Maybe I was just tired this morning, but as I walked to the tube station looking up at the grey London sky above me (most likely filled with a mixture of pollution and rain) and the trash filled streets around me and the parade of other people also marching towards the tube, I thought to myself – surely this isn’t all that life has to offer?
As I was moved by the crowd of people through the station barriers and into the platform where I wait (still in a crowd) for three trains to pass by while standing behind a woman who keep flicking her hair into my eyeballs and mouth before I get pushed and shoved into the next train – my face firmly put in a gentleman’s armpit who is holding onto a pole/handrail above me, on my other side a woman yawns into my face and I can actually smell the coffee on her breath, while I try to use the crowd of people and my leg muscles to balance myself as there is no space for me to breath let alone hold onto any poles. This whole experience costs me £130 per month for a zone 1-2 travel pass.
The tube stops in the black tunnel mid-journey and I hear the muffled voice of the tube driver and I just about make out something about someone pressing the emergency alarm on the tube in front of us.
As I sprint from the tube station to my office (perspiring even in the middle of winter) worried about being late and having to explain myself even though I had no meetings this morning and even though I stayed in the office late and continued working at home until I went to bed (as I do most Mondays to Wednesdays) for the salary that just about covers the London living costs.
These London living costs are for example – the norm of a good deal of a room for £700 per month bedroom in a shared house before bills in zone 2 (yes, that is just for the bedroom and no, don’t even think about moving to zone 3 for £10 per month cheaper rent because then your travel costs go up by £50 per month), the £130 per month for travel, the ridiculously priced gyms that cost on average £85 per month (yes, in London there are gyms that market themselves as cheap and still cost £45 per month).
Then there are what I like to call the self-inflicted costs of London living. They say London is a vibrant city where there is always something to do and something going on – whether it be a food festival, a new brunch restaurant, a gig, or a cool new speakeasy cocktail bar.
Bare in mind – for just a burger at a food festival you pay £7 and chips on the side will be £5, the brunch spot will be £10 for just a Bloody Mary (which of course is a must at a brunch), the gig costs a minimum of £40 per ticket and £5 for a warm, flat beer served in a plastic pint, and the cool speakeasy cocktail bar charges £15-25 for one cocktail!!
Hence my blog being about the wonderful AFFORDABLE places to eat in London that are family run or started as family run businesses.
I went up to a small village in the North of England the other weekend and I felt like I was robbing the pub when I got a round of drinks for 8 people for £15. There were no trash filled streets. The air felt fresh even though it was cold. There was space to walk around without anyone’s pony tail being swished in my face (I could do jumping jacks in the street and not hit anyone in the face). People lived in houses, not rooms, not broken down houses with mold hidden by a layer of paint and where the living room has been changed into a bedroom so they can afford to live in it, but a whole actual real person house! I feel ever so slightly cheated.