And We’re Off…

April 28, 2008

Right, the boxes are all packed, the cleaning process has begun, and tomorrow we start the journey north.

There will now be a short hiatus as not only will we not have broadband for a while, but BT have just rung to inform me we won’t have a telephone line until Friday and oh, that will be 130 quid…

When you’re Tired of London…

April 26, 2008

Brring brring … it’s the Lib Dems on the phone, ringing to see if I’ve noticed there’s a mayorial election going on. I have, as it happens, and I even toyed with the idea of getting myself a postal vote so I could still participate, seeing as my local polling station will be inconveniently a few hundred miles away on the big day. After all, there’s a frighteningly good chance that London could be be in the charge of a blithering idiot* this time next week. But voting for mayor from the safety of Scotland seems a little unfair – no representation without taxation and all that. So I told the nice young man I was moving to Scotland and wouldn’t be taking part. ‘Had enough of it, have you?’ He said. ‘Scotland. Lucky you.’ It seems even the pols are weary of the rat race these days.

Then I open the paper to read Ian Jack inciting Londoners to head for Scotland if Boris wins, or maybe even if he doesn’t. Nice as it is to actually be ahead of a trend for once, I wish he’d kept schtum. If everyone who I’ve told we’re moving, and who got a wistful expression in their eyes at the thought of it, actually upped sticks and moved, we could have a problem. We’re moving to get away from it all, not bring it all with us.

*I leave it up to you to decide which one. Literally, if you live in London.

Don’t Panic

April 24, 2008

I have just spent the last hour packing boxes while having my will to live sapped by listening to You and Yours. I’m not panicking about the fact that I’ve only managed to pack four boxes, and that includes the one I didn’t actually unpack when we moved in *cough* three years ago. Or not so far, anyway. And up until about half an hour ago, I wasn’t panicking about the fact that Scotland – you know, the place we’re moving to – is undergoing a massive fuel crisis, with prices rocketing to 1.45 a litre, rationing imposed, queues at forecourts across the land. No, I was keeping calm about that. Our moving guys are professionals, they’ll have something worked out, these things always turn out less serious than the media make out, it’s all a self-fulfilling prophecy, it’ll be fine.

Don’t panic.

And then the guy from the petrol retailers’ association came on and told us all not to panic. And now all of a sudden, I’m worried. Anyone got a jerry can I can borrow? Or three?

Culture Shock

April 22, 2008

I’m on the phone to the new letting agents, making sure everything is in order for the move next week.

Me: ‘Oh, and we’ll probably be arriving quite late, can you drop the keys off at the B&B so we can be there first thing in the morning?’

Letting Agent: ‘Oh don’t worry about that, where you are, it will be fine if I just leave them under a stone at the house.’*

This is NOT London. And there will be other cultural differences, I know. My mother was quite anxious to remind me that if I bump into someone I know at the supermarket, I have to stop and chat to them. Plus there’s the whole waving to other drivers thing, and – the one that I will find strangest of all – the fact that your postman comes in and has a chat while delivering the letters instead of stuffing your post and half your neighbours’ through your letter box and then scarpering with your Amazon orders.

* Other half (when I report this exchange to him): just make sure she tells us which stone

What I’ll Miss

April 20, 2008

When I tell people I’m moving from London to go and live in the middle of nowhere, when they’ve finished telling me I’m mad, they ask me what I think I’ll miss.  At first it’s hard to think of anything (pigeons? Carbon monoxide?) but there are some things that have come to mind as we start preparing to move in earnest.

Privacy. In London, no-one can hear you scream. Or at least, if they do, they’ll pretend they haven’t. So you can do what you like and you will can be sure that nobody will openly notice. This includes blogging. As certain bloggers of my acquaintance have found out, there’s no such privacy in the country…

Popping out to the shop. As people keep telling me, we’ll have to be more organised. At the moment, we nip out for a pint of milk, or a loaf of bread, or an emergency tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream approximately three times a week. Where we’re going, the nearest shop is seven miles away. And with petrol currently at £1.10 a litre, that’s going to start proving expensive…

Which brings me to public transport. Yes, I did devote an entire blog to moaning about this, but the prospect of absolutely no public transport at all is daunting. Until a few months ago, I hadn’t driven for five years. No point, you see. And we had no car. And just when we are about to move to one-bus-a-week land, petrol prices move up into second mortgage territory. Moving to the country plays havoc with your carbon footprint.

Big Ben. It bongs. We can hear it from our bedroom. In a funny sort of way it’s rather comforting as it sounds out the hours. And the half hours. And the quarter hours, all through the night. It makes insomnia feel rather glamourous. And yes, I am referring to the bell, not the clock tower.

I’m sure there’s more, but that’s what comes to mind. And what I won’t miss? Well almost being brained by a dustcart as I was mentally composing this entry in my head, has got to be up there…