Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Happy Valley

On a rare night out in the country, l'homme and I went to a neighbourly bbq. It was classically British - we stood outside holding umbrellas and a makeshift cover for the fire was made with a stepladder and golf umbrella balanced over it and the back door. The best bit for me was meeting our fellow neighbours - the men talked to each other and the women stood under a tree chatting. The women were great - very strident and clearly the ones in charge. One said to me, "So, you're from London?" I looked aghast and said, "Oh no, have I given myself away with the wrong clothes? I thought I'd got it right!" (I was in brown boots, white loose jeans with pale blue stripes - which sounds revolting, but think OshKosh - and an old jumper.) Anyway, they were chatting about horses, as they do, gossiping about the pony club mothers who boss everyone about and I said that I really must get back to riding - I keep seeing streams of riders go past our door. Where do they all come from I asked? Is there a riding stables nearby I could go to for lessons? At this, they gasped, and one said: "You really don't know where you're living, do you? You're in Happy Valley." What's that? Is everyone on Ecstasy pills? No, apparently, our little corner of Suffolk is the meeting point for three hunts and the reason they are all so happy is that they have lots of wife-swapping parties and gossip about it ferociously afterwards. (No, I haven't been invited yet.)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Wife in the North

Am rather heartened this weekend - a townie in the country has just published a book, Wife in the North, about her own trials and tribulations for being a, er, townie in the country. She started off with a blog, which became an enormous hit, and now has a book and is in 'talks' about a tv drama being made out of it. Shows there's an appetite. As for my own book - the jacket has now gone to the printers. Not long, I hope, before I have the actual hard covers in my hot little hands. We've found a venue for the joint-book-launch party - the v lovely Julie's in Holland Park - and set a date for the launch. (I'd like to pretend otherwise, but really, the party is the best bit of publishing a book.)

Meanwhile...we're in the country. After weeks of procrastination we've finally cut the lawn (well, I say lawn, it's more of a steep bank of bumpy ground overrun by nettles, knotweed and some brown grass). A long walk this morning included one glorious narrow path cut through long fields of corn that is just beginning to turn gold. A single biplane flew overhead, making us feel as if we were in a film that had spliced together the Wizard of Oz and North by Northwest. I shall roast a chicken later and then draw the curtains on the blooming, bird-singing countryside in order to watch Wimbledon.

Country comes to the city

This has been around for a while....but it still makes me laugh: