Listen to a Londoner: Colleen Wagner

Listen to a Londoner is a weekly interview post with people who live (or have lived for a while) in London. If you fit the bill and want to be interviewed, give me a shout at Always looking for new volunteers.

Colleen Wagner, 33

Colleen moved to London for her husband’s job three months after getting married in 2008.  She’s a high school English teacher who is at present working part-time for a London relocation agency rather than duke it out in the city schools (hey, it’s not like she didn’t give it a try…), and while she wouldn’t recommend undergoing three major life changes in one summer to even her worst enemy, her and her husband have come to truly, ecstatically enjoy their new life together in London.  

LLO: How long have you lived in London?
A year and a half.

LLO: If not London, where are you from? 
Chicago, Illinois

LLO: What is your favourite London discovery?
Brompton Cemetery, a 40-acre plot of solitude among Victorian graves.  I almost don’t want to promote it, as I’d hate for it to become too populated with the living…

LLO: Where in London do you go to get a taste of “home”?
Partridges on Gloucester Road provided us Stove Top stuffing on Thanksgiving Day.  Also picked up some Kraft Mac-n-Cheese and Golden Grahams–basically, a 10 USD box of cereal, but worth every darn pence.

LLO: What’s the coolest part about living in your postcode?
On the SW10 / SW5 border, the Troubadour is ideal for coffee or cocktails and live music in the club downstairs (Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Paul Simon, and Joni Mitchell played there in the ’60s).  We attended the BRIT Awards last week just a 10-minute walk from home, and my bookish self particularly adores that Beatrix Potter lived only a few blocks away * sigh *

LLO: Heard about any interesting places you’d like to check out but haven’t had the chance to yet?
After going to Proud last Saturday, I’d like to revisit the Camden Stables Market in the daytime.  Otherwise, after reading the book Longitude, my inner dork would really like to see the sea clocks at the Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

LLO: If I had one day in London and wanted to go “off the beaten path”, where would you send me?
I would send you first to one of my trusted pubs like the Drayton Arms on Old Brompton Road for a proper English Breakfast.  Then, so you can get at least one London museum in, you’re off to the Cabinet War Rooms–its right by Westminster and St. James Park, but its low profile renders it easily overlooked by other tourists.  If you’re thirsty, I’m sending you deeper into the city to at least gawk at St. Paul’s Cathedral from the outside before you wander over to the hidden shops and pubs around Bow Lane and/or to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese tucked away off Fleet Street (during the day, though, before the work crowd filters in).  Or, if you’d prefer a quiet, leisurely day, scrap all that and head to Hampstead for the village atmosphere and rolling heath.  Regardless of the daytime itinerary, by night you are being sent to Edgware Road for Middle Eastern cuisine and shisha.

LLO: Favourite London shop?
Zara, but for non-high street shops, the stalls at Portobello Road Market.  

LLO: Tell us about the most random thing you’ve seen in London.
Feathers stuck to my store-bought eggs, as though straight from the chicken’s va-jay-jay.

LLO: Best place to try to meet new people if you’ve just moved to London?
[insert shameless plug here]  Why, the new London Living social network at!

Thanks Colleen!

For more Listen to a Londoner posts, click here.

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