"...London has an air of FOAD that I loathe. Maybe it is me..."
Its not just you. London may very well be a great city but its inhabitants are, in the words of client and born and bred West Londoner, "a pack of miserable bastards". I got by playing the big dumb cheerful Aussie and just riding rough shod over their collective tough-guy act.
From the comments below, it sounds like they haven't got any better since the mid-90s.