I would imagine that – all things being equal – I’ll be living outside London for the first time in my life within the next three weeks. After that, things get a bit interesting. I won’t be taking broadband with me. Not at first, maybe not for a year. Maybe never. My life needs a refocus and Netflix and Amazon aren’t great team members if that’s your project. I will have a new garden to learn, then bend to my will. I will have a swimming pool a few minutes’ walk away. I will have a myriad things to walk to and look at and sit in and eat at and everything, everything is UPHILL. No, literally.
Oh, and I’m half rebuilding the house I’m buying.
I can’t wait. I’m terrified.
London, my London, how I love you. But the truth is, until I had a friend living nearby I never realised for a second how lonely I was here. And when I became disabled – a decade ago – suddenly everything is too far away for me to get to. No cinema, swimming only as a very special treat on a very good week. Nobody to go to a restaurant with, unless I’m well enough to go into town. And there’s not much here for me to walk to (I don’t drive). To top it all, the place is turning into a giant coral reef. Have you seen Lewisham recently? I like what they’re doing, but it’s so profoundly different, and so fast and I just … it’s not that I can’t keep up (although that may be true). It’s that I don’t want to. My focus is softer these days. I want other things, not to have to keep up with the wriggling competitive push of my home town. I want the sea, and a huge plot of sky. I want a desk that overlooks both of these things. I want to read again. I want to write again.
So I’ve bought a triangle of sea and an absolutely huge lump of sky, and a little pile of bricks to hide in when the sky gets too much, and that’s pretty much the plan.
Oh, and I’m going to learn to drive, so if you’re on the south coast and you own a car, sell it. Now. Before it’s too late. Warn your family.
And I think, once I’ve got myself all sorted out with these things and am writing again (I must get those things sorted out first, as one can’t really achieve meaningful levels of recklessness without access to a garden centre, and out in the sticks that means I must have a car of my own; and I can’t feel anything if I can’t write), I will probably fall in love again. The two things are inevitably linked.
As with the threat of driving: do the sensible thing and just avoid the south coast entirely. Warn your family.
Having buried Dad in January, sold my house in April and moved in May, I intend to make 2018 the Year of Unthinkable Things.