It was a good summer. For the first time in years (half a decade, in fact), I spent more time "on the continent", in "Europe", than in the UK. I rode my bike, I spent some time in Italy, I went swimming in the Danube. I read a lot, in fields and parks. I used a lot of sunscreen. I thought about sports metaphors. Good players adjust. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. As the political context in the UK became more and more hostile, anxiety-inducing, I stopped checking twitter, started relying on radio programmes from Austria and Norway for slow news instead. At the end of the summer, I read Jean Giono's 'Voyage en Italie'. "Do I even have to mention that I have not come here to learn about Italy, but merely to be happy?" I think about it a lot.
Monday, 13 June 2016
Plot twist: in which our heroine quits her job, leaves the big city, moves to a very small town, goes on a lot of walks, spends a lot of time by herself, sees more of her family than the years before, starts kind of getting into watching rowers and cricket players do their thing, texts her friends about Rihanna, politics, and other trivialities, tries to figure out what the hell adult life is, and is somehow okay with it all.
Sorry for the radio silence. Looks like I'm back!
Tuesday, 19 January 2016
Tuesday, 22 September 2015
August: I was back from holiday, back to what felt like the death of summer. I spent two weeks housesitting in Chelsea. For the first time since moving to London I cycled to work; after work I walked around or read. It felt like a different life. I spent a blissful weekend in the countryside reading A Little Life, after which I stopped reading novels for a few weeks. I ate berries and counted down the days until I could escape to Vienna for some summer heat.
Monday, 25 May 2015
I spend a lot of time on trains. I also spend a lot of time in Kings Cross, and in a way Kings Cross feels more like home than almost everywhere else in London. As soon as I get on a train, as soon as that train pulls out of the station and I'm on my way to "the North", I relax. Even on that overcrowded train last Friday: the air condition wasn't working, people were sitting in the corridor, it was kinda terrible. But hey, the one thing I've learned since living here is that you got to make the most out of being in a confined space for more than an hour. Time to read an entire newspaper. Time to catch up on all those magazine articles. Time to read a book without being interrupted. Time to complete several levels on duolingo (I'm currently learning French and waiting for them to drop Norwegian.)
It's nice to have friends in other places. It's nice to have friends. It's nice to hang out in Edinburgh for four days and do all of these things and more: drink cardamom hot chocolate on 3 out of 4 days; go to the cinema at two in the afternoon; listen to your best friend perform at his choir's concert; walk everywhere; finally buy Sufjan Stevens' last album; talk and talk and talk. It's nice to explore no-longer-abandoned buildings. It's nice.
Wednesday, 20 May 2015
The morning after didn't feel like a morning after at all, it felt unreal, it felt absurd, my friend tweeted "Something terrible has happened" and that was that. We stayed on the sofa until noon, until all the party leaders had resigned like in those grim semi-dystopian pieces journalists used to write four years ago.
We had come home late, made dinner late, put away the dishes and then sat down for the exit poll. 10pm. I slid my hand into Peter's. His friend, our reliable expert for polls and political gossip, texted him, all in caps, a signifier of how extraordinary things were. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON? An hour later we went to bed. I had decided to nap strategically, to get up again a few hours later to watch the results come in. When I crawled out of bed at two in the morning I felt wide awake. David Dimbleby was still going strong. I made tea. I ate cereal. I checked twitter. I texted my friend. Peter joined me on the sofa. I recited the names of those who had lost their seats. At six in the morning we went back to bed. When we woke up everything was the same and everything was a bit bleaker. All those conversations over the past few months with family members, with friends, with colleagues, all pointless.
After Ed Miliband had resigned I went to work. I stood in the sunshine at Green Park, waiting for my bus, and stared hard at the businessmen. I felt terrible. I haven't stopped feeling terrible.