Has the tube always been this crowded?
I'd travelled to London to meet two old friends. I hadn't seen them for 13 years, but within minutes we'd settled back into the same relationship we had as teenagers, albeit with better social skills. It seemed silly that we'd let so many years elapse before meeting again, but sometimes life gets in the way.
We grew up in leafy Richmond-upon-Thames (somewhere I never really appreciated until I visited the badlands of Neasden, Plumsted and Acton) and when I was 16, I naively assumed that we would all remain in the area until our dying days, still meeting up for odd game of snooker, or perhaps to go cycling in Bushy Park.
Taken during my 'stripes' phase
The late teens are a magical time in some ways - a nebulous borderland between childhood and adulthood, when newfound freedoms aren't crushed by the burdens of responsibility.
Naturally I squandered some of this time sitting in my bedroom feeling angst-ridden, but even that was enjoyable in an odd sort of way. I was the hero of my own narrative, able to delude myself with grandiose ideas that didn't have to be sustantiated by achievements. As one girl said to me, "You're all talk and no action."
I wouldn't go back to the past, but I wouldn't change it either.
The flight of hundreds of thousands of Londoners to the shires has, until recently, almost passed without comment, but next to immigration it is one of the biggest demographic changes this country has seen since the 19th century.
In some ways, it is simply of reversal of what happened in the Victorian age, when London's population quadrupled in size and small villages and towns became swallowed up by the growing metropolis. Five generations ago, my ancestors left rural Kent in search of a better life. Today, their descendents are leaving London for the same reason.
Perhaps, like me, they don't share Boris Johnson's vision of the future and would prefer to live in a less 'dynamic' economy that isn't obsessed with unsustainable growth. I suspect they would also like to live in a town where they know their neighbours and can feel reasonably certain that in 50 years' time, the streets and houses won't have changed beyond all recognition.
But there is a price to be paid for this mass exodus. Some local people now sardonically refer to Lewes as "Islington-on-the Downs" and resent the fact that they are being priced out of the area by an influx of Londoners. Where can they go?
The other night I went to a local screening of a worthy Chilean film about the 1988 referendum that rejected General Pinochet. The hall was packed, which was great, but it also made me realise how true the Islington jibe was. The town is becoming increasingly homogenous, like a retreat for Guardian readers.
Perhaps. It wasn't a bad place to live:
On Richmond Green, outside 'The Cricketers' pub
On balance, I'm still glad that I moved to Lewes. Which is just as well, because unless you're in possession of a large fortune, once you leave London, there's no going back.
Finally, a clip from the 'good old days'. I wonder if any of the children in this clip still live in London?