Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Wendy OFF The Rock

 'What do you think you're going to miss about Australia?'

We were enjoying our usual early morning dog walk when my neighbour nonchalantly asked this huge question.
This immense, vast, frightening question.

The first thing to break through the universe of silence and seas of tears that surrounded it was, 'Well, aside from some people I love very much... and my dog... the space. I think I'm going to find it difficult to adjust to not having vast open areas of sky and sea outside my window. And to living in a small flat...'

Of course the answer to such a monstrous large question is impossible to predict before the event.

We've only been living in this small London flat for a month, so my life still has a surreal not-quite-right holiday feeling. I haven't yet had time to feel the ache of distance because I've been occupied with busy stuff. Daily trivia: what to cook for dinner, where to buy a decent pan so I can cook whatever I'm going to cook for dinner, how to carry home and then lug up five flights of rickety stairs said pan and ingredients to cook said dinner... 

Now, however, that daily trivia is punctuated by moments of sheer amazement and wonder — a puddle turned to ice, a big red bus navigating our little street, a plaque quietly declaring that someone who changed the world once lived on that spot, a glimpse of a Victorian sitting-room through a Harley Street window snapshot moments I remind myself never to take for granted.

Here is no domed welkin; instead, stone spires, brick dwellings and glass towers highlight and reflect all the sun sends their way. Or doesn't send. Or can't send through the fog or the rain or the drooping clouds.

Here is no rhythmic rumble of the sea, no rolling water rebounding off rocky ledges and shell-strewn sand. But sometimes, unexpectedly, the cry of a gull reaches through the city's chatter, beckoning me to turn my head. Reminding me to look up and beyond.

Over the next few years, while we're living here in London, the answer to my friend's colossal question will no doubt become more clear. 
No doubt I'll write about it some more, and I hope you'll be with me to help make sense of it all... or non-sense of it all... 
of my new life as Wendy OFF The Rock.


  1. From what I've seen and read of your month in and outside the flat, there could well be a lifetime of occupations to keep you distracted from the place of longing that may soon begin to draw you. Although you may well find some places in the countryside where there is light and sky and open spaces (quite different from here of course) where there is however air available to breathe and stars up, up, up there in the sky. And moors. And grasslands. And mental journeying into great literature.
    And I have great excitement about commencing some adventuring with you in just 3month, 3weeks, 1day etc...
    So glad the writing has recommenced. Big cheese.

  2. Welcome to London although January is probably not the best month to be arriving. Looking forward to hearing more of how you're coping. And hopefully you will be exploring and finding those open spaces you crave - they do exist. Plus a trip to the coast doesn't take long.

    1. Thanks Wendy...yes, some trips to places more bucolic are certainly on the cards. I plan to make the most of it all.

  3. Hi Wendy. It is so good to see you blogging again. I have missed you. I am looking forward to sharing your adventures as you get to grips with life over here. It will be wonderful seeing things that I take for granted through your eyes, as you write with such enthusiasm!

    1. Thank you on all fronts, Judy. Yes, my Aussie sensibility is certainly soaking everything in. This is a grand adventure, and it will be a joy to have some friends to chat with along the way.

  4. OMG Wendy, tones of Walter de la Mare. I love this writing. And I'm pretty sure that other questions will raise their head soon, like all of the things you will miss about that part of the world when you return. I know you will make the most of it while you are over there, capturing every inch. Love, Buffy. xxx

  5. Well, I'm very flattered by your kindness. I enjoyed writing the piece. It is taking me a while to adjust, and some days are definitely better than others, but that's true of me wherever I am. I'm doing and seeing so many interesting things. I know I lead a charmed life.