• A Mile in Foreign Shoes

    by  •  • Life Skills, London

    This morning I packed the parents off in a hire car with James on their way to Bristol. It is a fucking fantastic day for it. Warm, sunny, calm.

    As soon as they were gone I hit the supermarket to restock. To get from my house to my closest M&S you have to walk through two large parks/greens. On my way back I saw a few people setting up for a picnic -something I was seriously considering for myself as I was shopping. I could call a couple of the flatmates, see who else was around. The day was so nice, why waste it?

    Well, because I am tired and over everyone’s company. What I actually want is a sunny afternoon lying on the bed (never in the bed, you get in the bed at night. Otherwise you lie on the bed) beside the window doing a bit of writing.

    First, some washing needed to be put out. And here is where I get to the underlying theme of this blog post. We have been here ten months now. At home, the sight of lots of washing hanging in the yard always seemed to me to be messy, unsightly. By the time I had hung my own washing out the line was extremely crowded with flatmate Zoe’s washing. There was still plenty of room for me because we have about a dozen wire clothes horses you can assemble in the yard.

    So this is what I did. And then hung out the washing. And because -being London- the yard is tiny, the small plot is positively dripping with wet clothes. This made me smile. Ahhh, sunshine means clean clothes for everyone for the whole week. How exciting.

    How exciting?!?! Seriously? This excites me, now?

    Well, of course. Because I am all too familiar with the alternative; wet clothing hanging in the kitchen all fucking week because the weather has been shithouse.

    These little things… ‘lovely little things’… Like knowing that your washing is going to dry pleasantly in the sun… things that always seemed to make English characters in Austen or Blyton or Lewis stories vaguely effete… They are working their magic on me.

    Back to picnics.

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    Last weekend Megan had her birthday picnic in Hyde park and everyone had a smashing time. When she first floated the idea for a picnic I leapt at it. We got up early, several friends came round and we prepped for hours. (My stuff was the clearly the most popular but Megan will dispute this even though I found her Spanish omlette bland and unprofessional.)

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    So now I am hooked. Any chance of sunshine and I am planning a picnic. Today, next weekend in Bristol… Whatever. I am obsessed with picnics. And I have been thinking… Is this a gay thing? Or a foreign thing?

    NO!

    It’s a zeitgeist thing. As this article in the Guardian makes clear. Incidentally it also explains why every store on Chiswick High aRd had run out of picnic blankets last Saturday. Which is also why Heidi is sitting on the grass like a hobo in the photo below.

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    Besides the fact that she is a hobo, of course.

    Anyway, I have resolved to become awesome at picnics. Especially as I have discovered that when it comes to drinking in public parks in England… Well, really anything goes. And with good daylight till at least 8pm already, that’s a lot of cava.

    Wherever and whenever I end up after Britain, I really do hope I take this appreciation for things that are small and… well… just lovely with me.

    I’m learning a lot from these foreign shoes.

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