Man in need of biscuits

Last night, after a lovely day with the children, I sat down on the sofa and had a think. I’d had a tough morning of tough thoughts, as any of you who watched my first Vlog might have seen. I was going to apologise for this Vlog, for being all out there and open. I posted it and then went to see my children so I didn’t have a chance to respond to some of the lovely supportive tweets, DM’s and comments I received until later that evening. But thank you all. I truly appreciate the time you took contacting me and for your words. Not quite sure what I’d do without you lot.

Anyhow, so there I was. Trying to find a thing online to watch so I could take my brain off the boil. Deciding whether I should sign up to Netflix or LoveFilm so I could watch a movie. I’m still not sure, so if anyone can let me know why they think one might be better than the other I’d appreciate it. I wanna sign up to a month of free trialness before the Olympics kicks in. BECAUSE THAT’S ALL WE’RE GOING TO HEAR FOR A WHILE!

So, unable to decide between one or t’other, I though a biscuit would help me make up my mind.

But I didn’t have any in my flat. The cupboard, like that Old Mother Hubbard’s, was bare.

It was Sunday at 8.00pm. And I had no biscuits. Or milk for a cup of tea for that matter. And no way of buying any of this because EVERYTHING WAS SHUT.

We moved to this town in 2007 and I liked it when we first moved here. It’s a small town in Hertfordshire. It wasn’t London, where I’d spent the previous 35 years of my life, but it was cool. Smaller, obviously, and a different pace of life. We moved here because my ex-wifes’s work relocated to somewhere close but it was a decision we made jointly.

In time, when the children were born and I was at home full-time, I found the world shrinking by inches each day. It was a 20 minute walk to the train station where I could get to Cambridge, but the limitations started to show themselves. A night out in Cambridge has to end early as the last train back leaves Cambridge at 23.15. That’s the equivalent of your mum saying ‘I want you back by midnight.’ Buses from Cambridge finish stop around 6.30pm, and no buses run through the town on Sundays. And I like a good bus as I don’t drive.

I started to miss London. Miss certain things about London. Local shops are much more fun and more interesting than shopping in a sometimes soulless supermarket. The world wasn’t shrinking. It HAD shrunk. The library closes when I want it to be open. The market is dire, the high street is closing down slowly, and more and more shops are going out of business.

The high street on a Sunday is like the street in a western just before a duel between two gunslingers. Closed up. Empty. Nothing but the church bells tolling.

I’ve written about feeling lonely before. Tis town seems full of people who know each other from school or by growing up here. Me? I feel a bit like an alien. Albeit a fit one. This feeling of everyone else knowing each other adds to a feeling of isolation, alienation and loneliness.

It’s safe to say that right now, I have no fondness for this town, nor any real desire to be here. My children live 10 minutes away from this flat and they’re my reason for being here. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here. I’d be somewhere else.

There are two supermarkets in this town. One is a big one owned by, I won’t mention the company’s name, Tesco. And the other one is a small Morrisons. They close at 4.00pm on a Sunday and then THAT’S IT. NOTHING. NOTHING UNTIL THE NEXT MORNING.

And last night I fucking needed biscuits.

No ingredients to make any. No secret biscuits hidden away for times like this. No emergency biscuits. Nothing.

In London I’d be able to pop to the shop at the end of the road any time of the day or night. I could walk 20 metres further and buy tomatoes which tasted wonderful and smelt, amazingly, of tomatoes. I could buy tins of stuffed vine leaves just in case I had no idea what I wanted to eat. I could buy exotic foods, flatbreads and dips. A couple of cans of refreshing lager. A chocolate bar for that little treat. A newspaper.

AND I COULD BUY BISCUITS. However many I wanted. I could go in and buy ’em all if I wanted. Boxes and boxes of cookies, bourbons, hobnobs, plain chocolate digestives and custard creams!

Samuel Johson, author and dictionary maker type dude once said of England’s capital city, my birthplace and home for many yearsΒ  “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.”

I think he should’ve added “and if you move out then you’ll be fucked for getting biscuits at 8.00pm on a Sunday night.”

The only places open at 8.00pm in this town on a Sunday are pubs and takeaways. So I could get pissed and buy a kebab.

But could I buy biscuits?

Could I fuck.

So, today, I’m going out to buy a shedload of biscuits. And a shed to put them in. Just in case.

Does anyone else have a similar feeling? Does this ring true for anyone else? Or is it just me and is this just a symptom of something else. Please let me know.

And thanks for reading.


31 responses to “Man in need of biscuits

  1. If you’re still in the town you were in I’m with you all the way. Stopped there once in urgent need of cake and coffee and found every last shop shut up because it was a Bank Holiday. You need to move!

  2. I thought it was just me!! It took me years to settle into the town I live now and I thought I was weird for not being able to call it my home or settle. I was even jealous of other people all looking like they loved where they lived… I never talked about it though because you can’t really open a conversation with that (usually?). We have a spar though about a 10 min drive away and they sell biscuits but usually only spar ones or Mr Kipling cakes (but they are nice)

  3. Well I’m in shock. I thought every town was subjected to Tesco-bloody-express. Maybe you’ve found a niche in the market of your town. Open a 24hour biscuit shop (sell cakes too please). I need a part-time job. I’ll come and work for you. You can pay me in custard creams πŸ˜‰

    Ps don’t apologise for your vlog. It was heart felt and honest. Made me want to look after you, be your friend and share, yes share, my custard creams with you.

    • That @motherventing also suggested I open a shop and sell things. However they would be things I need, and I’ll probably charge myself a ridiculous amount for them. Perhaps, if I stock up and be sensible, such ludicrous biscuitlessness will NEVER happen again.
      And thanks. You can have my custard creams anytime.

  4. Nonsense. It’s like the bullshit they have here in the states in “dry” counties. No liquor. Anywhere. Can’t buy it. Can’t drink it.

    You need to move. I’d maim my neighbor if I couldn’t get my fix of biscuits.

    • LOL, maim your neighbour! Perhaps I should’ve knocked on my neighbours door and asked for an emergency biscuit loan.
      Thanks for reading and for commenting.

  5. Oh no you are FAR from alone in feeling this way!!

    I lived in a small town (Lincoln) until when I went to uni I lived in Nottingham, just outside Berlin, and Russia. And suddenly that small town seemed far too small. Later I met Tim and moved to his hometown (Cambridge). I loved Cambridge, even getting a job in the tourist office. It wasn’t like London, but it was better than Lincoln πŸ˜‰ and I knew just enough people to make it pleasant.

    Since then my husband and I moved to Grantham and we have that exact same feeling of alienation, isolation and hating the place we live. We have no real friends here . The high street is bare even during the week (none of the shops you expect on a high street!) and everything closes at 4pm on a Sunday. We are now looking to move to Lincoln, because compared to here that small town seems wonderful and is more affordable for us to live in than Cambridge was. And my family is there and they have been the best support we could have ever asked for when going through my traumatic pregnancy and dealing with the after effects of it (including Tim’s depression).

    One day though I’d love us to go somewhere else, somewhere with more opportunities, more excitement, more life. Oh and better public transport… I don’t drive either and so have taken to walking everywhere, though that does limit the places I can go! But more importantly, when the place you live doesn’t enable you to buy emergency supplies of biscuits (or in my case, chocolate) at any time or day or night then there is a problem. I get ya!

    (Also, glad to hear you had a good day with your kids and please don’t apologise for your vlog. It was open, honest and very brave. I even showed it to Tim!)

    • Sounds like we’re in the same boat and so thanks for sharing your story.
      Perhaps we should petition for longer Sunday trading hours for those in dire need of biscuits. Or a life. πŸ™‚

  6. In Rome the shops shut stupidly early, and would only be open for an hour on Sunday, and some public holidays would not be open AT ALL, which if you are completely disorganised English people means you have no food for an entire day. Ridiculous. Shops need to be open ALL THE TIME.

  7. Having grown up in a village near said small town I can confirm it is the smallest of small towns! I’m also now in another small town after living in central Cambridge for years and it hurts! Might I suggest buying a load of biscuits and when drunk, hiding them around the house as a fun surprise when you think there’s no biscuits to be had/a fun game trying to find them when desperate? Or failing that, just move!!!

    • Biscuits around the house? Hmmm. Like the sound of that. I have lots now so maybe I’ll do that later.
      I don’t need to be drunk to forget things. I have a shocking memory. πŸ™‚

  8. I think what you’re feeling is less to do with where you are living, but what you have become used to. You’re used to being able to do anything 24/7 and the inability to do what makes you feel comfortable is getting you annoyed.

    I’m in the opposite situation to you, but feel equally annoyed. I live in Birmingham and have come from a relatively small town. I hate the city life. I want the shops to be shut on Sundays so I can have some peace and quiet.

    And I’m so very alone as all of my family and the people who were once my friends are too far away to help.

    Do you crave the biscuits or just the life in which you were so comfortable, now that you’re on your own?

    Either way, I feel your pain and admire you for being able to express it so fucking eloquently – beats being unhappy and just shrugging when asked why!

  9. Well I think you’re responding to being in a place where you wouldn’t be except for your family, which is now as it was. So, while all the rest was always true it didn’t feel so obvious before. Now it’s a flashing neon sign.

    • I wondered that too. After writing this and then rereading it. But you spotted it first time round which means I owe you a biscuit.
      Thanks for reading and for your spot on comment. Gosh you do read people well.

  10. Baking is the way forward my friend. Does rely somewhat on doing one big ‘shop’ to ensure you have the ingredients but then the world’s your oyster (or HobNob)
    Have only once been in a similar situation, living in a tiny village with one shop that opened if they felt like it, and it was not good. Not good at all but certainly made me plan ahead…
    Oh and btw, plain chocolate digestives, world’s best biscuit ever….

  11. I know what you mean about your world getting smaller. Even after 10 years away, I was only saying last week I missed London where everything is on your doorstep 24/7. Can’t rule out a return one day. Though doesn’t help on the biscuit front.

    • Not sure if it’s London I miss, or an old life, or a combination of the both. One thing I know it I’m close to my kids and that’s good. Biscuits can wait.

      • It’s probably a bit of a redundant feeling. I’m only missing London since my kids went to school & I became redundant from the role of SAHM. You no doubt have more time on your hands now they are at nursery to ponder on such things as well. They really do fill your time when little.

  12. I live in Preston but the shops are up the hill. I always need something after the local shop shuts. I think I will have to fill the cupboards soon.

    I come from Essex. I moved to Preston in 2004. I love Preston, I miss my family. Sometimes I wish I was living in Essex again. But then I will miss Preston. I think I will stay in Preston. Essex, especially where I am from, has nothing for my daughter. At least in Preston there is lots of things to do…just need the weather to do them!

  13. Netflix! I had both, lovefilm never send you what you actually want in the post! So annoying. And their online stuff isn’t high def while Netflix is. Also Netflix is cheaper πŸ™‚

    • Interesting. You’re the first person to help with this. My worry is about my downloads as I do watch a lot of movies when I get stuck in. So I was thinking LoveFilm to save on broadband use. Hmmm. Now I’m torn. But thanks for your help. πŸ™‚

  14. I miss Bristol for similar reasons. I *loved* being in Bristol, in the middle of the city and everything about it.

    Then I got divorced, met a man with kids who lived in the country and refused to move as he wanted to stay near them. So I upped sticks and moved to a little town, hah village more like. And lo, and behold his ex moves them off to farking Birmingham.


    • Bristol’s a great city, and I can totally understand why you miss it. I guess, in a few years when my ex takes the children to Scotland that’s the point at which I decide to move, if I haven’t already done so before then. While being close to my kids is great I don’t see them very often to make waiting around in this place worth it.
      Thanks for your story, and thanks for reading. πŸ™‚

  15. This so reminded me of when I first moved up North to my husbands home town from the amazing city that is London. It was a 1 horse, 8 pub town. & if you did dare walk in any of the pubs the locals would stare at you with a glare that said piss off. Anything apart from a pub opened 9 to 5 & closed Wednesday afternoons & most certainly the weekends. Buying biscuits on a Sunday evening would have been out of the question so i really feel for you. I craved London & all it had to offer. 3 years on we thankfully moved. Buxton is not quite London but I cherish all it is has to offer. Never again will I take for granted a Tesco Express.

    • I’ve been to Buxton a number of times. That number being 3. I enjoyed it when I went, as I was at university just up the road, but that was as a visitor. Sounds like you made a good move, and a great choice.

      Thanks for reading and for commenting. πŸ™‚

  16. I think you only feel at home in the place where you grew up. Have lived here for 16 years and it still doesn’t feel like home. Wouldn’t want to uproot kids now. Wish I’d stayed closer to ‘home’. Only half hour away but half hour too far.

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