It’s funny the roundabout way ideas are born.
As you know, I’m a worrier. The prison warders have returned from France, in the dead of night as always, whispering into the parking space next to mine. They are deadly accurate about this, always: the rear bumper of their vehicle exactly lined up with the little brick tower-thingy that separates their rectangle of manicured front lawn from my anthill-y wasteland.
Immediately I started worrying. After six months without neighbours it’s unnerving suddenly to have them again, to hear them clumping up and down the stairs and creaking in and out of their front door, their TV to be heard through the wall, their labradoodle playing with that ridiculous whistling rubber toy out on the decking again. As I lay my head upon the pillow to sleep I hear a toothbrush clinking into a glass in their bathroom – a sound from before.
They were talking of selling up and moving permanently to their newly-built villa in France. They have been moving furniture and belongings down there in instalments, in the whispering vehicle, which is large, and windowless. If it wasn’t so new and shiny I would suspect it of being a repurposed paddy wagon. Ex and My Replacement had something similar when they moved, except theirs was a repurposed Post Office delivery van, and not shiny.
And I was thinking, what if this is it and they have come back to put their house on the market? What if a For Sale sign is just about to go up? And what if it sells to the Nightmare Neighbour From Hell?
And I mean, I’m bound to get him/them, aren’t I? The man using a chainsaw to do DIY at three in the morning, the teenagers playing heavy metal super-loud all day long, the shrieking woman in the garden, the dumpers of garden waste over the fence, the barking Alsatian, maybe a whole puppy farm…
What shall I do, when that happens? (Note the when, not if.)
It occurred to me that I would have to go out – all day and every day, probably. Either that or maybe I could keep a diary of when it was noisiest and just go out then. When I came back, and if the racket was still going on, I could immediately stuff the MP3 thingies in my ears in the hope of drowning them out with Mozart
And then it occurred to me that, whatever the next-door situation was, I ought to Get Out More. I mean, it’s all very well staying indoors all day, wiggling your toes and admiring your new Lounge Socks with the non-slip little globules on the soles, feeding stale bread to the sparrows or doing load after load of tumble-drying – but is that a life?
It also occurred to me that if I didn’t Go To Places now, when was I going to Go to them? How many years of Go-ability had I got left? I remembered my mother, when she was eighty and just before she started to go wafty, staring down at her wrinkled, liver-spotted hands in puzzlement. How did I get to be eighty? She asked me.
I don’t want to be asking How did I get to be eighty? At least, not till I’ve Got Out More.
So I am making a list of places to Get Out to. For financial and multi-cat reasons they would need to be within a day’s travel, even if a long day, and would have to be worth writing/posting about.
And then it occurred to me, why don’t I start another blog and link it to this one, which I think you can do though I can’t remember how? A blog of my travels – as yet at the highly putative pencil scrawl stage.
Now, what shall I call this hypothetical blog of my putative, pencilled travels?
And before long I was making another list:
La Femme Disparue (oh goodness, not more suspect French )… The Invisible Woman (sounds like something in bandages)… The Lady Vanishes… ?