Week 41: Coming home

Nice to see Artbot again

England. Good to see Artbot again

I craved fresher air, scents in spring time, especially that of orange and lemon blossom, a warmer-coloured daylight and a darker shade of night. My husband craved an old rural bread oven to restore to life and to bake in. This is a blog about deciding to leave one country and trying to settle in another; about leaving the big city behind. My promise: one entry per week on a Wednesday morning for a year. (Unless a fox takes me out.)

Edith the Editor: Lucy Gordon, who painted my portrait, has a new website


So I’ve been in England. I was supposed to see an author, but that fell through after I’d got here. No worries. I had plenty of work to do, and I stayed with my mum and we had a high old time in spite of mostly grey skies and a cutting, cold wind that could take your breath away. Our daily routine included delivering imprecations to a hard-working mole under my mother’s front lawn. As the mounds of soil continued to pile up, a neighbour suggested stuffing the holes with pee-soaked rag. Moles, apparently, hate human smells. Mum decided this was infra dignitatem, even though there was no suggestion that they be soaked in situ. Yesterday the mole stopped digging, so it looked like the imprecations worked.

Time came for the long coach trip to London and the train to Gatwick. The coach driver turned from a placid sort to an angry cursing one as he arrived in the city. He clearly loathed the place. At one point he stopped the bus to tell a tourist taking photos that she should round up her children, who were wandering into the road, before they got run over. It seemed a fair point. I conceded it to him when I got off. ‘I ’ate London,’ he said. ‘Nobody here’s got any compassion for anyone else.’ And if all you saw of London was its road traffic and its careless pedestrians, that is probably what you would think. The Gatwick express wasn’t running when I got there (‘someone hit by a train’ the announcement said, a tragedy that clearly moved no one, further proving the coach-driver’s point). But I had plenty of time to spare, so I went into town where I squeezed in a morselette of clothes shopping and some white wine in a favourite wine bar, and reminded myself that London had been my home for a long time and in many ways I was still partial to it.

But what I really want is to get home to where I now live, the place I love and missed so much while I was away. I can hardly wait to get there (photos by Husband).

A gift from First Friends in my absence: it's a wild gladiola called, I'm told, calças-de-cuco or cuckoo's trousers

A gift from First Friends in my absence: it’s a wild gladiola called, I’m told, calças-de-cuco or cuckoo’s trousers

I missed the din and the dust of the kitchen preparation

I escaped the din and the dust of the kitchen preparation

The last breads to come out of the old oven – I could find no bread in England to compare to Husband's

The last breads to come out of the old oven – I could find no bread in England to compare to Husband’s

Lordy importuning for breakfast; I missed him too

Lordy importuning for breakfast; I missed him too

Rolie on an outing without me

Rolie on an outing without me


  1. Sue Forde

    So glad you feel Portugal is your home now. Sorry to have missed you on your fleeting visit to London.


  2. fatma

    How heartening to hear that you seem to have made the break, severed the links, cut the emotional ties to the homeland! (I mean this in terms of the place). Did the trip double up as a kind of tester I wonder? Irrespective, you seem to have passed with flying colours. Congrtulations! The cuckoos trousers is splendid. Has Lordy adopted you?

  3. Patricia Roberts

    By now you must be almost home,1.30,it is so good to read your blog ,it was lovely having you here for a while,also to hear how you love your new home,love to you both.

  4. Clare

    I hope you might consider extending the deadline beyond your promised one-year commitment. You have some of us hooked – Wednesday morning breakfasts wouldn’t quite be the same without your weekly post x

  5. Jenny

    Yes I would really miss hearing all your news, it’s a wonderful way to keep in touch ! And Wednesday’s would never be the same.
    Hugs to you both.


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