The Home Counties…Love them or Hate them?


Do you catch yourself saying something your Mother would exclaim like ” I haven’t sat down all day”. Starting to feel like I need to give that woman a chair this Christmas. That’s how 2018 has felt like, a never ending game of musical chairs, but the game has started half way through and the music is death metal and there is a lot more falling on your arse.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We move around a lot due to Calum’s ever changing jobs , its not that I don’t mind the adventure, its more the fact its been one year and we have had three homes all in three locations. All rented I grant you, but its the emotional and physical upheaval that takes its toll. We are now both in the fortunate position where we are both working from home, want to start saving some money towards a house and are starting to feel incredibly disenchanted with London and Guildford.

I mean sure. London? It is amazing. But my rose tinted glasses have lost their glow this year. I mean, you walk around a property with about 10 terribly fashionable other interested parties , all agreeing that this studio apartment above the convenience store in  the dodgy end of Hackney for £1400.00 is a steal.  I just can’t pretend I still don’t love London in my own way, because I do. I grew up around there, and it has become like like a drunk uncle at a wedding for me. I will always love it, but it’s just getting a tad ridiculous now and I would prefer to remain a comfortable distance from it from time to time.

Please don’t get me wrong, I have the southern thing down, there is something I call          ” Going into London Mode”. I walk faster, I dont engage in eye contact or the most dreaded thing you can do to any Londoner- spark up a conversation. I am completely indoctrinated into the ways of being a moody Londoner. I catch myself reflecting on that side of myself when on the train home sometimes. It’s not really that normal is it?

I was brought up on the North Essex/ London border , deeeeeeeep into the Essex Countryside, but still a convenient half an hour away from London. I was always taught by my parents that, when you see a person on a walk for example, you acknowledge them. Be it a simple greeting, passing a comment on the weather or if you are feeling especially British, a curt nod in their general direction. No-one wants to be ignored, lets face it.
Earlier this year when we  moved to Guildford, I was legitimately shocked at how…well. ..there is not better term for it… how Londonized it was. We are smack bang in the centre of Guildford, but behind the flat, there is a gorgeous walk that you can do . Its a full lap around the town, full of windy hills, baby cows and glorious mud. So there is me thinking that anyone I will see on the path will be somewhat of a decent human being. There were two middle aged ladies walking towards me. I instantly knew there was something up, at how pristine their wellingtons were, and how the outfit almost looked planned. You tend to notice the type after living in the country for a while. Londoners/ City folk tend to dress for the countryside, and they stick out like a sore thumb.                                                                                                                                                     They refer to everything by its label. The Barbour Jacket, The Hunters and The Levi’s, while they tend to forget that their designer dogs shit the exact way as our unfashionable mix breeds. You often hear them before you see them.

” RUPERRRRRT, come hurr boy! ” ( Rolling the R’s as one does dont you know.) What can only be described as a once pristine , groomed example of a dog runs by, completely drenched from head to paws  ( and thoroughly happy) . You then hear the disapproving shrieks at little Rupert. ” Well he is not going in the back of the BENTLEY is he Fiona! ”

I however, was in a bright yellow ( and thoroughly caked in layers of mud) wellies, a mud flecked pair of jeans , a massive oversized coat with my mum’s dog Hector. I greet them with a smile and a passing comment about how cold it is for a January.  As I continue walking on, I notice that they jump out of their sagging skin, and look at me like I farted in their handbags. ( and yes they had brought them on the bloody walk).

After what felt like hours, after the initial disgust, shock and as much emotion as a thoroughly botoxed face can muster, then came the loud, drawling words that said.              ” Oh no darling, we gave to the homeless already today, Toodles. ”

Yep. That one will stick with me. So off I went back home, feeling thoroughly confused . I walked into my kitchen to make myself a cup of tea-(Yorkshire tea may I add), and said to myself, ” Well Annie, at least your face can move. ”







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