Sunday, 5 September 2010

Time for a trip to the city

Tomorrow I am off to London to see the friend with whom I walked the Offa's Dyke path last year.  I thought I would come and go to London more often than in fact I have.  I managed a couple of trips while younger daughter still lived in London but now that she has moved out to Oxfordshire I haven't a base there and the months have whizzed by without a visit.

I feel wholly out of touch with city life, weirdly out of touch for someone who worked in London and in Manchester for so long.  I think I look all wrong these days, all city polish long gone.  My hands are a total giveaway that my life now is spent in the garden.  My hair will need serious battering with brush and drier to stop it being a cloud about my head and I have absolutely no idea what to wear.

When I worked in London I always wore formal suits.  I still have them lined up in my wardrobe and have occasional use for them in the more formal bits of my new working life: grey, black and navy suits with white fitted shirts were my work uniform.  So easy to look professional in a suit, no wonder men wear them all the time.  Now I am sitting here in ancient jeans donated by my elder daughter, a bright yellow t shirt and a pink fleece.  If I were to turn up at Euston station wearing this I would look like a brightly coloured tramp.  It is funny, the London effect.  I would look ok in our local village, a bit scruffy in our local town but in any big city I would just look odd and in London I would look like an alien.  So tomorrow I think it will be back to the navy and white, even if the navy is my tidy jeans and the white an embroidered shirt.  But I might wear my short orange jacket just to make me smile.  It is funny.  I hadn't really noticed that I have got fonder and fonder of colour over the last year, but I have.  Must be making up for all those years of monochrome.

I might go down to Covent Garden before I meet Erica and wander about or sit in a cafe and overdose on people.  Then we can drink and chat and catch up and eat too much curry and have too much wine.  Just for once all the usual obsessions of life up here can wait: the wildflower meadow, the apple harvest,  the new cushion covers, the cucumber pickles .  Time for a day off from domestic bliss.  Time to go AWOL.

12 comments:

  1. Oh, its just so nice to get away sometimes. Even just for a day can do amazing things ( usually make us realize that home is what we love the best). I keep saying sometime I'm going to take a vacation at home and tell everybody not to call me, come over, because I'm on vacation at the place I love the most. I haven't had the nerve to do it yet. so enjoy!

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  2. Have a great time in the city. I look forward to the day when I have only one wardrobe - the one for my real life.

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  3. I quit London's Stock Exchange over 40 years ago, but until last year still had a pinstripe suit and bowler in the wardrobe. Here in France even ties are redundant.

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  4. Have a good time Elizabeth x

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  5. Ok, all sorted and ready to go, even used the hairstraighteners. I may get funny looks in the village if I stop at the shop for a paper. Total waste of time of course as the forecast is for rain this evening so smoothness will be very short lived but, hey, at least I tried!
    And took hay seeds out too.

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  6. As a fellow occasional visitor to London who dons a smart suit and increasingly feels at sea in the crush of people and tube maps and oyster cards, I can empathise with so much of what you say. I just feel so much slower than anyone else, though whether this is the effect of the country or not I don't know. But I do know what you mean about sitting in a crowded cafe and watching the world go by. I also wonder whether there isn't a kind of writers' uniform of colorful cashmere sweater, jeans and perhaps a scarf if it's cold, not that I personally run to cashmere very often colorful or otherwise. I agree though it would look odd in London. No, that's not true it wouldn't look odd (you could be stark naked in London for the notice you'd get) but you would just feel as though it looked odd, and I guess that must be the same thing. Lovely thinking post as always. Enjoy your day!

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  7. Isn't this interesting? My experience is,in a sense, completely opposite.

    For three or four months, I lived on the edge of Exmoor and spent a lot of my time on my own, scrabbling around in the woods or by the river.

    Then I lived in London for a while. Then near Oxford.

    In both cities, I wore a bright, bright red waterproof coat, long enough to go beyond the tops of my wellies (if I had been wearing them) - that kind of coat - but no-body saw me. I'd get to the front of queues but the person behind me would be served. Doors would fall back across my face. Hardly anyone spoke. I had become invisible. Something had happened during that time in the country. I had gone so quiet within myself (standing watching deer) and become so much the observer (so much to observe!) people couldn't see me any more.

    It was an odd experience. After a while, the effect wore off - though I think a little of it remains and I have a bit of a habit of appearing and disappearing when in company.

    It's not what you wear but whether, after a while in the hills, you can still be seen.

    Esther

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  8. Hope that you enjoyed your day in the city Elizabeth and enjoyed meeting up with your friend.

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  9. What is that rather beautiful loud pink butterfly flower in your vase?

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  10. I lived in London for a year (Hackney), and Manchester for about 13 (Eccles and Old Trafford). I love to visit the city and be part of all the rush and bustle; hopping on and off busses, tubes, trams; in and out of shops... but I'd hate to live back inner city. I'd never keep up!

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  11. I love the idea of your orange jacket. Very zappy. Hope you had a lovely London day.

    Know what you mean about dressing for London - nothing ever seems quite right, but it looked fine when I put it on!

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