Monday, April 16, 2012

The Cautionary Tale of the Fat Grey Seal

I've been quiet for the last month, but that's a good thing, because any posts would have been fantastically dull. I spent much of March applying for a new job (I didn't get it, sadly), working my arse off and earning myself a holiday.

The holiday part is quite good, though. We went to the beautiful West Highlands of Scotland, bathed in sunshine upon our arrival and with temperatures in the high teens (on the first day, anyway). I wore waterproofs and hiking-type shoes almost nonstop, and actually enjoyed it, despite looking frightful in all our holiday snaps.

We walked. A lot. We sailed (well, someone else drove and parked the boat. I know I'm using the wrong words, and I don't care - I know nothing of boats). We watched birds! We saw enormous grey seals! They looked ridiculous! I wouldn't mess with them, though. Those blubbery blighters. Look at that one there, giving us stinkeye. He knew. We would have been happier on his turf. No wonder it was being guarded so carefully.


There was a lot of whisky and cullen skink and Lorne sausages. There was no TV aerial in the flat where we stayed and so we watched some Hitchcock films and - fittingly - the DVD extras on Braveheart. There was also no phone reception to speak of, so it was pretty darned relaxing. I managed to read a lot and the days seemed longer, something I often long for in a normal working week.

It made me think very hard about city living. Without exception, every local we met in the sleepy little Argyll village we stayed in seemed to pity us for living in London. Some had lived and worked here themselves, and had great stories to tell, but none missed it. One couple in their sixties had come back for a holiday and enjoyed themselves, but for the most part the men hated cities and the women got their cultural fixes in Glasgow or from holidays in other places.

I don't think I'm quite ready to live in a place where no shops are open past 6pm (or indeed on Sundays) but it did make me consider what one really needs from the place they live. Something I seem to do regularly each time I leave the city, whether for a couple of days or a couple of weeks. I keep hearing that little voice beckoning me away. And I do wonder if I'd be more productive; maybe writing more, maybe spending more time talking to friends, less time exhausted on the sofa, less time travelling, less time worrying about money.

I know, I know. It's been two years of this love/hate shit with London. Even I'm bored of it now. I'm like a woman scorned who keeps telling her friends he'll change. 

So, definitely time for a new record. This is the last time I say this. Promise.