Today, I went to London to drop off my Indian visa application, a process which was fairly lengthy - I arrived at 10.45 and left at 1.15 - but no worse than I had expected and, having nothing else to do, headed back to Liverpool Street to catch a train back to Stowmarket. Having boarded the 2.30, I sat back with a good book as Chelmsford and Colchester came and went and, as the train approached Manningtree, I put the book down.
|The Stour Estuary just east of Manningtree|
station. This is the Essex bit, you understand...
The late afternoon sun was still shining, and as the train pulled away, over the bridge which crosses the Stour Estuary, a smile came to my lips, coming with it the knowledge that I was back in Suffolk.
For those people who have known me for many years, the thought of the bureaucrat as country dweller would have been unthinkable ten years ago, and yet I tend to find London fascinating as somewhere to visit, but I couldn't imagine living there now unless it was absolutely necessary.
I am. one must admit, pretty lucky. I live in a village where people generally get on, surrounded by working countryside filled with deer, game birds, badgers and the like. My commute is gentle and personable - where else can you expect to chat with your bus driver, make pleasant conversation with the station staff and have a view of a river valley from your seat on the train. There are even field mice near the platform at Needham Market should I choose to travel to or from there.
The pace of life is pleasant, with none of the rushing around that I used to do in the big city. If my train is late, I have a book to read, or music to listen to - why worry, after all there isn't another train for a while, but one will come eventually.
And, at the end of the day, I come home to a cosy little country cottage, equipped with a comfy wingback armchair, a kitchen full of pork, a decent wine rack (should I feel so inclined) and a computer with which to broadcast my opinions to the world. Best of all, I have Ros to share it with.
Life is good...