Wednesday, March 29, 2006

is romance dead?

I suspect it serves me right for reading "Portrait of a Marriage" before bed. There I was, curled up under my duvet with my still-damp hair tied back, bears keeping my toes warm, gently chewing my lower lip and firmly focused for hours on the dreadfully romantic autobiography of Vita Sackville-West. It is a tale of love, for she had much of it to give and many trials and tribulations to endure.

All rather charming, it filled me with that gushing romanticism of my teenage years, fingers crossed that the star-crossed lovers would work it all out in the end. Of course when there are more than two star-crossed lovers; husbands, wives, lesbian and gay lovers aplenty, it does make it slightly more complicated. As the hours ticked by and pages turned, I found myself greatly reassured that, in comparison, my love-life has always been considerably less complicated.

When my eyelids finally began to close, I turned off the light and succumbed to intrusively romantic dreams of astronauts (I'm still not sure where that came from), and walking along dark grey London streets for hours. In the rain, naturally.

It was quite a relief to wake up and find the sun shining, if a little dimly, the bears mewling for food and the world once more as cold, hard and unromantic as it should be on a Wednesday. Perhaps romance is best on Tuesdays? Or am I just loosing the old-romantic in me?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

new chapters

It has been a long time since my last post. Time has been rushing by in whirl leaving me feeling worn out and stretched thin, eager for the six day break over Easter when I can sleep in, read and venture forth into the world on refreshed toes.

The house is coming along with spare room, kitchen, and entrance hall now finished. New internal doors need to be hung, light fittings need to be installed and some further refurbishment in the bathroom, before the roofer comes to make a couple of days worth of repairs. After that the outside needs to be repainted and then it is finished, ready to be put on the market. It is an exciting time, a culmination of eight months worth of discussion and planning. Although I have been there over seven years, I don't feel any sadness to be leaving. It is time to move on, to start the next adventure. I have already redesigned a multitude of different new homes in my head, imagining the rooms progressing, changing like chameleons, depending on my mood.

I long for a garden, green grass under foot and summer evenings spent picking vegetables in the garden and grilling trout on a barbeque. I plan plantings, shifting through colours and heights in my head, arranging beds and features, light and shade.

I aim to move over the summer, hoping that the light and heat help to keep my spirits up; buoyant like gulls on a wave. Whilst all have moved around me, it will be strange to do so myself. To pack up the memories of the last seven years into boxes, only gone for a short time before opening them somewhere new, to stretch their legs and tumble out, new memories made. I am impatient and mournful all at once, but joyous and excited for soon I shall start a new chapter.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


I find myself in a quandary, twitching between the known and the unknown. This morning I should phone my IFA, make an appointment and discuss the in's and out's of mortgages. Instead, I find myself typing the number into my phone, thinking long and hard about the implications of said mortgage, and then putting the phone back on the desk and doing something else for fifteen minutes.

After fifteen minutes I find my courage once more, pick up the phone and repeat the above. This has now happened three times.

I can't pinpoint what exactly I'm finding so difficult here. It's a phone call, pure and simple. It isn't signing off on debt for the rest of my life, it isn't surveyors or lawyers, leasehold or freehold. Just one phone call that I am unable to make.

When I woke up this morning, fresh and aware at six thirty, I didn't feel any less brave than I normally do. I didn't shudder and wonder if I would spend the day huddled in a corner, frightened of my shadow. In fact, I felt remarkably chipper, ready to face the day. What has happened since then? Why this need for someone to "hold my hand"? Where has the love of adventure gone?

Could it be true that inside I am a coward? Heavens forbid!

There, that did it! Deed done, and ironically he wasn't there. Now I feel just a little foolish but I suspect that all adventurers need a kick sometimes.

Monday, March 13, 2006

interesting times

My Dad mentioned that famous Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times", whilst we ate dinner at Carluccio's last night. The past few days have certainly been interesting on many different levels, from the trials and tribulations of my dear friends home-buying antics, and on to today, where work has been a hotbed of gossip after the press releases over the weekend.

I'm not sure that "interesting" is necessarily a curse, but it certainly gives one to think on the stability of those things we take for granted. I like "interesting" in terms of the excitement that changes bring, that little bit of thrilling uncertainty that isn't enough to unsettle. I like the glimpses into the future that I can now see, little clues of what may lay ahead, of what possibilities there may be. It is an adventure, sitting here on the edge of new things, toes gently dipping into the abyss, and I do like an adventure every once in a while.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

on writing letters

I have recently taken up the habit of writing letters, proper letters with a fountain pen and an inky finger. It is a past-time I did much of in my childhood and teens but not so much since hitting my twenties. For the last three days I have been patiently waiting for my special paper to arrive, directly from Bond Street. This afternoon, after a not too dull two-hour meeting, I got back to my desk to find the package sitting there, waiting for me.

As with all new pleasures, I did try to open it slowly but you can only open envelopes at reasonable speeds, it isn't like wrapping paper. Inside there are two beautiful blue boxes, and in those beautiful blue boxes are the soft, smooth, off-white paper and envelopes.

Old fashioned pleasures, in days when we live on technology as if it is part of our five-a-day, are a refreshing change. That feel of smooth writing paper, of the pen nip floating gently over the top in loops and swirls, of grammar and punctuation, full sentences and full words, it can't be beat. This evening I shall sit with a glass of wine, and write letters. I shall be calm, and peaceful and bare a little bit of my soul once more.

Monday, March 06, 2006


It has been a busy and sometimes worrying two weeks, with time passing far too quickly. I have found myself skipping through whole days without noticing and wondering what I did in them. On Saturday morning I decided I had had enough, and picking up my bag of library books, walked out of the door to breakfast at Bill's.

As I've said before, the best way to start the day is with breakfast at Bill's. I sat at a clean wooden table, ordered my coffee, scrambled eggs and bacon, and sat people watching for what, for once, felt like a long time. The food, as always, was delicious, and set a smile on my face that would last all day.

Once repleat, I wandered off to the library, to take back old books and take out new ones. I am researching Vita Sackville-West for the personal project on my design course. I started with a couple of people I wanted to look into, but having read Vita's letters to Virginia Woolf, I found myself hooked. There is something about her personality that fascinates me, something romantic that pulls on the part of me that loves old fashioned country gardens, foxgloves and neat green lawns.

From lunchtime my house became a hive of activity, with black plastic sacks filled with rubbish, and old junk. Furniture was moved, trips to the tip were made, crowbars were put to use and cups of restorative coffee were drunk. It is odd to see the house developing, to come back from work and see the hallway repainted, new curtains, new styles and yet to have it all happen whilst I'm not there. Going home becomes quite an adventure - what will have changed today?

I dined with mum at The George in Alfriston, of steak and chips and a well-rounded merlot. We talked into the early hours of politics and liberty, with a fervour that was refreshing. No headache kept me tied to the bed, and on the drive home the sun shone brightly into the car, flooding my heart with light and forcing me to look on the countryside with new eyes. It would seem that no matter how difficult some weeks can be, there is always beauty just outside. Sometimes I need to remember that.