Rural London: Long Shadows on County Grounds

Stepping into Merry England five minutes from the Theydon Bois Tube Station.

After several weeks schlepping around central London’s myriad tony neighborhoods, we had a hankering for some fresh air, muddy paths, and unkempt woodland. Fortunately, these are easy to find in London; in some cases, you can even find a bucolic slice of rural England without having to leave the Oyster network. Continue reading “Rural London: Long Shadows on County Grounds”

Biking London

A row of Santander rental bikes.

After a month in the city, I was still equivocating on cycling in London. I liked the concept, but I had hardly ridden a bike since my days commuting from Little Italy to the University of Toronto campus in 2011-12. Add in London’s heavy traffic and narrow roads, and you get a potentially harrowing experience — and that’s before we’ve even started talking about biking on the left! Continue reading “Biking London”

Running London

Running up the Mall toward Buckingham Palace.

Distance running is one of the best ways to discover a new city. You see things pounding the pavement that you’d easily miss from a car or a bus, and the pace of running means that it’s possible to cover distances well beyond the reach of walkers. In the past, I’ve used running to get a feel for many places — Toronto, Halifax, Edinburgh, Palm Springs, Hong Kong, Helsinki, Banff, Vancouver, and elsewhere — and I was excited to add London to my corner. Continue reading “Running London”

Finding a house in London

An afternoon in South Kensington.

Even before we touched down at Gatwick, we knew we had to find a house in London quickly.  Staying in hostels or hotels for any amount of time is expensive and exhausting, and job hunting without a fixed address can be difficult. Moreover, we had been warned that house hunting in London can be one of life’s most frustrating endeavors. For starters, real estate in London is heinously expensive. This is not news and has been well documented elsewhere. My hope before moving over was that Brexit would lead to some downward pressure on housing prices. This appears to be happening, but it has yet to affect the rental market.

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The Storm

As I said in the last post, we are officially in London.

We took a night flight from Toronto to Gatwick.  Becky’s mom was able to take a half day off and drove down with Alex’s parents to Toronto Airport.  The morning, for both of us, was spent doing the last minute packing and getting some exercise.  Alex went on a run and Becky did a workout at home, then went on a long walk around town.

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The Calm.

We have officially made it to London!

The last couple of weeks have been crazy.  We finished work just two days before we left Halifax, and were soon packing up our lives, saying goodbye to good friends, and driving half-way across the country to our parents’ houses.  You would think that not working and being at home would be relaxing; you would be wrong. Catching up with friends and family and getting ready to move again consumed ten days with ease. Continue reading “The Calm.”

Beginning a New Adventure

Some things in our lives are winding down; others are gearing up.  It seems as if we all we are doing is working, packing, and planning.  Moving across an ocean is not easy.

Moving to the UK has been something Alex has talked about doing for a long time.  I was not always as interested as I am now, but thought it was an interesting idea that would probably never take shape.  When we started talking about it again this year, I was all for it.

Continue reading “Beginning a New Adventure”