I’m spending a short spell off Shit Island*, which is always pleasant. Even leaving it to be in a country MORE renowned than us for poor public toilet hygiene and a general culture of misogyny. That’s right: Italy.
I’m in the hills outside Siena. A lilting, curvaceous landscape. Licked by a blight of afternoon sunlight, warm, green, fresh… Vines, olive trees abound – I’m not far south enough for citrus, but the plants I can see growing are more exotic, more flavoursome, more exciting already. Not like dead oats and nettles.
Being out of the UK fills me with inner lightness: a joy, a lack of pressure that’s very rare. For over a week I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do, I don’t have to be anywhere I don’t want to be, I don’t have to relive and remember the procession of mistakes that – until very recently – my life in the UK has comprised of. I’m not being self-indulgent and mopey. I’m bored of the UK. It’s RUBBISH.
But being here, in the countryside: a fresh, different, countryside – not the countryside of my childhood, or of school trips or of days out as a student, countryside of another country, of another place, of hope, of outside, is great. Today I’ve been to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, read 100+ pages of Charles Mingus’ autobiography and eaten some pistachio nuts. I am in brilliant spirits.
Let’s hope this continues. Short and sweet.
*My long term personal nickname for the soon-to-be-disbanded United Kingdom