Living in a city like London, with all its hustle and bustle can be both invigorating and exhausting. The streets are always busy, the bars, theatres and other attractions constantly swarming with inquisitive and noisy tourists. It is truly a city that never seems to sleep. And for those of us lucky enough to call it home, it is almost alive with possibilities. There is certainly no shortage of new and interesting things to see and do. But the seemingly relentless pace brings its own pressures and one can, at times, be left in something of a daze trying to keep up with it all. I count myself very lucky that at such times I have an escape route; the old family homestead in Hampshire. I don’t know it if is that the pace of life in the City is getting too much, even for me, or something else, but this past week or so I have been feeling the draw of the countryside more and more.
I hate to say it but even the Club doesn’t seem to have the same attraction it always has before. Whilst I always look forward to a meal and a few drinks with the chaps, I have recently felt there is something missing, something intangible.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still very much a city boy and I love nothing more than being about town with my friends, but recently I have begun to feel I need something more. The only real problem is that I am not entirely sure what that “something” actually is.
Anyway, I have decided that for the remainder of the summer I am going to relocate to the old family abode in the country. It means I won’t see quite as much of Hope as I have done recently, but I think the change of scenery and the slower pace will do me good. Hope herself is rather busy at the moment organising a couple of exhibitions – one at her own gallery and another at a gallery in Edinburgh, so I do not think she will have much of an opportunity to miss me.
And of course there is some business to attend to on the old estate, what with those pesky developers poking their noses into everyone’s affairs. I am sure that there is something unsavoury going on somewhere; I can not believe that they are getting encouragement from any quarter, and certainly not from any of the local families. On my last visit, I spoke to a few old friends and they all assured me that no one was prepared to part with any of their lands. Several of the more vociferous members of the community have even been talking about petitions and the like, but I am sure that kind of revolutionary activity will not be necessary. I can’t say that I am entirely comfortable with that confrontational approach; it reminds me rather too much of the kind of behaviour one would expect from those union types one often sees on the television news.
But that is all by-the-by. I will be heading off into the wilds of deepest Hampshire late tomorrow evening. Prior to that, I have a dinner date with Hope and Charlotte who have promised to treat me to some very special home cooking. Apparently, Charlotte has taken a very keen interest in French and Italian cuisine and is rather keen to practice her new skills on us. I am very fond of Charlotte and she is undoubtedly very creative, but from what I hear from some of the chaps who have teenage daughters, cooking is not generally top of the list when it comes to skills.
That said, I am sure everything will be just so, otherwise, I don’t think Hope would have agreed to our being guinea-pigs for Charlotte’s culinary experiments. To be on the safe side I will take with me several bottles of a rather fine Ségla 2012 Margaux I have been saving for a special occasion. That way at least one item on the table will be guaranteed to be palatable.
I had planned to visit the Club this evening but instead, I am planning to pay a call on Dorothy. I have not seen her or Angela for several weeks and I may not get another opportunity before they fly out to America. It seems that Angela has relatives out there.