A few weeks before making a move to American shores I find myself reflecting on the place I call home, Canary Wharf.
When I first lived in the Docklands, almost 10 years ago, the place was very different to what it is today. I only lived there for about a year, but I knew hated it.
Folk would stream in and out of the Tube station like ants and each time they left, and the ticker tape stopped ticking, Canary Wharf would feel like the wasteland it once was.
Thursday night was the only exception. It was then, and still is now, the “new Friday”, ensuring the pubs were packed to the rafters with drinkers willing on the weekend.
Despite “thirsty Thursday”, there were far fewer shops and restaurants and what was there catered to the banker crowd - a mix of down and dirty pubs and the odd wine bar. It wasn’t an inspiring place to be and I wished I could escape with the ants.
Almost six years later I reluctantly returned to live in Canary Wharf with my then boyfriend now husband. I frequently moaned about living here, and I was forever showing my him pictures of quirkier places I wanted to live – Richmond, Wimbledon, Shoreditch, Muswell Hill.
Perhaps my creative streak was trying to force its way through, who knows, but over the last three years something has changed. Perhaps it's me, and I've fallen out of love with the scruffy loveliness that is old London streets but there's almost certainly been a shift in the Wharf too.
Shopping centres have expanded, young families have moved in, and there are more flats and offices being built than I’ve had cups of coffee. There is a plan to bring some of the creative industries over to the island too. There is already a large population of technology businesses here – a fact that surprised me because I hadn’t noticed them tucked away in South Quay – but now there are even more to come.
Unfortunately, to make way for the growth, one of the main areas of green space, Wood Wharf, is being transformed into one of the new blocks. I guess with progress comes loss, but I've heard there are more green spaces in the growth plans. It will be great to see what creative solutions the Canary Wharf designers come up with next.
Despite the inevitable loss that comes with change, the Wharf is certainly a convenient place to live. One of the things I will miss most when I move to the country that prefers four wheels instead of two feet is the ease of walking to where I need to be.
This morning I was able to drop off the dry cleaning, take a parcel to the post office, find a place to grab a coffee and get some exercise, all within a 15-minute walk of my cosy one-bed flat in South Quay.
So what makes the Wharf so special?
Imagine a busy metropolis filled with ambition and passion, inherent respect for maintaining surroundings, beauty in angular, reflective architecture and a fast paced desire for life. There’s a feeling that something amazing will happen here almost every day, and I for one am glad I was part of it.