27 April 2012 09:17

 By Andrianne Philippou
I’m not sure whether it’s ‘the grass is always greener’ syndrome, but every year without fail, withdrawal symptoms from the separation anxiety I call ‘lusting for London’ manifest, and leave me hankering for my hometown. This year it’s more pronounced than ever…
Perhaps it’s down to Queen Liz’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations; maybe it’s the 2012 London Olympics fever kicking in. But it generally happens around summertime, with Tennis season about to serve another ace along with a glass of Pimms and an exorbitantly priced bowl of six large (or seven if they’re smaller), Kent countryside strawberries and fresh double dairy pouring cream… aah, those halcyon memories. Ball-girling on the Stella Artois courts, trying to dodge Ilie Nastase and Jimmy Connors’ tempers, as well as their tennis balls; silver service waitressing at Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club in corporate hospitality marquees, polishing my never-ending smile in the hope that my bonus payment at the end of the fortnight would pay off my entire year’s student overdraft… those were the days.
But this year, my angst is coming in thicker and faster than ever. I’ve been virally attacked by my favourite London culture spot, the V&A museum, with news and stunning images of its ‘Ballgowns, British Glamour since 1950’ exhibition (among its other gems); I’ve been ambushed by the ‘World Shakespeare Festival: around the Globe in 37 plays’ explosion. Can you imagine Twelfth Night given a Bollywood makeover, courtesy of Mumbai’s Company Theatre? Intriguing. I’m being bombarded by voices… in particular those of Jaz Ellington, Ruth Brown and Toni Warne, as they belt their hearts out on the best TV talent show in decades, The Voice. In fact, whichever way you look at it, I’m missing out. I want to be in London, living, breathing, eating, sleeping, soaking in the atmosphere, preparation, chaos and excitement.
Or do I? Rocked right back into the present, my momentary daydream brought visions of train delays, underground closures, bomb scares, bumper to bumper traffic, motorway mayhem, people and crowds everywhere, on the streets, on escalators, in lifts, at tourist attractions (although it has to be said, mostly orderly, polite, happy to wait-my-turn-in-the-queue, or ‘please, after you’, kinds of crowds); the chaos, noise, inclement weather and the inevitable fixture disruption (it’s the wrong type of rain, the sun’s too bright, the clouds are too dark…. ). Yes, of course I’m exaggerating, but you get my drift.
But it got me thinking – why is the grass always greener? Or at least, why do we think it is? Why not appreciate and enjoy what we have, rather than what we don’t have? Why imagine that something else, somewhere else, someone else, is going to make us happy?
We live in an era where pretty much everything is within our grasp and immediate; accessing all areas via the worldwide web means almost anything is possible, achievable. It’s so easy to visit the V&A exhibition online, indulge my ballgown fantasy to my heart’s content, via the internet.
But I can also wake up (on most days) to glorious sunshine; I can drive alongside a glistening sea towards green countryside crammed with fruit farms that fill the countryside air with scents of orange and lemon blossoms. Traffic is minimal; crowds are few and far between. There are no train delays, no terrorist bomb scares, just strollers enjoying their coastal walk or a bracing early dip in the sea. And that green, green grass of home doesn’t have quite as much appeal suddenly…