NOTHING TO DECLARE
Well, I’ve been back in the UK for a whole year now.
Hard to believe that amount of time has passed, although on appraising the situation, not a lot has changed: my love life continues to lack something (think it’s probably a lover); work is a joke (but good to know there’s something funny about my writing); the dogs may be a bit bigger than those in the South of France, but I still can’t see the point of joggers and contrasting lip liner. Or Nick Clegg. And it’s still raining.
For those of you who take an interest in such things, I’m not any taller, either. (Is this why the dogs are bigger?)
It’s been (another) difficult year, to be honest. One of the loneliest of my life, other than the other loneliest years of my life I’ve already endured. In Nice I was part of a thriving social scene, but here in London, where I’m surrounded by 5,999,999 other people, I know about 4 of them. But not necessarily in that order.
I was born in London. I left around 20 years ago, and latterly spent 2 years in another country. Coming back to the city is odd. Everything’s much more expensive, I can navigate my way around Nice far better than I know the streets of this town (tourists frequently give me directions…really, they do), and every single day yet another obscure rule about how the Oyster Card travel scheme works makes itself known to me after I’ve managed to transgress for the umpteenth time.
(Apparently, when the system was first introduced, some of the stations closer to the centre of town than the one where you boarded your train were exempt from the Oyster discount, meaning it was more expensive to get off at the next stop than it was to continue along the line for a few miles to where all the action is. After a predictable outcry, however, they simplified the system by multiplying the goal aggregate of away games between October to April of the last but one England manager with the number of times John Terry has managed to spend 10 minutes on the pitch without being sent off, subtracting the number of days passengers arriving from anywhere beginning with a letter of the alphabet spend queuing in Terminal 5 at Heathrow to get through passport control, and dividing by the sum of the amount of public money wasted by Prince Andrew (to the nearest 10 million pounds sterling) on luxury private accommodation abroad when he could be staying in luxury gratis accommodation abroad, and the single digit of his IQ, if he had one. So thankfully it’s all far easier to work out now).
To put it simply, I’m a stranger in a stranger land.
I celebrated the anniversary of my return watching a TV documentary about a man who hates his penis. I’m sure that says something, just not quite sure what. And it’s my birthday this week. Last year I bought a laundry basket. This year, I’m not going to.
Kindly form a queue for autographs.