This weekend, I was coaxed back home to the countryside, I have no ‘home’ there, just a guest room to occupy temporarily, but be it habit or be it the countryside itself, I always call it home. (I suppose London is my adoptive home, lucky London.) I returned home to finally step into the pointed, high heeled shoes of adulthood; a school friend was getting hitched.
But marriage is another story for another time; the wedding is so fresh that my feet are still crippled from my adult shoes, I think I need a little more time to process. What I didn’t need to consider, however, was my love for my countryside. Yes, my countryside. It might only be an hour and a half from the greyness and the crowdedness of London, but it felt like another world away. I stepped out of the train and it even smelt different; clean, fresh and, well, green. It smelt green. A new coat of rain enhanced all the earthy smells that made my lungs bloom with excitement and liberation.
I felt the need to reacquaint myself with the countryside which I had neglected for 8 months (except for the brief, obligatory visit at Christmas which was spent mostly with the food and the presents and, oh, the food) so I took myself for a walk, making sure to leave all technology behind. On a normal day walking around in London my Ipod is always tucked away in my bag in case I need to shut out the continuous London murmur. London’s sound track is like a jazz rift; the humming of cars, the shouts and whoops of individuals- sober and drunk, all occasionally (frequently) broken by the sound of emergency sirens. The country plays out a more simple tune, the whisper of trees and the constant trill of birdsong. I forget how many birds there are and how still life can be. In the country, my whole mood changes. I don my ancient green welly boots which I have had for at least a decade (my feet definitely stopped growing by 12, my height probably stopped shortly after, shortly after), and with these wellies upon my feet, I cannot help but adopt the country swagger. I have often thought that this walk, which involves a scuffing of heels, a swaying of shoulders and a swinging of arms, was just due to the relaxed nature and lack of pressure on country shoulders. Upon further consideration, I believe it is probably more to do with the difficulty of walking in wellies; although mine say size 4, they have stretched to double that size and would only be suitable for a thick footed troll. (Which I am not, even in my worst of moods.) So the scuffing is unavoidable, no matter how high I lift my knees, and I need to sway and wave my arms just to keep myself struggling forwards in a straight line. I had 4 pairs of socks on, in addition to a pair of trainer socks which ended up slipping down and becoming rather uncomfortable toe warmers, but still the wellies were incredibly roomy. It only added to the country spirit!
I took myself into a gorgeous bluebell wood and across a daisy and butter cup filled field where the air was thick with oxygen and lightly diluted with the muggy smell of pollen. I greeted lambs which, in their innocence, bounded up to me, let me stroke them, then bounced off again, disgruntled, when they realised that I had nothing for them. Their mothers kept their distance, I imagine they were judging me for the leather things they saw wrapped around my feet on my first arrival.
And now I am back, listening to the familiar hush of cars driving past my window in good ol’ London town. I cheated on London with the country this weekend, it understands though, it knows it can offer me things that the country can never hope to. So it will allow me my little indiscretion, as long as I come back committed. Which I am… for now.