Farewell London – The Sequel (Or, Life in the Boonies)
Four weeks ago we moved from London to the ‘burbs. While it’s a far cry from London, it’s All Good. There are, however, a few things which we’re getting used to …
In London we had vermin: pigeons, mice, the odd kitten-sized rat scuttling across the footpath and, our resident ASBO seagulls. On occasional evenings, we spied one or two urban foxes nosing through bin bags. Here in the boonies we also have foxes but unlike their urban cousins, these are well fed and trot across our garden as if they owned the place. Usually, they’re seen carrying dog toys they’ve absconded from neighbouring gardens. And they always like to leave their mark. Ever cleaned up fox poop? Don’t. Delegate the job. The first time I had to do it, I nearly threw up. When I told my Better Half about my ordeal, he replied,
‘Oh yeah, I did see it. I thought the rain would wash it away.’ No, the rain just turns it into a stinking goopy mush.
We also have bunny rabbits. At first sight, they’re cute. But seeing them everyday has forced me put them into the vermin category. Which leads me onto …
While I can just about deal with fox poop, I’m not okay with removing a dead bunny rabbit/badger/squirrel.
‘That’s your department,’ I said to my Better Half, spotting something lifeless and furry in the driveway one early morning.
‘And where should I put it?’ he asked.
‘Not in the bin,’ I replied. My Better Half then dutifully went off and did his duty.
‘What was it?’ I asked when he returned from disposing said dead animal.
He gave me The Look. ‘It was a stuffed dog toy.’
‘How did that get there?’ Then I realised. It was the fox who dunnit. But still, for the record, I refuse to handle Garden Kill.
3. #TheVeiledMonopoly or, #BTSucks
Irrespective of where you live, BT is hopeless. We were without broadband for ten days. We had three engineers come to look at the problem. The first two worsened the problem with our line. This was confirmed by the third engineer who said our line had been incorrectly connected to the super-duper infinity fibre optic broadband line. And, while there was indeed a problem, it wasn’t big. He fixed it in ten minutes. TEN MINUTES. It took three engineers and a total of ten cumulative hours on the phone with BT’s wonderfully woeful customer service to identify that the problem was due to a botched job.
The conclusion: BT infinitely sucks. The company sucks even more when you’re out in the boonies and without communication. I could write an entire blog about BT that could end up as an MBA case study on the veiled monopoly that BT really is. But I won’t. Because I’m sure someone’s written one already. And no one’s taken a blind bit of notice. And if one hasn’t been written: well hello people at LBS, INSEAD??? Get on the case. And a message to BT’s CEO, Gavin Pattinson: Please promote a certain young lady called Clare Mullane who works in your company. She was the only one who really got things moving on our behalf. You have so many employees you probably have no idea who she is. I’d be happy to provide details.
In London I was used to squeezing my car into narrowly defined parking spaces. Out in the boonies, I’m not used to so much space. In fact, I’m so in awe of how much space we have to park that I’ve had a tendency to ignore the parking sensors bleeping away. Pah, I tell myself, I don’t need you anymore. That was until I backed into a large horse-chestnut tree …
Where we lived in London you would plonk your bin bag outside every morning, and poof, as if by magic, it disappears. Okay, it’s not magic. It’s called Westminster-City-Council-Is-Flush-With-Cash-And-Can-Fund-Daily-Rubbish-Collections. I didn’t appreciate it was such a privilege until we moved. Out here, it gets collected once every two weeks. The council allocates one bin per household. Thank God both my children are potty trained. But God only knows what’ll happen when baby number three arrives. Together with fox poop and baby poop it’ll feel like we’re living in a sewer, not in the heavenly-scented countryside. To make matters worse, they collect recycling and garden waste on alternate weeks. I’m all for recycling, but with my brain the way it is, it’s hard work keeping tabs on what’s collected on what days. Help please.
Not literally. What I mean is that I can’t just pop out for a coffee, which means a coffee + a little snacky, which happened on average, three times a day. Obviously, being out here is a Good Thing. It’s also a Good Thing as I’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. While most mothers diet after their babies arrive, I’ll be happily tucking into cake. (And if anyone’s offering to bake me one post birth, a lovely carrot cake will do nicely, thank you very much.)
Thankfully I no longer work. My Better Half does, though. Gone are his ten minute journeys into the office. Now he has to endure a train ride.
‘It’s not too bad,’ he said to me the other day.
‘Let me know how you feel during deepest darkest winter,’ I replied. Honesty is the best policy.
London is a metropolis, awash with people from all walks of life and cultures. I’m going to be bold and say something that could be grossly misinterpreted: I’ve never seen so many properly english people in one place. All of a sudden I feel a bit of a minority walking around the local supermarket. It shouldn’t be such a shock to the system. I grew up in Scarborough well before it became a relatively multi-cultural seaside enclave (who knew??) I was used to being one of two or three brown people in my school, used to being asked why I didn’t celebrate Christmas (‘Is it because your Jewish?’ one teacher asked) and why I didn’t need to join the Brownies because I was, well, think about it … That’s why I’m glad my children go to the local international school. It feels like Little London. Which leads me onto …
We started this week. Some local friends advised that we should be out of the house by 7.50 in order to be at school a little before 8.30. The school is a mile and a half away. We would walk, except there are no footpaths. Gone are the days of ambling out of the house and walking (very) slowly to nursery. I’ve succumbed to harrying my two and four-year-olds to get a move on. Of course, this has little effect. My daughters no longer see me as their mother: ‘You’re a monster,’ said my four-year-old. Chauffeur would be more apt.
We don’t have a resident ghost. Not that I’m advertising for one. Enough Said.
Until next time!