Sunday, September 23, 2012

The weather makes it easy

Ok let's get it out the way - in many ways I am an extremely shallow person and I make no bones about it. My primary motivation for the move, besides the shortening distance to India and family, is the weather. There I've said it - I care about the weather. I must be British. I want to live in the heat and I don't mind the torrential downpours very day or few days because after they beat down on the green lush earth I hear the sun comes out. without. fail.

I know it's silly being so hellbent on living somewhere warm and truth be told my tolerance for winter has increased. And I have a stellar collection of overcoats. Classics, heavy and timeless, offering all the warmth for a range of occasions that winter brings. But chance and choice being offered I'd rather have a heat headache than a miserable winter mood. Looking at grey drizzle torture dripping rain does not my ideal life make.

The past few weeks, almost as if to taunt me, the weather has been brilliant. Just the perfect yellow shade of sunshine bouncing off this beautiful city, it's old and new architecture complementing each other. In winter and particularly on rainy days I find the old buildings look a bit sad and the difference between the old and new a bit jarring. But not these two weeks, as if my eyes have re-calibrated themselves mellow.

I've had bus rides and park walks and a steady sunshine with a whispering breeze on my back. I've had perfect strangers smile and tube rides on empty trains. All this is usual, factors of September weather and my child in school, but I'm seeing it anew I think, trying to capture it before we go.

A grey morning of drizzle and forecast of gales over the next few days has thumped me back from the sunny London dream. I remember what it is that I am looking forward to. Sun sun sun.

I've shipped my stellar winter overcoat collection to Singapore. It should still be in style when we come back to these winters in a decade or so.

Friday, September 21, 2012

My glittering London

It's been a bit of an overwhelming week in this part of the world. We've been saying goodbye to our most loved bits of London and the brilliant people who are our London family.

I was in high street Kensington last week, for an unavoidable errand, and had time to spend before meeting a friend in Covent Garden. So errand complete I decided to take a long and leisurely bus ride all that way.

Have I ever told you how in my earliest months in London I would pack myself a sandwich, throw a bottle of water and pack of crisps into my bag and take bus journey after bus journey, terminus to terminus and then back till I had explored every bit of London? Day after day for months. Really.

Well after years of rushing around on the tube and behind a small child at some pace, last week when opportunity to take the bus ride presented itself I grabbed it with both hands. The bus trundled along slowly stopping every few hundred metres to take on and let down people. I sat on the sunny side taking it all in. The beautiful architecture of the Royal Albert Hall and the green throbbing expanse of Hyde Park. The impressive facade of the National Gallery and the the backbone road to Buckingham Palace. And of course the office goers, tourists, mummies with buggies.

And there, in those sun dappled moments, I was thinking about the last decade and how we worked and played and made this city ours. At one time I thought this was it, where we'd live forever, home. But that's a discussion for another post. The sun and subtle beauty of this city was making me think about our decision and more than anything making me nostalgic for this life we are about to move on from.

I know that despite all the hard decisions and changes and upheavals to schedule we have made the right choice for our lives. After an emotional goodbye with one of my dearest friends this afternoon I have no doubt that this has been a brilliant decade in a glittering city. Its time to go but in the words of the cheesy movie, 'We'll be back!'.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

This minimalist life

It's wierd but when we bought this apartment we wanted desperately to be minimalists. Somewhat for aesthetic reasons, somewhat for the ease of keeping it clean and somewhat for the slight OCD of order.

We were anything but minimalist. Lots of furniture, near a thousand books and a kitchen groaning at its seams. And after the kid arrived our things grew to magnificent proportions, often threatening to overpower us. I am ruthless in clearing clutter though so I never kept things for sentimental reasons just random practical ones. Like, why have only two rectangular Pyrex covered dishes when I can have six. After all the day may come when I cook and need to store 6 dishes at once.

Anyway, about 2 years ago I decided enough was enough and began the slow ruthless journey of de cluttering and disowning many of the objects from our home. I gave away mountains of baby clothes and toys, kitchen things and even decorative things I no longer loved. It was a slow slow process but the house was starting to creak less.

When this new continent move came about it was the perfect opportunity to purge. And it's worked out well. I've spent weeks trawling through things and finding new homes for them. I'm of the recycle and recycle and pass forward school of thought. This has been a tiring process but so worth it to see someone else enjoy something we have enjoyed.

Yet even with all this giving away/ throwing out we managed to load 90 boxes into the container on the day. Not very minimalist at all. The departure of the container made our house a bit like a cathedral, echo-ey. Its refreshing living with so few things and having all this free space. And although 95% of our furniture has remained here for future tenants it's all the bits that go on top and around it that have gone.

And now while that container sways it's way to Singapore we are enjoying our last month with minimal possessions and loving it. It's almost like I'm breathing again - gulps of fresh air and inhaling space - in this quite large (but not really) space.

Till we get there and fill our next home with possessions, furniture and ourselves I'm living the minimalist dream.