Sunday, December 16, 2007

coming or going

My sleepy eyes opened reluctantly to be greeted by the early morning sun glimmering dim crimson above the bare frosty treetops rising through the billowing mist that rolled down the cold lazy river. ‘Oh for crying out loud will you shut those fucking curtains Tilly!’ I shouted lovingly at my daughter. ‘But Mummy, you said we could go Christmas shopping today’, sighed my darling girl. ‘We can’t go out’, I told her, ‘Daddy isn’t here to scrape the ice off the windscreen.’ ‘Oooh Mummy!’ sighed Tilly, and stormed off. I sighed too. I knew that the time to decide whether we were going to stay up north or go back to London was approaching as fast as I was losing the feeling in my toes that Tilly has left poking out from the duvet.

I remembered my children’s little faces when I told them we were leaving London. I should remember, it had taken long enough to get them to show an expression that would sound suitably poignantly innocent yet charmingly humorous when I descibed it in my book. My father had been more encouraging. I think he thought that by taking civilisation to The North I was finally following in the footsteps of his career in the Colonial Service. I remembered telling my best friend. ‘There is no life outside the M25!’ she had sobbed. I remembered telling the other reporters at the Sunday Times I was going to the north. ‘Where?' they had asked, perplexed. I took them into the next office where there was a national map of Britain on the wall but it only went as far north as the village where princess Diana was buried. Well, I suppose it is called Northamptonshire, sigh. There had been some good memories of course. I fondly remembered the Aga dressing ceremony held to celebrate the last local moving out of my street, winning the injunction against the silver band practising during Location Location, and then there were the locals of course.

I had grown rather attached to the local northern people I had studied for my book, almost as attached as I had become to the Umba Lumbas of Upper Borneo with whom I stayed in my authentic barn conversion at the very heart of their community while I wrote my first travel book Strife in the Wilderness: three months without Radio 4. I had found that these quaint charming northerners with their curious ways had rather grown on me. They have told me how much they love Strife in the North too, well, at least I think that's what they were saying, it's hard to tell sometimes, sigh. I felt I had really lived alongside these people in their daily lives, shared their struggles, understood their worries, borne their burden, and so had my nanny, cleaner, personal trainer, feng shui consultant and life coach. I knew that Strife in the North could be an even bigger money spinner, I mean genuinely heartfelt account of northern life, than the Umba Lumbas book so although I am comforted that my sister blogger whose heartfelt sincerity so inspires me will soon have to make the same choice I know it won't make it any easier when the time comes to have to ask my husband, are we going back home, darling, please, you gotta let me know...

18 comments:

J.J said...

If you go there will be trouble. If you stay it could be double,so you've got to let us know - should you stay or should you go?


I got into big blog strife by my inability to be discreet about wheelie bins btw. (No, I'm not making it up - how could I make up something so daft???)

Open to all who can supply references of the established blogger variety, and who don't give as an address the e-mail of any whellie bin company, by e-mailing me at cobblerjane@yahoo.co.uk.

J.J said...

Oh and re Diana and Althorpe - she's buried in the local church crypt with the ancestors- not the lake. Local knowledge babe!

I Beatrice said...

(Apologies in advance for the fact that this comment is likely to be longer than the original post. Feel free to edit and cut!)

Lest you should seriously be thinking of coming back to the south however, let me give you just one example of the hideous irritations you are likely to suffer in KEN'S LONDON....

Husband and I had tickets to see the First Emperor exhibition at the British Museum, and since the tickets are issued strictly on a timed basis, knew we hadn't much time, so decided not to try parking at the museum itself, but outside our son's place in Marylebone (congestion charge £10) - taking a cab from there.

Only trouble was.... the parking meters are now phone-operated, which means, first, you must have a mobile on you and second YOU MUST BE ABLE TO GET THROUGH!

WE fulfilled the first of these requirements, but failed totally on the second. You know the sort of thing I'm sure, even up in the North: "You have entered an invalid number; please try again."

Well we tried again and again, and each time the same message. On one occasion the automated voice actually demanded an 11-digit credit card number - I MEAN; even in the north I'm sure they don't have 11-digit credit card numbers!

So there we were, fuming on the street, and our time allowance at the museum steadily running out! My husband even summoned a passing meter attendant of the old-fashioned sort (and my husband can be very VERY peremptory when provoked) - but he knew nothing helpful either, and neither did his supervisor whom, taking full ten minutes about it, he phoned.....

The upshot of this story is that we never did get to see that exhibition - God help us, we didn't even get to park our car!

And its moral has got to be this: if you live in the north, stay there - at least until Ken's London becomes by some miracle Boris's London!

Of which small hope however, I rather fear.....

(Can't believe btw, that you alone in blogland, still subject your readers to the word verification thing!)

Potty Mummy said...

Rilly, London's Calling, don't you think?

And whilst I agree with Beatrice that Ken has made most things more difficult, must say that since he's extended the congestion zone, if you live inside it, life's peachy. Oh, the traffic hasn't lessened (but then why would it, we didn't need it in the first place), but nowadays we pay less in fees than we did in fines for forgotten journeys whilst we still lived outside it.

Not sure Ken anticipated that extending the zone would make more of us get in our cars than the other way round, but if there's any way to get up his nose, why not take it?

Jack Havana said...

Please stay Rilly. The blogosphere - never mind the North - will be a duller place without you. And no-one takes the much deserved piss out of Wife In the North quite as beautifully and mercilessly as your goodself.....

mutterings and meanderings said...

Don't go Rilly, I've only just come back ....

Calamity Jane said...

Gosh Rilly, are you orf? Don't do it. Please. Someone has to keep things in perspective, there is such a thing as being too far up one's own arse for one's health.

Calamity Jane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pig in the Kitchen said...

Oh rilly, a cliffhanger to end your book? Or just a little teasing spice before you carry on to the sequel?
Pigx

Mr Farty said...

Oh Rilly! Whatever shall we do without your sparkling wit and enchanting repartay? Please say you'll stay! Sob!

btw, Princess who?

Ms Baroque said...

Rilly, Rilly, my dear, I expect you're just suffering those jitters we all get at this time of the year. I imagine the Aga ceremony would have been enough to bond you to the place, really.

Just let us know where to send the care packages and magazines.

aims said...

I haven't got a clue who Ken is - is he the guy who hangs out with Barbie?

Just glad to see a post from you Rilly....

Mopsa said...

I love this cliffhanger business at the end of an episode. And soaps go on and on regardless. Even Northern ones.

lady thinker said...

Rilly dear - the best thing for you to do would be to buy a little pad in London just to visit when you need a short break in which to remind yourself that London isn't as civilised as we all imagine it is when we are no longer living there.
There is a recession on the way. Soon little places in London will be on the market on a BOGOF basis. Then you'll be able to have your cake and eat it.

We do so miss your musings on life in the North - I think you should remain there and campaign to have the fine things of life(e.g. Waitrose) set up in the northern hinterlands.

I'm sure life there will improve once this Northern Rock problem has been resolved. Why, even the BBC is moving half it's staff North - you will soon find some like minded people to mix with.

Flowerpot said...

Glad to see you again Rilly - I hope you are planning to grace blogland a while longer - in the new year perhaps?

Sparx said...

Ah me... come back if you need but please find something awful about life down here otherwise what in the world will the rest of us have to feel smug about? And laugh at, by the way.

dulwichmum said...

Happy Christmas and New year dear heart.

@themill said...

Go? surely not?