I was looking for a picture/cartoon/drawing of a women on an island only the sirens and mermaids didn’t match my figure and seemed way to young to fool anyone in Silver Street. The subject is self imposed exile of sorts, and an island would have been ideal, but then I remembered my posts from the London Birdcage and thought, apt … the door is open and I have flown thousands of miles to the South.
The return to my native home has in fact become and exile from exile. Let’s begin with the best of intentions. Fed up with the winter gloom, post Christmas and darkness before afternoon tea. It’s sunny skies and beach weather for me I thought, so lobbed the part time job, kissed the young un’s and landed with an almighty thud in Cape Town. Dressed in London gear in 38 degree heat.
We do not care. We are going to annex a little house for two and a bit months. Bliss she says. pure bliss. And so it is for about three hours. Like Julie Andrews dancing on the mountain top, I dance from room to room, quite overwhelmed with space and light – intoxicating light till late. Nothing to do, but be. She is free, she is free.
Day one and a bit – hit the beach. Lie, spread eagle on the sand.
Day two and a bit – burned to a lobster red.
Some more days, peel.
Now a questionable shade of brown, white and in between.
Week one – unstoppable. Zooting around wine farms, lunches, catch ups and dolling up the house.
Week two – umm, where to go?
Quick mention – part of the exile was no TV. No connection. Now too late. No internet connection so now stalking coffee shops for news. Trying this living alone thing – it sucks.
Two months in. Going stir crazy. Dead food in the fridge. Too many rooms silent, eerily silent.
Ok, let’s go back a little. The mornings are beautiful, the days full of promise, and then there are the evenings. They come like dead men walking when you are without and without. Some have it down pat, this in new to me, so I am dragging the hours till sleep which then means two am overthinking. I am an island of my own making and this island is too small. Meditation is not my friend.
For one who thinks an empty page in the diary is tantamount to failure, this day in and day out of purposeless living before going back to the birdcage has been harder than I thought. I don’t do the lie ins, or the afternoon reading. Guilt to those. Feel like I’m in an episode of Cranford only no gossips in the village to perk up the day. Walking for us Londoners is ambitious – ambling in the afternoon does my head in.
Am I being a total, selfish maggot? Do others not dream of this? It is gorgeous, and reflective, and rejuvenating and … dare I say it, boring. Retirement is doing to be the death of me. I want noise, and a packed diary, and intrigue, drama and passion. I want to feel the need to move and fill my days with a reason. The beach holiday is fine for a short time (she says through gritted teeth) and it has been so good for me, but I am for the birdcage of habit for a little longer where the sound of busses and life trumps the sounds of silence.
Images sketchier, dan.dare