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.