But happily it’s only temporary.
The big news on the blog is that Archie and I are leaving Brussels! We’re moving back to Scotland, to Edinburgh, and I’m absolutely thrilled. I’ve always wanted to live in Edinburgh, ever since university. It’s such a great city – big enough to contain everything you’d want, cozy pubs, funky bars, independent boutiques and coffee shops, the Fringe, the Festival, Hogmanay – but small enough to feel human, and close enough to beautiful countryside to escape at the weekends.
And it’s not London. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with London over the past 10 years. The scale, and the expense, was such a shock to the system when I first moved down to start my career. I couldn’t fathom the cost of renting a room, which initially seemed comparable to Aberdeen until I realised £250 was per week, not per month. The tube felt hideous; how could you travel over an hour and still be in London? A three hour round trip to travel from SW to NE to meet friends for Sunday lunch, and a rush hour journey from Clapham South so crowded that it was physically impossible to force myself into a stuffed carriage was apparently normal. I transferred to Brussels, and then to Washington DC, as quickly as I possibly could. I made (I hope) lifelong friends in my second stint in Brussels and when we all moved back to London it started to feel more like home. I bought my own flat and explored every green patch, with beautiful long runs along the river and round Richmond Park. Putney felt like mine. And then I ended up back in Brussels. Sadly this time round I haven’t been able to love this international city. The tinge of Brexit touches everything here, and sours it for me. I can’t separate life and politics, and despite having lots of good friends here, it doesn’t feel right. It’s time to go.
And the call of the motherland is strong. Anyone remember the Tennant’s advert with the cheesy ‘Caledonia’ theme? I think it must have lodged in my subconsious a long time ago, and it still makes me smile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TX9h558Tz1E
I even watched Shallow Grave last night, to get me in the Edinburgh mood. I’m looking forward to connecting with old friends, although I’m really going to miss my London and Brussels gang too, and hope that they will all visit (although not sure how I’ll cram them into my tiny new flat!) Most of all, I’ll be closer to my family, and my precious little niece, and to hills, beaches and sea. I can’t wait to take Archie hillwalking and camping. With a name like his he can’t fail to feel at home.
Right now Archie is with my parents and his cousin Benji, who are very generously looking after him while I wrap everything up in Belgium. I know he’s having a great time, but I miss him so much! It’s so strange now to wake up without him licking my hand and wiggling his little bum and tail in delight that I’m up, and we have a new day to spend together. I’m barely scraping 10,000 steps (and most days falling below) on my Fitbit without our early morning walks and am starting to feel like a bit of slob. I had promised myself I’d go for runs in the morning instead, but dark slippery pavements are not very enticing without a furry little pup squeaking and pawing at me to take him out.
And there’s nobody happy to see me when I get home from work. I miss our post work cuddles when I arrived home and he needed half an hour on my lap the sofa just to say hi, and I miss him making me laugh as he played with his toys and chased his favourite ball. I’d forgotten that I’d been lonely before I got him, that that was the reason I’d wanted a dog so much, and feel doubly lonely now that he’s not here. I find myself talking to myself, instead of chatting to him, while I cook dinner or wander around the flat. I can’t wait to be reunited. I wish I could explain to him that I’m away sorting out our new life together, but I know that he’s slipped very happily into countrylife with his grandparents. I hope he won’t prefer living with them to living with me.
After much difficulty I’ve found us a flat (more in a separate post), and a wonderful doggy day care so that he can play with canine pals all day and won’t be sad while I’m at work. So we’re just about set for the big move. I can’t wait!
I just need a new name for the blog. Archie in Edinburgh is the obvious suggestion. Can anyone suggest any others? I thought about Ashleigh & Archie, although that might be a bit too cute. One girl and her dog (although the Instagram handle is gone)?