When you move to London there are a few things you get told. Parents warn you’ll be mugged at every given opportunity, friends marvel at the huge nights out you’ll have and everyone tells you people will be unfriendly to the point of rude. It turns out you probably won’t get mugged or go out half as much as your pals expected – because of the other thing everyone warns you of, crippling rent – but you can count on people being rude.
Maybe that’s unfair, I’ve had very few (sober) strangers treat me badly. But at the same time no one goes out of their way either, unless they know you. I didn’t mind that when I moved here though. I grew up in a village in Cornwall and moving to a city was always part of the plan. Being anonymous was an novel concept for me, having lived 18 years used to bumping into at least five people I knew when walking to the local shop.
For a long time I thought it was totally my bag, but now I’ve realise that’s not totally the case. And why? Well his name is Dudley and he’s my one-year-old miniature schnauzer.
My friend has two kids and she’s likened being a mum in London to having a dog – suddenly people talk to you. People you don’t know. Even more unthinkable, you realise you like it.
I never thought I would. When you spend a lot of time talking for your job, sometimes it’s nice to be quiet when you’re off the clock. I adhere to that completely, I love coming home from a difficult day and vegging, that’s something that will never grow old. So it’s a shocker to find that I like the camaraderie that comes with having a dog.
It’s nice to have a chat with a friendly face when it’s bitter outside, even better to swap funny stories about your dogs. And I have a lot of them – anyone else taken their pooch into the office only to have him chew through the Internet cable so the whole office has to go home? No? Just me then. I digress. But it’s also good after a hard day to meet your group of dog owner buddies in the park and shake off the stress by watching ten dogs leap after squirrels together.
I think I like it because there’s no pressure. I’ll be honest – I don’t even know most by doggie pals’ names. I know what their pets are called, and so they’re referred to as Blue Cheese’s Mum or Logan’s Dad. We’re all happy with that, just as we’re happy if one of us isn’t that up for a chat and just wants to stand and watch the puppies playing. So maybe London isn’t so scary after all.