R is for… Retreating and Returning

Amazingly, I’m managing to get online today by tethering to my mobile phone – so, a quick post before it gives up and I have to return to internet-less exile. I have returned to the city I’m in love with, the great, ancient megalopolis where grand Victorian terraces sit on old Roman roads next to ugly concrete estates, where people are loud and rude and have harsh accents, where it takes at least fifteen minutes to drive two miles, where you have to take out a second mortgage on your house if you want to afford a beer, where rent and transport cost more than your entire pay-cheque, and where I am always ridiculously, surprisingly, hopelessly happy. I’m now less than ten miles from where I grew up, but still only five minutes’ drive from the Hertfordshire countryside. There are horses in a field just down the road from me, and country parks nearby, and the beautiful River Brent (or Brigant – sound familiar? *grin*) is ten minutes away. But I can hop onto the tube (from a wheelchair-accessible station!) and in 25 minutes I can be at the British Library, art galleries, theatres, some of the best shopping in the world, and all of that stuff that I cannot afford because my rent is a stupid number of pounds that should be illegal. But it’s the happiest poverty that anyone can experience! OK, I will stop gushing about London now.

To move here I had to say goodbye to Nottingham, though – or, more accurately, to the land on the outskirts of Nottingham that has been my beautiful home for three years. We had a really hard time moving out – we couldn’t get everything into the van, and had to come back for more boxes two days after we left. It was like something didn’t want me to go. Realising I hadn’t made offerings or said ‘thank you’ to the land and its spirits, because I’d been so busy during the move, I headed over to the River Trent once I’d wrangled the last of the boxes into my car. Offerings were made, thanks were said, little gifts from the land were accepted, and I left feeling much more ‘finished’ (at least for now) than I had when I rushed off on Friday.

Hawthorn berries near the Trent

Hawthorn berries near the Trent


Blackberry season

Trisantona (the Trent) on a beautiful late summer afternoon

Trisantona on a beautiful late summer afternoon

Retreating is odd… but returning is odder. I was basically still a Christian when I left London. Out of habit, my first thought when I arrived, as a good Anglican, was “Which parish am I in?” (I found out the answer, too – there’s an ancient church down the road, attached to the most beautiful old graveyard, with yew trees and curious spirits.) There’s a Pagan moot nearby that I’ll be trying out tonight, and it feels weird – like worlds colliding. I don’t know if I can find Pagan community here like I had in Nottingham. It will be interesting to find out.

And being a few miles from the suburb where I grew up is incredibly strange. I’m going to have to go back and wander around a bit, see how it feels. No doubt it’s changed a lot. I know I have.

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Off-topic, but I’ll stick it in the same post – Scathcraft nominated me for a Liebster Award, which was very kind, and now I have to answer ten questions. So here we go.

Scathcraft’s questions:

1. Are you a day-person or a night-person? I am a reluctant day person. I used to be a night person, but these days I need a lot of sleep, and apparently I now function better at 7am than at 10pm. I think I got old. Still, it’s lovely and quiet in the early morning when no one is up except me (and my mad wife, who thinks the day starts at 5am, which is really taking the ‘morning person’ thing too far).

2. If you could only take 3 objects on a desert island, what would they be? My grandfather’s watch. An extremely large box of Yorkshire Gold tea. My wife.

3. A supernatural being grants you 3 wishes. What are they? This scooter, this house, and an academic job where I can work three days a week, from home, on my own schedule. (The last two are entirely fantasy. The scooter, however, I am planning to get soon, by hook or by crook, and ideally without breaking the law.)

4. Where do you feel at home (apart from home)? River banks and sea shores. The wife calls me a water-elf for a reason.

5. A phobia? Spiders. (They want me to die. I can just tell.)

6. A person (alive or deceased) you admire, and why? Colin Barnes, who created Disability Studies and made it what it is today. A great man.

7. The one thing that makes you so furious you could become dangerous? Injustice, especially towards disabled people and others who are vulnerable. The way this government is currently treating disabled people and others in need, specifically.

8. Something that makes you forget the entire universe? Painting.

9. Can you define who you are in three words? Heh. Probably not. OK, let’s try… Committed, thoughtful, tea addict. (See? It takes four words.)

10. What swear-word do you often say? I didn’t swear regularly until I met my wife. Now every third word out of my mouth is ‘fuck’. You can blame SJ.

I am now supposed to nominate ten people for this award, but since I’m not sure I know ten bloggers, let’s just go for five:

Emerald at Emerald’s Ramblings
Grey Catsidhe at The Ditzy Druid
Sean at The Rambling Witch at the Crossroads
Lon Dubh at Seashells and Shamrocks
Pagan Layman

My questions to my nominees:

1. You’re throwing a dinner party for five people from history, of your choice. Who are they?

2. What makes you happy?

3. It’s been a long, tiring day. What do you do with your evening?

4. What’s on your favourite altar or shrine?

5. Where would you most like to live, in all the world?

6. What one item would you take with you to a desert island, and why? (Personal item, I mean. Assume camping gear, knives etc are already provided. :P )

7. Favourite type of tea?

8. City or country?

9. Cricket or baseball? (There is a right answer. *grin*)

10. Tell me a joke…

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