The most decadent thing in the world is being awoken from a nap in the library to be told your poached sea bass is ready.
The thing most likely to make you squeal in unbridled delight, not unlike an eight-year old in an Enid Blyton novel, is being caught on a post-dinner bike ride in a shower of rain so gentle it’s like being sent butterfly kisses from the sudden grey clouds. There’s no better feeling than free-wheeling down a country hill with mascara-streaked face and hair plastered to your neck, releasing. Releasing everything. WAHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Let’s do it again!
Happiness is waking up in a duvet light enough and big enough to suspend you like a cloud; long, lazy breakfasts of poached eggs and spelt bread and just-one-more-nibble of the homemade flapjack- you know, to straighten the edges. It’s being welcomed into somebody else’s home, arriving as a stranger who “We’ve all heard so much about! It’s so wonderful to finally meet you!” and staying up past normal bedtime swapping stories and ideas and laughing. Always laughing. Can it really be that time already?
Stretching like a cat and apologising needlessly for falling asleep, I padded to the kitchen from the aforementioned room of books, barefoot, wiping a little crust from my eyes. I sat at the table as beans and courgettes and potatoes with generous amount of salted butter were laid out in front of me. The French doors overlooking the lawn were wide open, the smell of the herb garden wafting in, two giant- if not a little grumpy- white horses in the field at the foot of the garden, judging. The ground was wet. In between an afternoon in the sun and dinner at dusk the sun had made way for a drizzle.
I spent the weekend in the country, at the family home of a friend I met through this blog. Because the Internet is brilliant. A mutual friend posted a link to me on Facebook two years ago, one of her friends read it, we became email buddies, and BOOM. When I moved to London we agreed that it was impossible to conceive a time when we weren’t texting each other every morning to comment: “Wow! Your hair looks great today- really shiny.” A time when we didn’t double-handedly spank strangers at power ballad club nights or spend four glorious hours testing the limits of our capacity to consume French Fancies.
Boys come and go, but some friends were sent to save you.
‘How’s the book?’ her father asked me, referring to my weekend’s read.
‘Urgh! Don’t!’ I said, messily taking the skin off of my fish. ‘It was so utterly frustrating that I had to cast it aside and ponder it with my eyes closed.’
‘Yes,’ my friend said. ‘It’s funny. I had to have a little sleep for the exact same reason.’ She smiled at me, pulling out her chair. ‘And to think I promised I wouldn’t let you sleep until dinner.’
‘I’m a terrible house guest.’
‘It’s like you’ve been here before.’
I push too hard. I picked up a colleague’s email last Monday morning which said, “Hope you enjoyed your day off Friday!” and it nearly made me cry. I might only work in an office for four days, but I put in a solid 60 hours a week writing writing writing and do you know where you’ll find me on a Saturday night? Writing.
I don’t know what I’m trying to prove, nor who to. But what I do know is that a weekend of fresh air, long walks, and newspaper supplements was needed before I sent myself totally bonkers. A weekend offline. A nice rest.
My friend’s mum had to leave to go to London to a convalescing daughter, so it was a weekend of me, my friend, and her dad. We were like the three amigos, smoking cigars on the moors and discovering tiny hotels to have afternoon tea in. It was so prefect we all sang Lou Reed at full pelt, out of tune but enthusiasm abound, on the final way home.
Just a perfect day, you just keep me hanging on… problems all left alone. It’s such fun!
Towards the end of my stay, I took a shower. In the shower I farted. Just a little one, a small release. When I inhaled it smelled green. You know how green smells- sort of… brisk. Deliberate. Like a German house mistress. It was because I’d eaten so well all weekend. And as I smelt my own fart, there, under the trickle from the rain shower nozzle, I thought to myself yes. That fart smells like the whole, perfect weekend. That fart smells like contentment. That fart smells like how I feel.
I felt a special kind of warm and fuzzy.
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