Wednesday, 27 October 2010

This Green and Pleasant Land

This weekend, I escaped from The Madness and headed up north to visit my cousin. The train journey did not disappoint (standing room only and sauna temperatures, all for the bargain price of £66). I arrived in rural Lancashire on Friday night after 3 hours of travelling, decidedly hot and bothered and in need of a drink. But it was a trip well worth enduring, and two days later I didn’t want to go back.
It was lovely to see my cousin and her family (one partner, one child, a dog, a guinea pig and two cats in total). We worked out that we hadn’t seen each other in three and a half years, and her ten year old son couldn’t even remember us. Not even the tickle sticks. I felt a pang of guilt that I hadn’t been back sooner and didn’t really have the space to invite the whole family down to London (my flat is not “Louie-Dog” friendly). However, a glass of red wine later and any awkward long-time-no-sees had been washed away.
Saturday was my kind of a day. A leisurely morning chatting over several cups of tea followed by a country walk to the pub for a pint and something to eat. My cousin leant me a more appropriate jacket (i.e. one that was waterproof) and we headed off over a field to the Strawbury Duck, chatting about what we had been up to and what we hoped for. The views of the hills, the reservoir, the fields and the telltale remnants of the Industrial Revolution in the distance warmed me, despite the chill. The pure air reminded me of the sacrifices I make living in the city, and I found myself voicing my dream of living by the sea and commenting on the idealness of their location for bringing up a child.
We got back several hours later, jolly despite the cold drizzle. My cousin got busy in the kitchen preparing food in honour of my aunt and uncle’s imminent arrival. I helped out, fuelled by margaritas (it was Mexican night, you see) and more stimulating conversation. Before dinner I chin-wagged with my aunt about Strictly Come Dancing and filled my uncle in on what exhibitions I had seen in the capital this year. Several plates of chilli and one too many Corona’s later, my cousin pulled out the evening’s entertainment – a balloon modelling kit. Several burst balloons and a few sausage dogs, swords and slightly ruder sculptures later, we were all hoarse from laughing.
Alas, the following day, after a bacon butty and biccies, it was time to go. I admit, when I said goodbye to my cousin I felt a lump in my throat. Partly because I was sad to say goodbye, partly because it had been such a fun weekend, and partly because I had to head back to London and return to work after a week away from the office. Despite my Sunday Blues, I knew one thing for sure. My need for green and calm had reared its’ cherub-like head once more.
I’ll be back.


  1. It was a fabulous weekend wasn't it... those balloons!!!