"Oh it must be so nice to live out in the country!" they say. I don't quite know what they really mean when they say that. It's an aspiration thing I guess, when they say that they're thinking Darling Buds of May, an extremely bucolic never ending summer.
They don't think about the moment the countryside slides from autumn into winter, when the first winds come howling in across the North Sea from the Urals and the gold of the retreating season turns into the rotting vegetation of the next. They probably aren't considering the gelatinous mud that pervades every moment outdoors either, nor are they contemplating the crushing loneliness of life in a settlement where you rarely interact with anyone else.
The fact is, it is nice to live in the country, but not in a way anyone who is whisked from Chelsea Tractor to centrally heated des res and never really comes into contact with the place at all will understand. It's nice to have a mental map of miles of countryside with a detailed knowledge of where the good blackberries are, where you sometimes find mushrooms, or where you can find a pear tree unexpectedly growing in a hedge. It's also nice to have a store of hidden places, small turnings from the beaten track into which you can fade away if you want to avoid being seen, corners you've known since childhood that are magic even in a cold and damp October.
With the advancing winter comes something I remember from years ago when I last lived here year-round. Your life shrinks to the domain that remains comfortable, so the horizon moves a lot closer. And with that comes that loneliness I mentioned: for the first time in years you find yourself caring about TV schedules.
I have to move on a bit, but I don't know how. I remarked to a friend a couple of weeks ago that I hadn't really realised how much my travails over the last two years - my mother's death, departure of Mrs. J, my problems at work - had affected me. She said it had been rather obvious to those around me, I had a period of losing interest in life. I guess you could map it here, count the number of posts by month over that period.
I don't know how to move on really because I haven't moved on in myself as much as I'd like. Losing a partner is something I'm not sure how to get over, I'm certainly not there yet. But even if I was, how on earth could I move on? Dating? Wasn't really something I cracked back in the day, I can't honestly see it being a success now. What do I even want from it anyway? All I ever wanted was to settle down and have a family, something which seems a very distant possibility at the moment.
I'm spending my days at the moment building a small business. An abrupt right-turn from my original business model into my training as an electronic engineer, and making some electronic stuff for a living.
So how's about this for a pitch, I'm in my 40s , live at my parents house which is miles and miles down bad roads, and have a small business that's yet to make any money to speak of. And I'm looking for a relationship.
I can see them falling for that in droves, can't you?