THE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN LONDON | Darrin Henry
An unexpected encounter with the city of London police has taken us by surprise during our ‘ask a stranger’ street interviews. In a city with eight million people, Sharon and I are out and about stopping complete strangers, seeking out insights and opinions about the capital of England.
Our unsuspecting ‘victim’ turns out to be an off-duty police woman.
Now, I don’t know about you, but whenever I see a police car in the rear view mirror, or just passing police officers on the street, I irrationally feel a little guilty! Okay, perhaps guilty is not quite the right word, self-conscious maybe; I quickly check my speedometer even though other vehicles are zipping by me. If I’m out walking on the street I try to look ‘normal’ as though I wasn’t looking normal before!
Why does the sight of the police do that to us?
Anyway, the point of this ramble is another ‘Yikes – police!’ moment.
Celia and Kirsty
These two happy ladies caught our attention sitting in the sunshine by the river, chatting and laughing whilst eating ice creams. It’s summer and the city of London weather is gorgeous. We had been following our River Thames map for tourists which has brought us to this busy spot, near London Bridge on the south side of the river.
Celia (left) has lived in London about three and a half years. I’m interested to know what she thinks makes London a top city destination.
“I love how busy London always is. I like that there’s so much you can do here, I like that I can walk out my flat and you’ve got nice places like this where you can sit and there’s always things you can do. It’s not boring at all.”
Now my next question for Celia: ‘so what do you do for work?’
“I’m a police officer, so that’s always very exciting!”
(More laughing as my face can’t hide my surprise).
“It’s interesting and busy all the time. Before coming to London I lived in Scotland, that’s where I studied in Uni and graduated, then moved down here because there’s a lot more jobs.”
As a local, what would Celia recommend that someone with one day in London should do or see?
“Visiting London for just a day – you’d have to stay longer than a day, there’s just too much to do down here. I think just walking around, you see so much of the city and you take in so many things. But you need a bit longer than trying to do London in a day really.”
I realise it’s time to deviate from my prepared questions about sightseeing, after all, it’s not every day you get to question a London metropolitan police officer! Celia is happy to oblige.
Street Interviews In The City Of London
“Being a police woman in London is amazing and terrifying at the same time. It’s really good, it’s not like policing anywhere else, it’s so busy, especially central. You just see so many interesting things and meet so many interesting people, and that’s your job, which is crazy.”
Time to shift the interrogation to Kirsty who has been living in Camden for the last month to see what London tour guide suggestions she might have.
“Before Camden I lived in north and east London. I used to live in Cambridge; I just moved here [London] a couple of years ago.
“What do I love about London? Everything really; it’s always busy and there’s always something to do, the parks are really beautiful, I love going in the parks. If I had a day in London I’d go around all the parks and go to the jazz clubs, especially the ones in Camden because they’re very good.”
As a parting question we ask what place should people visit outside of London, anywhere in the world? “Go to Edinburgh,” suggests Celia.
It’s quite an experience conducting street interviews and, although it’s one of the more unusual things to do in London it’s also a great way to get fresh insights into life in a big city like this.
Click Here for the final part in this series.