I received this book today in the post, from Maggie in Toronto, who sent it after she read that I was considering a move away from Newcastle. She did say that it might confuse me and perhaps make my decision making even more complicated, and she may well be right. So far, though, it's the telling, rather than the deciding, that is the most stressful.
So far, reactions from friends and family when I've said, ever so lightly and carefully, that I would be looking at moving away to the west, have been mixed. That is, a mix of negatives. You'd think I was leaving the Shires for ever and taking ship with the Elves and Frodo. The Lovely Son's response doesn't really count, as he hasn't a clue about the location of any town or city that he hasn't actually lived in.
But mostly, the response of other people hasn't been encouraging either. There's been some vigorous pushing of awful alternatives such as local towns, although I've said repeatedly that I wouldn't want to live in them (too Grim-up-North, with awful weather, or dormitories for the city) but today's was the most succinct. Rose rang, and in the course of an otherwise riveting conversation about paint colours and home improvements, I mentioned timidly that I would be looking to move, perhaps to Devon, when my house was finished and fit to sell. Tersely, and in her best Lady Bracknell tone, she said "It's packed out down there!" (this from the only one of my friends who has travelled in China, where it's a little bit packed out too). More of the same was to follow; it's getting to be a familiar refrain now, distance, loneliness, expense, crowds, abandonment (mine, of friends).
My sister has been encouraging though, and says that I must live wherever I like; as she intends to be spending a great deal of her future retirement in Greece, I suppose the idea of distance and life in a strange community is less daunting to her.
Maggie, usually the optimist, says I will have plenty of time to decide where to go, as it will take ages for the house to sell. I think I will tell everyone now about my wanting to move, then not ever mention it again, perhaps right up to the day before the removals van arrives to take me to the Grey Havens......