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Life in the big smoke

New Year… cough, splutter, cough… resolutions?

I had a cold over Christmas and New Year and it was strangely enjoyable. It allowed me to turn off my head in a way I’ve not been able to do since I was a child. We stayed with Gerry’s parents which helped a lot as there was always someone else to take care of things, which I’m very grateful for. Over the last two weeks I’ve read a lot of detective fiction, watched many hours of Storage Hunters, eaten plenty of cheese and gone for short walks. That’s it.

We’re back in London and the sky is hidden behind thick clouds that remind me of past Januaries in Helsinki when it seemed like there would be no end to the winter. The white skies lasted for weeks, draining the city of colour.

We drove back yesterday, coughing, tired, trying to stay focused on the road. It was misty, the sort of fog I’m still only getting used to because it’s such a rare thing where I’m from. Along the motorway signs were flashing yellow warnings at us and the other drivers. Fog, fog, fog they blinked. And it was hard going, the light faded and the lights from the other cars were diffused by the mist so there was a strange orange and red glow hovering over the M40. It was difficult to make out distances, cars disappearing into a soft white blanket. Occasionally the fog lifted and the world was crisp again, but then there was a dip in the road and we were plunged back into it.

Image via tumblr.

Gerry did the driving and when we stopped at a service station he had a cappuccino the size of a small child’s head. As we got closer to London the fog lifted. I tried and succeeded in navigating us back past suburbs I’d never heard of before. Dollis Hill. Brent Park. Towards the parts of the city we know well.

I want to learn how to drive this year. We have a car. I have a driver’s license. But I haven’t driven since I was in my early twenties and I’ve only ever driven on the roads in my small home town where there are just a couple of traffic lights and hardly ever more than two lanes. Driving in Jakobstad and driving in London will be two very different things.

I’m going to take driving lessons, but even that scares me a bit. Driving well in London has turned into an almost unattainable thing in my mind, it’s something clever people do, people with skill, who by magic and hard work have attained the super power of being able to drive well. To me driving in London is like playing a guitar so well people will beg you to become a professional musician. Or tight rope walking across an abyss. Or solving really hard maths problems. It’s something I can’t see myself doing. It’s a skill I admire in other people. So that’s one of my goals this year, a new years resolution even, by the end of this year I hope driving will be as easy as walking, that I won’t think twice about getting behind the steering wheel, that I’ll feel comfortable and competent. Let’s see how it goes. Just writing about it makes me slightly nervous.

Image by Thomas Hawk.

I have other goals as well. I want to write, write and write even more. I have a long list of the things I want to write about, but more about that later.

Do you have any new years resolutions? Oh and if anyone feels like giving me a bit of a pep talk when it comes to driving please do (like, seriously)! I need encouragement!