It’s just after 5 am and I am in my office in a very quiet house. Nigel had to be in work at 4 am this morning, which meant getting up at 3 and I woke at 3:30 to find him gone, but no matter how I tried I could not get back to sleep.
Eventually I got up, fed the menagerie and made myself tea and toast. Toast is always my snack of choice, but one that I avoid when I am low-carbing it. However, this is the second morning in a row that I have woken with very low blood sugar – proof that the blood sugar diet regime is working, but making it difficult to find balance! However, I digress…
I settled at my desk and bit into a slice of almost cold buttered toast and was suddenly transported back to around 1979 when I was working in London. In my early 20s I actually worked for Wells Fargo Bank for a couple of years. It was a short walk from Liverpool St station and on the way there was a little sandwich shop that sold slices of thick white buttered toast. I used to buy orange juice and 2 slices of toast which I would eat at my desk before starting work. The toast was almost always nearly cold but it was delicious and the taste this morning took me right back to the City of London at 7:30 am. A very different place to the city now. Less people, less traffic, quite a lot of fun and very few retail outlets! I didn’t know it at the time, but my 12-13 years working in London were quite special. It was exciting, gave me access to theatre and concerts and I knew most of London like the back of my hand because I went everywhere, getting the most out of my very expensive annual train season ticket – I am betting that current commuters would love to pay now what I paid then!
Anyway, isn’t it strange how a taste, a smell, a song…almost anything can transport you back to another time or another place. Our lives are made up of millions of such moments which are rarely called to mind but when they visit with us the memories are almost overwhelming. Sometimes the bad moments are somehow easier to call to mind, but the memory of a sunlit, early morning walking to work from the station was a good one, I could hear the bin men’s lorry as they cleared the streets of the previous day’s litter, smell the coffee and bacon from the sandwich shop, see the newspaper man standing on the corner, and it took me back to a good time, a time before responsibility, a relatively carefree time. And all because of a piece of toast!
Nigel and I are on the verge of realising a dream. We have talked about moving to Cumbria for about 5 or 6 years now. Around 3 years ago we had a 2-year plan, but redundancy and other constraints meant that our plans were put on hold. But there are all kinds of practical reasons why we need to do this, which I will not bore you with at this time. But it is more than a practical decision. We both crave a simpler life, we crave space and beauty. We want to be part of a smaller community. We love Cumbria and we have good friends and happy memories that have led to this choice of area. In addition, it looks like we could be completely debt and mortgage free. A very attractive proposition at the age of 58!
It is not an easy decision, even though it is something we crave. Our families live in the South, my mum in particular is struggling with our choice. Zoe is just starting out on her journey. But something feels so right about the decision for both of us. Personally I am torn between being absolutely terrified and completely over-excited. We have spent 3 weeks talking it over, making plans, looking at our chosen area, which we do not know very well (we will be visiting in November!). There is still a long way to go, but the decision is made, I think it is now a case of when, rather than if. Definitely rather than maybe.
All this has had a kind of weird effect on me. I have lived in my town since I was 7. In recent years I have fallen out of love with it for many reasons. I do not want to grow old here. But as I have been driving around, going about my business, little memories have popped back into my mind. Some good, some bad. But my memories have shaped me into the person I am, we are all shaped by events in our lives. Maybe at some point in the future I will bite into a slice of toast and remember this morning sitting in my office in this house, making plans to realise our dreams instead of a morning nearly 40 years ago in a London street. Maybe it will be a bittersweet memory and I will regret this decision. I hope not, but if we don’t try, we will never know. We need to make the leap.
To borrow a quote…”Its time to try, defying gravity…and you can’t bring me down”
P.S. I haven’t blogged for quite some time, having discovered the joy of Facebook Live, but I reckon there is a book in charting this move to Cumbria, so look out for more ramblings over the coming months!