It’s discombobulating living here.
It’s not just the things I don’t know, it’s the things I didn’t know I don’t know.
First, there’s the golf.
I don’t like golf on principle.
Bunch of men getting together and perpetuating their networks of power. Masons without the aprons.
I’m sure some of it’s like that. But seeing the folk who pass by here, I’m not so sure I can reject it unreservedly any more.
All sorts of colours and types of clothing. Not seen a single set of plus fours or a tweed cap.
Young men dashing along. Older women stopping to chat by every green. Young women with dynamic swings. It’s so not what I expected.
The people using the course look normal – whatever that is. And the younger men don’t seem to have time to talk, let alone share Masonic secrets.
Of course, it’s not Royal Birkdale, just down the road. There, I daresay, it might be a bit more like my vision. We sat one evening near their entrance drive, eating fish and chips in our car (big mistake – still smells), watching the light fade over a glistening sea.
You should have seen the cars. Wheeuw! Expensive. Assuming some people have two I reckon they spent more on motors than you would on the average house.
Moving on to the second prejudice …
I hate mock currants.
Did hate mock currants.
Just outside our fence, on the wild bit of ground between us and the manicured greens, there’s a large stand of mock currants.
Now, I’d only ever seen them clipped to manageable shapes and sizes in suburban gardens. But you know what? They grow to be enormous. And when they are enormous, and all in bloom – wow – they look fantastic. Smell wild – but look fantastic.
(I still wouldn’t want them IN the garden, mind.)
OK, now for the third prejudice.
They’re everywhere. And I still can’t understand why they can’t make them to fit better with our style of architecture – improve their aesthetics.
But now we’ve lived near the sea in the north of England for nearly ten years – oh – give me plastic any day!
No painting, No peeling. No rotting.
So, middle class readers, have I lost you yet?
Well how about this final one then?
Aha! Thought that might do it!
Well, the first night we spent in our new house there was NO WAY I was about to cook a meal. I’d been on my feet for days cleaning, packing, directing a nice man in serious pain with a locked knee who had a whole house to pack up virtually alone.
We’d been told our new neighbours ran the nearest Toby Carvery. And one of our – uncontestably middle class – friends was positively gleeful. He loves carveries.
So, pointing our snooty noses down, we braved carvery world. And found it good.
Not that I’d go every day or anything. Or for my birthday.
But if you’re hungry. Feel the need for a good, old-fashioned British roast. Five different vegetables. Yorkshire pudding (with anything, not just beef) and stuffing and apple sauce and gravy and horseradish sauce and …
… did I say it’s only £5.99?
OK. Enough prejudice. Let’s move on (if you’re still there) to the unknowns. Which largely fit under the heading:
My little office backs onto a patch of trees. We have a bird bath – well, an old dish that should sit under an earthenware plant pot. This is a recipe for total distraction.
I’ve learned that wood pigeons slip on wet leaves.
That robins can fall off twigs when they stretch out too far for seeds they can’t reach.
That there’s a bird called the garden warbler I’d never heard of (we have them).
That all birds, of every hue and every size just love to splash around and make a mess. And that they drink their bath water. Eeurgh.
In my head I’ve designed a bird shower. It would depend on them knowing where to stand. I’m not sure it will ever make it into production.
Then there are the trees.
The pine cones on the fir trees turned upside down and spat at the world. I never knew they did that. Now things like candles have grown that look as if they’re about to turn into new needles – and possibly new cones.
I’ve seen many kinds of brown butterfly.
And discovered that an amazing trajectory can be achieved by some golf balls. Yesterday one flew past my window heading this way from the wrong direction, hit the fence and ended up going the opposite way and landing in the lavender.
I still can’t work out where he was when he hit it.
He came and retrieved it and explained in halting English (he was Swedish), ‘sorry, my hand slipped’.
That didn’t help – but I’m not about to try and emulate him just to find out. It’s one thing abandoning some of your prejudices, it’s another changing your behaviour. And, anyway, I’m rubbish at ball sports.
So there we are. But before I go I have two more failed prejudices I really ought to reveal. To you, of all people.
1. People who blog.
2. Emoticons 😉