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 years “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.