Wednesday, 16 July 2008

mange tout

I'm going home. Back to Australia.

I've been conscious of wanting to leave before the days get too short so it's odd to be asked to leave the day of the equinox. Looking out my front window this morning, I had that feeling of I get when boarding a plane on my way home after a holiday. While I'm away, time seems to stretch out into a new type of life. By the end of a week or two I am in a new routine and home seems to be something belonging to someone else. Then I get on the plane, and walking through the door, finding my way to a seat, buckling in with my book and water bottle within reach, gaing out the window, all these things that are so much a pattern and a part of regular life that they connect me back to everything that's normal and un-holidayish and the time away seems to fold in on itself, to concertina. We've been in London for over a year and our holidays have been going elsewhere. And I'm looking forward to going home. But standing at the window I felt again the way it felt when being here was really new to me. When I noticed the variations in the colours of green leaves on the trees.
 
I notice so much more about things when seeing them for the first time, or the lst time. Colours seem truer when they are strange. Time seems longer in a new place. What was that book where a man, given only a short time to live, stretched that life out as far as he could by sleeping in a different room every night?

Things I've noticed about London:
  • people wear parkas, even in summer
  • the angle of light is so different. You seem to have a shadow even at midday. It's as though the sun rays brush against your skin instead of bursting through. Greens are yellower. There are birds called magpies but they don't seem to swoop.
Bit of a waste though, to report that I've finally worked out what mange tout is. It sounds so exotic. Turns out it's just snow peas.