No longer living in London, I can feel the seasons more fully in my bones. The minute we tipped into 2018, the past year was buried in the soggy ground. December, with all her stresses and glories, suddenly felt utterly irrelevant. My chai tea has been replaced with Three Tulsi; a different kind of spice for a different kind of year. The breeze carries cool, fresh air and I can feel the process of renewal has already begun. We breathe deeply to catch that subtle scent of coming spring, as our boots sink deep in the stubborn mud. My socks are always wet these days.
I can barely remember a time when we weren’t living like this, always rolling in mud, catching every sunset over trampled fields or swirling streams, filling our house with ivy and pine and oak. A time when we were cooped up in our penthouse flat, finding some sort of vertical escape from the city. Still, those poorly fitted windows did little to keep out the stink and noise from outside, the traffic fumes and rubbish skips and creatively challenged buskers. It’s as though we were compressed like a piece of corn waiting to pop. And pop we did, into a radically different and inspiring life.
Still, I can miss the city, my thrilling decade of running down those streets chasing happiness and adventure. Broken-hearted on a double-decker with Bright Eyes in my ears, drinking wine from the bottle on top of the Honor Oak hills with the glittering skyline stretching out before us, dizzying highs in sweaty venues, bewildering moments with strangers, midnight rambles along the Thames or the North London canals; and so very many random meetings. I remember them all. It was a fabulous decade, my twenties. But that girl is long gone. She was messed-up and confused and broken. I may feel nostalgic about those rollercoaster days, but I would never go back. As ever, we must roll with the times.