Hello. It's been a while. Ok, it's been more than a while. But I have a good excuse! Really!
It goes like this: we moved! We upped sticks and carted ourselves south. We are now inhabitants of a sleepy, green, mostly commuter town north of London. A stellar job came my husband's way, and, given the ever decreasing funds available for academic research, we kind of thought we'd better jump on it.
It was a massive upheaval. We had lived in Edinburgh for about 20 years -- since we were students. Our son had only ever lived in Edinburgh. We lived in a beautiful old flat in a busy, hipster part of the city, and our son went to school a 3 minute walk away. We didn't need a car. And we all had (still have!) some of the most fabulous friends there. In contrast, our new home is a 30 minute walk from everything, where "everything" emphatically does not include the multiple independent coffee shops, delis, German and French bakeries, and two (count 'em two) local chocolatiers that we had in our old neighbourhood. My husband now has a long commute into London every day. And of course we know no one here.
But. Our house is sunny, and has two gardens, and is big enough for me to have my own studio space. The hour round trip walk that I make twice a day to take our son to the tiny village school he got a place in goes past the edge of at least two very pretty conservation areas, and the school itself seems to be a really good match for our son. My husband's lovely, lovely family now live only a 20 minute drive away, and they are brilliant about making sure we are coping ok. We got fantastically lucky with our neighbours. And we are slowly, slowly settling in.
However, in the meantime, if you spot me about anywhere looking like a bunny in headlights, or indeed an alien in a strange land, do feel free to offer me a restorative gin. Or some cheese.