Wednesday, 20 May 2009

In which I am pre-emptively homesick

The sun has been shining all day as a demonically clever and careful surgeon did my brother's brain biopsy without incident. He's in ICU recovering sore and battered with a set of deliciously toxic wafers in his head, and we can all breathe a little easier, momentarily.



London in the sunshine is an odd proposition - it has caught at least half of the city out and they are suffering in opaque tights and rain coats while many of the rest are in equally ill-advised vest tops. The South Bank where I find myself, twitchy and paranoid at crossing the river (to the land where, so we North Lononders tell each other as we gather together to worship at Centrepoint, man eating dragons roam free), is bizarrely festive, with The Perpetually Present Mariachi Band (says Antonia when we share a cupcake in the sun and ideas for new Mills & Boon series combining the evergreen popularity of tweed, moors and doctors with our new emphasis on necrophilia) serenading groups of Italian youths with matching rucksacks and some really hideous street performers making me want to claw my own eyes out. At least my ridiculous packing looks a little less outlandish with the temperature grazing 18 degrees and I don't look quite so much like a refugee from a Newcastle nightclub with pimply blue bare legs and high heeled lilac sandals. I seem to find it impossible to remember what season this is but I feel sure it is not 'dress like a crazed slut month'.



With no childcare or huddling duties for the afternoon and Frank not allowed visitors for a couple of days, I manage to walk across a good swathe of London, from Westminster to Waterloo, then across to Covent Garden, up Neal Street, Seven Dials, Charing Cross Road, Oxford Street and back on the tube to Notting Hill when an incipient blister starts threatening. I am doing magnificently at the not shopping until I reach Magma when it all instantly goes wrong and I flit around distracted and enchanted by the Rob Ryan cards, make your own monster kits, perpetual calendars, Japanese soft toys, light fittings and am almost incapable of leaving without sweeping the whole shop into my suitcase. My suitcase is giving me some concern anyway, since I appear to have bought 10 books so far and counting, and only read one very short one (this). On top of the five pairs of shoes I brought with me plus the laptop, I don't see getting back to Brussels in one piece as an easy enterprise.



Getting back to Brussels, apart from the obvious and manifold delights of the boys ("have you found our present yet? Fingers wants the Ben 10 alien set and I want the Pokemon Ouistisinge marble shooter HAVE YOU GOT THE PRESENTS no, don't want to talk we are watching Oggy and the Cockreeeches HAVE YOU GOT OUR PRESENTS") is not a prospect filling me with much joy. This week is moving much too fast, galloping away from me as I try and hold onto every scrap of it. I feel a bit torn. Actually, who am I kidding, I feel ripped into shreds at the thought of leaving. I know it isn't quite yet and I still have lunch with The Internet's Most Glamorous tomorrow and even when I do go, it's only two hours on the train. And yet, and yet. I know all the reasons we live in Belgium and I know it was very much my decision, but OUCH.

Ouch.

17 comments:

expateek said...

Dammit, now you've made me homesick too. I miss London SOOOOOOOOOO.

But. Stiff upper, doncha know. Snag another suitcase on Regent Street and sweep all the fun Magma purchases into a second bag. What'll it be? Another 25 quid? You can say you needed more room for the pressies.

xx thinking of you and your brother... hope all goes smoothly....

GingerB said...

Ahh, London in sunshine. I lived there from April to June, and a sunny day made me want to yell "stampede!" while pale white humans ran to fill every pocket park and bit of green space as they jostled each other to catch the sun.

Best to your brother and all of you.

Antonia said...

I thought you looked incredibly chic today, and I take my hat off to you for walking all that way in heels. Now I shall put my hat back on, because my hair looks like a nest today, as you know.

Love and tweed-sheathed, icy-cold members,

A x

Ali said...

I miss London terribly, although I am much more a bajillion hour plane ride than a couple of hours via train away. I will never recover, however, from pale British men discarding their shirts at the slightest hint of sunshine. Bless their hearts. I would find it very hard in your situation and am in full support with your filling an extra couple of suitcases with delightful Londony things to keep you going.
x

Mrs Jones said...

Simple answer to your quandary - why don't you come back home? You've already said the boys English language skills aren't up to scratch so this is your perfect excuse.

MissMtheBeekeeper said...

Today I will be mainly living vicariously through the twitter updates of you, Mrs Trefusis and LLG. Also resisting the urge to stand outside Bocca di Lupo and gawp/paw at the window longingly. Have a wonderful day in the sunshine!

Potty Mummy said...

JW: a bit of light relief...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/devon/8061144.stm

alik said...

nice blog.... nice you too...

livesbythewoods said...

You were in Westminster?? Next time, call me so we can do tea and cake together.

Glad the hideous brain probing is over for a while,will keep my fingers crossed for you.

peevish said...

Best wishes to you & your brother. And I hope you have another sunny day tomorrow for your glamorous luncheon.

screamish said...

curious how you heard about Helen Garner's book...good choice...try another of her books, Monkey Grip ..pretty full on...the soundtrack's not bad too

screamish said...

oundtrack to the film needless to say not the book!

redfox said...

Sunshine of every sort! I am glad to hear it.

It has been sunny here too and I feel rather ashamed at how easily my feelings are manipulated as a result. Just two days ago it was chilly and grim, and I was huddling in deep wretchedness with best friend whose father has just died. Today it was hot and bright and we could sit in the back garden looking through old photos and be happy. How cheaply good cheer can be bought, sometimes.

Lisa said...

I've been wondering how things are. I hope that lunch was at least delightful. I'm keeping a good thought for your brother.

Jessica K said...

Between you and Mothership, I am having major London love sickness.
I remember walking all over London - such a great city to walk in.
Did you get to Marylebone, Patisserie Valerie and Daunt Books?
I cant wait for the lunch report.

dragondays said...

Just in case you are feeling homesick for Brussels (LOL) Kai Mook is the latest addition to Antwerp Zoo.

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