41 days out and my last day housesitting in the boondocks. I’m writing this while slow cooking a bolognese and thinking about friendship. I knew coming out to this city that I had very few people that were actual friends here. Since I lost my parents I have always valued my friends extremely highly. I cleave quickly to people and tend to be way too honest right off the bat. But that helps me isolate the keepers. I’ve definitely missed my close friends, the people who have a context on me, with whom I share experience, who can say hard things. I’ve made lots of new friends in this city, and some of them are keepers. And I have made better friends with myself which is a pleasant surprise. But part of me is looking forward to getting back to my home and seeing people I’ve known for ages. Maybe I should have a party. In fact, yeah, stuff it. Why not? I land on the 18th March. Let’s have a jet lag party on the 19th starting at 11 in the morning round my flat until late. Nothing mental, kids in the daytime, but then I can see whoever is free that Sunday and STAY AWAKE. I’ll cook something easy and drink lots of coffee. There’s something to be said for Facebook in that you know what people are doing, but how much lovelier to be able to see them in person? “I have jet lag” Al may not thank “I had to put the wine in the bolognese glug glug” Al for this decision, but before long I guarantee he’ll be on the same page as me. 

I’m cooking this bolognese for Jake and his family whose house I’ve been looking after. Jake was in my year at Guildhall, and came out here a few years after we left. Those three years training together forge a deep bond, and one that is not easy to shake off. I’ve barely seen him since leaving but he has blessed my trip by giving me this quiet thoughtful place to exist in, to write and think. It’s lovely to discover that there’s an understanding still between us that has leapt over the barrier of the time we have been out of touch. Important to remember that. I’ve not been great at staying in touch with the guys from my year at college. Jake and I formed a fleeting Blues Brother’s tribute band and played some pubs around the City of London. I’d almost completely forgotten that until I came here and spent time in his space. It was so much fun. Having not wanted to look at the past too closely, now I find I am able to without danger of spinning out.


From tomorrow I’ll be back in the thick of the city, and there are still loads of things I want to do while I’m here. There are still loads of people I want to see. I had no idea when I started this blog that it would lead to people recommending me to their friends out here, but I’ve had such a lot of adventures already through friends of friends, and met some very deep seated genuine people. I think I would’ve given up on this blog ages ago if I hadn’t seen people from all sides of my life clicking the old mundane “like” button, and knowing that in some way I am in touch with you all through this shared experience.

It has been quite solitary in this house, especially now that Charlie has been passed to Jake’s father in law. I’m looking forward to getting back to Mark and Laural, their three bonkers dogs, a yoga studio next door, and easy quick access to stuff and to people. Just shy of a month to go. I’ve recharged with sunlight today, sitting in a chair by the pool. Bring on the next week! After Oscars weekend.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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