I recently went to Bristol to stay with The Man for three weeks. He has been working down there on a temporary contract. (Those of you who follow me on Twitter may remember my excitable roars as I sat in the First Class Lounge at Paddington for the first time in my life, helping myself to free newspapers, bottles of water, biscuits and basically everything that wasn’t nailed to the wall.)
Anyway, I got to Bristol, had a little wander round and thought . . . Oh cripes! I want to live here! I could hear birdsong. I could meet The Man at the other side of the city and it took only half an hour to walk there. The streets were pretty and the architecture as varied as it was stunning. I looked at what was on at the theatre and there was pretty much just one theatre that I was interested in, rather than a bewildering fifty. The roads were quiet and some were even cobbled. I could hear seagulls and kept chancing upon beautiful parks that weren’t crammed with people because in Bristol people have things called gardens. I could jump in a car and be with my parents within 45 minutes. And The Man, driving in the opposite direction, could be with his. We could jump in a car together and drive to The Wales in about a minute.
And (most importantly) I went out for some mezze and was served a year’s worth of food, all for seven pounds fifty. Including halloumi that I would definitely kill someone for. IT WAS A MODERN BANQUET AND IT COST SEVEN POUNDS FIFTY AND WAS SERVED BY A MAN WHO KNEW HOW TO SMILE. AND DID I MENTION THE HALLOUMI.
(Cheese seems to wedge itself into every area of my life. Even into categories such as, ‘Deciding factors for choice of neighbourhood.’)
The next day I woke up and said to The Man, ‘I think I’d like to live here. In this Bristol place. What say you, The Man?’
The Man looked relieved. ‘Ah,’ he replied. ‘You’ll be pleased to hear, therefore, that I have just been headhunted for a massive job. In Bristol. Starting, erm, pretty much now.’
The story is a bit longer than that but I won’t bore you with it as I’m sure your enthusiasm for our domestic arrangements and The Man’s employment status is possibly not quite equal to mine – plus I am off soon to spend the day in a top secret super-luxury venue for free (shut up. I’m still on holiday) – but the basics are these:
1. The Man and I are moving to Bristol
2. Pretty much now
3. My wonderful, precious, mad, heartbreaking, unforgettable time in London has come to an end. Shall I write a poem or something? About London? (Hmmm? What’s that? Did someone just throw a rotten egg at me? Stop it! And another one! STOP IT!)
4. We have nowhere to live in Bristol.
5. RAHH! and ARGHH!
6. I shall be back soon with a non-poetic ode to the life and times of Lucy Robinson in London. It will read like Joyce’s fragmented visions of Dublin, or perhaps Hemingway’s spare yet affectionate portrait of Paris.
7. I am in shock.
8. I need to go and do some packing.