Earlier this month I shifted to London, with a brief, muddy (but otherwise delightful) detour through a boutique Welsh village for the Hay Festival. Packing and moving continues to be the horror that it is. Always too many books. But London is a relief. Another week in remote Stirling would probably have driven me insane.
The house in London is in front of a three-way crossing. There are corner shops and grocers and restaurants and takeaway joints all along the road. Three doors down is the Corvus’s favourite Irish pub, which is centuries old, back from the time when this part of the country was still known as Middlesex. (We located it on an 18th century map of Middlesex the other day.) But what I like the most is the large green park right across the road from the house, to which my large window opens out, and there is warm, glorious light all day. This room is smaller than any room I’ve ever lived in. Especially when the Corvus is down here, accompanied by his steampunk laptop, we constantly have to throw things aside to be able to move. But it feels large. Nearly as large as the room in the Other City before the west-facing window had to be blocked up, although that room was easily twice its size. But especially with the long – really long – days in London, it feels like I am swimming in light from about 5 in the morning to about 9.30 at night. On days that are sunny, like today, I am almost convinced that I can keep the depression at bay for ever. Of course, this bright weather will not last. I was here in January too, and I was ill, and it was so endlessly miserable that for the longest period I just wished I could die. My body is yet to recover from the damage of those weeks.
If I’m going to miss Stirling at some point, the feeling hasn’t struck yet. I do miss having an ensuite bathroom, but there’s little else. I wish I could attend more classes with two of the people who taught me, but nine months is too little to form an attachment and I wonder if I actually miss them. Occasionally I miss saving more money, but I don’t miss not having anything to spend money on. Stirling was one thing off the checklist, one lesson learnt – I don’t think I’ll ever be able to live in a small, picturesque town or village. The beauty and serenity of nature drives me up the wall in precisely a week. I don’t want to live anywhere which is not a major city, with a thriving cultural scene and interesting people from a range of backgrounds and supermarkets round the corner and actual public transport.
I hope I’m going to have enough peace of mind to actually study and write.