The Village People

Geordie Schooner

Geordie Schooner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m flying to the States next week. Ostensibly it’s a research trip for my doctorate, but there’ll be plenty of opportunities for fun too – I’ve been invited to a Gatsby-style cocktail party in The Hamptons by my host family for Chrissakes! How many Geordie lasses can attest to that?

The problem is – I don’t want to go. I’ve always been a nervous flyer, but this time, it’s not just about the flight.

After M died, we, as a family, had an irrepressible urge to ‘close ranks’. We didn’t like to be apart for too long – one would peel off to do a provisions run, but was always back within the hour. People left food parcels on the doorstep, but we turned friends away, daubing a metaphorical plague cross on the door.

It was a  strange existence, and to a degree, it persists. I am always relieved to be heading back to the village, despite its miserable microclimate (it brings a whole new meaning to 50 Shades of Grey) and its controversial dog shit problem (who IS that persistent offender?) A lightness of being comes over me when I drive back up the hill from the sunshine into the mist towards my house. The village and its people envelop my daughter and me in their protective cocoon, and leaving it feels dizzying and unsafe. Crossing the road into the next village sometimes feels insurmountable – how am I ever going to cross the Atlantic?

So I’m breaking the trip down into small, more manageable pieces. Pack bag – check. Get to airport – check. Order large gin and tonic in departure lounge – check. It’s the moment I realise I’m in the seat next to Leslie Nielson in Airplane that I’ll frantically disembark for the grey, grey mist of home.

2 thoughts on “The Village People

  1. I think you, mum and I all feel the same about the village – it has ‘protected’ us well over the past year and we all feel apprehensive about having to leaving it. I share the same sense of relief as I drive down the slope and see the ever growing ‘lake’ glimmering ahead with the outline of buffalo on the hillside. Despite the strange micro climate and having to dodge the occasional offensive tower of bright orange dog shit (what does this owner feed his poor mutt?), we feel safe here and we have each other here – and of course our fantastic group of ‘village people’ (you know who you are!)

    I will miss you, Beebs and mum loads when you go away next week and I am dreading you not being around, I will feel like part of me is missing, but am so pleased you have this wonderful opportunity and want you to make the most of every minute….

    Brucie and I will be waiting impatiently to hear all your stories!!


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