughts: I become conscious that I am going through a very old landscape. At the same time, I never forget that I’m exploring just one minute part of a hug metropolis: a city the size of cheshire itself, a humming, throbbing labyrinth, endlessly diverse, full of life. A not so microcosm for the entire world; and one which indeed played host to the world last year.
I was thinking about the events of last year today. I truly am a lucky guy: I got to live in a city which was hosting the olympics; I was a Londoner when the world’s eyes were on London; a Londoner when London was at it’s peak. London may not see a summer like the one of 2012 for many years, so to be here during the olympics was something to look back on, something to be proud of. Not only that, but I got to see my girlfriend play at the ceremony marking the end of that golden summer. I can’t help but wonder how the fates conspired to arrange that: when you think about it, it truly is incredible, and also reminds me how lucky I am to have Lyn.
London has returned to normal, but for me it is still a special, remarkable place. To me, it is a place I’ll forever associate with the year 2012, as that is the year London showed me, and the world, just how great it can be: the place and time of this this and this. But the city still seems full of life, full of potential: an Olympic city in which you never know what is around the next corner. 2012 may be over, but london is still great and can achieve great things. I may be a cheshire lad used to the smell of manure, but I am now a Londoner too, and proud of my adopted city. It feels, I realised today, like home: not, perhaps, the home of my childhood, for that will always be up north; but the place of my adulthood, of my learning to live, and of my love.