Reasons to Be Cheerful (Part I)
We are back from three blissful weeks in West Ireland. When I thought about returning to London, it was with dread. I wasn’t looking forward to the pollution, the dirt and the noise. However it was time. I’d got fat and lazy in Ireland, just lounging around, reading (I recommend Sofia Tolstoy's Diaries) eating, and jumping into the freezing Atlantic sea for a few freezing seconds.
Reasons to Be Cheerful:
My Cat: – She’s fatter too, but paradoxically refused to eat while we were away, even though I’d arranged for someone to feed her. She’s an old slapper and was probably being fed somewhere else.
Friends: Loved going around to see old friends last night and finding out they are expecting a baby.
My desk: I find it hard to concentrate anywhere else but at my own desk. I feel like a character out of Rear Window I can see all the neighbours coming and going as I try to concentrate on my writing. It’s like watching a very slow soap opera. It’s very different to seeing the giant hare and the odd seagull out of the window from the house in Ireland.
A normal Diet: In Ireland I ate vast quantities of soda bread with smoked salmon, cheese, and homemade jam. We had real foodie guests and they wouldn’t stop thinking about food and cooking food. I put on at least two kilos. It really was time to get home.
The Park Club Even though we went for hearty walks (we even climbed Diamond Mountain in Connemara) and swam in the freezing sea, I didn’t really exercise. I missed my health club with it’s huge outdoor swimming pool and every class imaginable. It’s good to be back.
The Street Party: We were just back in time for our second street party. We had one last year. It’s easy to arrange - you just have to do a collection for charity and the council will shut the street down for the day. It’s really good fun and the children loved having the road shut so they could bicycle up and down, play ping-pong in the road and rush into each other’s houses. Shame it can’t be more like that all year round. We all ate together and I met a man of 83 who’s been living in the street since the Blitz! He said in the old days, when he was a child, they had two street parties a year – one at Christmas. When I looked shocked and wondered about eating in the cold, he said they didn’t notice things like that, they were just so pleased to escape the tedium of work.