Life in the Shire

Far in a Western brookland
That bred me long ago
The poplars stand and tremble
By pools I used to know

-A.E. Housman

Rural life is isolating.  I have no idea what’s going on in the wider world, and I miss knowing, but it feels like it has little relevance here.  It’s calming though; everything’s much slower and I don’t have the same sense of pressure to always be doing something.  In the city, I feel guilty for sitting just watching telly or doing nothing when there’s a world of everything ever on my fingertips.  Here, there’s none of that guilt, because there isn’t much to do.  So far the most exciting thing that’s happened in terms of entertainment has been a sea-shanties night up at the King’s Arms that consisted of six drunk men dressed as pirates, one of whom was hitting a tambourine out of time.  Really.

The new job’s going quite well, I think; I had a bit of a blip on Tuesday when it took me two and a half hours to get home and I realised I’d have to go to bed in three hours’ time, proclaimed this unfair and inhumane, decided I just couldn’t possibly keep this up and sat at the kitchen table crying into my lamb mousaka.  Since then though, I’ve altered my travel plans so that I just drive all the way instead of fiddling about with car and multiple trains, and that’s improved things a lot.  I feel like I’m getting more of a handle on my job role, and it is quite pleasant to have people refer to me as a “writer” and say things like “Ask Natalie, she’s good with words”.  I’ve even been dressing semi-professionally, which is almost unheard of for me.  I MEAN.  I bought a new blouse?!

At home,  my sister’s just added to our menagerie with a couple of gorgeous goatkins.  I wanted to call them Tanngrisnir & Tanngnjóstr, after the goats that pulled Thor’s chariot, but she wasn’t having any of that and went for Twiglet & Minstrel instead.  They were both very skittish at first but they’re getting more tame now and will eat from your hand and let you give them a bit of a cuddle.  I’m doing the pub quiz at the Lion every Tuesday (it’s much too hard for me; I miss the Chemic!) and possibly rejoin my old brass band.  I’m also trying to keep my hand in after having finally learnt to cook this year, so I’m in charge of tea every Saturday, which I’m renaming NATURDAY (I know, actual genius).  I’ve successfully managed to get my siblings into Being Human, and Blackpool will probably be my next project.  Alex has also just decided that Explosions in the Sky are The Best Band Ever In The World Ever, and keeps running into my room announcing this.  And it seems like it could even almost be Spring; the sun’s finally beginning to show its face, the rooster is strutting about like a cock and the snowdrops are beginning to bloom.

I think that, for a while, this could be okay.


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