The Light and the Greenness

How lovely London is now that the trees are bristling and unfurling with leaves, and the wind and the light fall through them – it’s all so lush it seems decadent. When I walk past Tavistock Square on my way home after work I’m amazed and gratified by all the dappled greenness, and I realise that Narnia could never have been written in Oz.

The sunshine is gorgeous too, though makes me homesick. Despite my avowals not to become a burnt little biscuit this summer, but to sensibly apply my newly purchased tanning moisturiser (which is making me look jaundiced), I sat in the sun for two hours last weekend and burnt the bejeezus out of my back. It was only TWO HOURS, from 10am till 12pm – only one hour into the zone they say you shouldn’t sunbake in (11am-3pm). Would I have done that in Oz? No. But I thought the sun was benign here – I didn’t think that it was possible to get burnt.

And Saturday was the most joyous of joyous days, for I put away all my winter clothes, sprinkled with cloves in tightly knotted plastic bags, for last year the fucking moths ate through a £90 cashmere jumper, a good part of my dark red coat and a piece of my double breasted brown coat. I was absolutely gutted, especially about the red coat. It isn’t beyond repair – it just needs some artistic embroidery, which I can do – but I didn’t have time to attend to it this season. I know I ought not to be so fond of my clothes, but I spend so much time researching, saving for, shopping and wearing them that it’s hard not to become passionately attached to them. And now I’m just waiting for it to warm up some more so I can get into my lovely summer frocks.

Sunday afternoon was passed at Hampstead Heath. This was only my second time there and I’d forgotten how lovely it was – there’s something almost erotic about all that soft grass. We set up camp beside a pond and innumerable dogs wandered by, hoping for a bit of roast chicken, until their owners called them back. H repeated all their names to me – there was Benjy, Winston, Fudge and Sonic among others. The latter was a Scottish Deerhound, I think, who came up to us rather mournfully, and didn’t seem very animated. It moped around for a bit, then all of a sudden it inexplicably shot off back over the hill.

I drank too much champagne and Pimms, then stupidly enabled H to win Scrabble by making 22 points out of ‘zoo’ when he asked for help. I’m a bad loser at the best of times – especially at Scrabble – and if I hadn’t been inebriated I would have been very angry with myself. As it was however, the bubbles had given me the giggles so I laughed it off. Indeed, I am becoming quite mature in my old age.

Then A. and her new boyfriend turned up, and 5 Australian boys followed in their wake and began a game of soccer, and I mulled over the conundrum that I had suddenly seen more attractive men in one space than I had in all of the last 6 months in England.

Oh, and my novel is going onto it’s second printing after just 4 months. What bliss! If only Jane Campion would make a movie of it, with Cate Blanchett in it, of course.


4 Responses to “The Light and the Greenness”

  1. Great news about book, and I’ve gone all dreamy over your description of Hampstead Heath. Amazing what a bit of sunshine can do.

    I saw this today and thought of you:

    Hope you are OK, am down in a couple of weeks so will see you then.

  2. OBVIOUSLY I was only pandering to your literary scrabble-ego. Honestly, what kind of moron can’t see ‘zoo’ when they’re holding a ‘z’ and an ‘o’? Am secretly linguistic guru. Truly.

  3. /Karen/ Says:

    “It’s” second printing???

    But seriously, congrats! That’s wonderful! 🙂

    And I finally got around to listening to you on the ABC and felt like I understood a bit more about your love of plants, Molloy, etc. Thoroughly enjoyed it which I know isn’t saying very much but it em 10 pm here and I really ought to go to bed!

  4. Jessica Says:

    Uh-oh, you’d never think that I’d published a novel, would you? Lynne Truss will have me strung up now … XXX

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