The thing I miss most about Pretoria (other than my family and friends) is the weather, the thunderstorms and braai’s in summer. I also miss the crisp Pretoria mornings in winter, where you need only to put on a jacket over a jersey in the morning and by noon you realise you’ve dressed too warmly again. In London I have to dress in many layers! I know every year that winter is coming when one morning I get off the tube and my nose starts burning from the cold.
Winter in London does have it positives. All buildings have central heating and are insulated against the cold, so you’re never cold indoors. Many restaurants and pubs have lovely log fires burning in winter where you can sit to warm yourself up with a glass of port or a mug of hot chocolate, enjoying the lovely warmth and the wonderful smell of the logs burning.
I have spent every Christmas in London or Europe for the last 8 years. London really gets a special festive feeling if you know where to look for it. There are Christmas markets all over the place, which sell delicious mulled wine and roasted chestnuts, along with pretty Christmas decorations and handmade goods. Ice skating rinks stay open for all the kiddies and young at heart to enjoy. Many of the High Streets are lit up with colourful lights and decorations for shoppers to take pleasure in as they busy themselves looking for that perfect gift for their near and dear.
On Christmas day London grinds to a total halt. All public transport does not run and so family and friends get together to celebrate, sleeping on sleeper couches and portable mattresses. We prepare a lovely meal, share gifts and a have good time together.
What would I change about where I live?
I like where I live, but it would be nice if people around us were friendlier. It’s hard to make friends with your neighbours.
The best thing about living in London?
The diverse culture of people living in London, and the transport infrastructure is fantastic!
Everyone is so serious-looking on the tube concentrating on their newspaper or books or laps, but if a little cute baby comes along then most people make funny faces to make it smile.
Things to do at Christmas time in London?
Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Trafalgar Square
Each year – since 1947 – a Christmas tree has been given to the people of London from the people of Norway in gratitude for Britain’s support of Norway during World War II.
The Great Christmas Pudding Race
Teams run a relay race in London’s Covent Garden Market carrying a pudding on a tray, whilst negotiating obstacles along the way.
Christmas at Borough Market
One of the most popular Christmas markets London has to offer. Christmas at Borough Market is a winter haven for fans of good quality produce and lots of festive fun.
Midnight Mass at St Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s is a very popular place to experience the more traditional side of Christmas. The cathedral offers candlelit majestic surroundings in the middle of the city. It is the perfect place to usher in Christmas Day singing carols, before wrapping up warmly and making your way home through the magically deserted streets.