Welcome to Croydon

Another one of those posts that I meant to write a long time ago – like 4 months ago, but hey, Welcome to Croydon.

An almost-dead shopping arcade in Croydon

I arrived in November, after living in the south of Spain for nearly a month. Once the initial wonder of actually having my own place settled in, albeit I’d had my own place(s) in Spain for the previous month, I was wondering around in the cold and dark, wondering what kind of place Croydon was. I was a little unnerved – appreciating the M&S within walking distance, but really missing Spain.

Christ, what am I doing in Croydon?

Christ Embassy, Croydon

The answer – living in a beautiful flat that I absolutely love in the only place in (ish) London that I can afford a mortgage on, despite being in the top 10% of earners in the UK, because NIMBYs stole our housing.

So…Croydon is aesthetically challenged.

Who knew?

Yet I’ve never been one for pretty places. I prefer a bit of grit and hope for a bit of soul. Nightclubs? I always preferred the grubby ones with good music. Clothing? OK, I’m not especially scruffy but I’m far away from designer labels. Hair? Let it grow and do whatever. Holidays? Take me to Skopje or Belgrade instead of Dubai or Monaco.

I haven’t quite found Croydon’s soul yet, but there is one in there somewhere…maybe Croydon doesn’t quite know it, maybe it is a collection of bits of a soul that hasn’t quite come together as a borough/district/town – or maybe I just haven’t looked hard enough.

There are good places to drink here – Cronx Tap does craft beers at a shockingly low price of £5, Art & Craft does exactly my type of beers, Riff Raffs I’ve only been in once, but it seemed pretty cool. BoxPark is a decent spot if I want beer on my clothing during an England game – plus it has plenty of eateries.

Speaking of which – there is a whole road of local restaurants here, all independent – Jamaican, Moroccan, Turkish, Galician, etc – not that I’ve been to any, and maybe they are all rubbish – but I doubt it, and when I finally get some Croydon friends, then maybe I’ll visit a few of them. Maybe there will even be a blog?!

Also – it is just 20 minutes walk until you get into some proper countryside.

Croydon isn’t the dream. Hackney Wick is, or Marylebone, or hell, maybe Malaga – at least Malaga is achievable – reversing Brexit feels easier to accomplish than having enough money to afford a place in Marylebone.

But despite very obvious imperfections when you walk around, Croydon is a place with potential, with great transport links into London, Gatwick and Brighton, nearby countryside, great places to drink, possibly great places to eat.

I just need to find my Croydon people…people like me, people that like a few beers, some good food, moaning about Brexit, debating economic theory…OK maybe let’s not ask for too much.

I do quite like it here. Yes, Welcome to Croydon.

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