Wednesday, February 15, 2012

On ruts and routines

The same ex who accused me of 'living in an NW5 comfort bubble' also repeatedly told me I was 'in a rut'. He was right on both counts - and I was proud to concede so.

Why be ashamed of my lovely comfortable rut? A walk on the Heath every Sunday afternoon, followed by tea and Antiques Roadshow, or a pint. Saturday afternoons rifling through stock in 'The Shop' (so named because the Wonder Twin and I went there so frequently it needed no name). A regular grocery shopping run through the gourmet delights of Kentish Town (B&M Seafood, Phoenicia for baba ganoush and humous, and Earth for all the essentials). A twice weekly walk up to the Ladies Pond in the summer. A monthly pedicure at Tips and Toes. Poker nights, petanque on the Heath, and the occasional cricket match. And so on. This very pleasant, well established rhythm wove its way through a wonderful group of friends and some favourite pubs, parks and cafes, and yes, it was all very cosy.

When TLOML uprooted me to LA it did not take long to establish a new comfortable rut. Our regular run out to Nobu, followed by an ice cream from Malibu Yoghurt. Monday lunches at Coogies, to get out of the maids' hair. A sunset stroll on the beach, and my almost daily forays out on my bike, Doris (for so the Euro has christened her). Gin rummy and whisky on the deck. Pizza nights. Bouillabaisse nights. Our couples workout at the Pepperdine track.

In some ways we never really settled in New York, with our hearts stretched as they were between Malibu and London. But we did manage to get into a lovely comfortable rut there too, fairly quickly. Our regular walk down to Chelsea Market, sprees in the Lobster Place, cocktails at the Tipsy Parson, and coffee at Joe. Detours past Stella or Artichoke on the way home. My new running routine along the river. Nights in with Battlestar Galactica. And, of course, the ritual of bouillabaisse.

Living as I am in limbo, I am without routine. And yet, my ability to create a routine will not be constrained. 10 days in Rio is plenty of time to form a nice comfy rut. I quickly established the same breakfast every day - fruit, cereal and yoghurt, and I don't even look at the 'sausage pie' or the pastry baskets - and a gentle 3 mile jog along the sea front. I've managed to catch E! news every night, and BBC World News 'Hard Talk' every morning, which is a very edifying TV routine. And a highlight of my routine is my expresso duplo in the office, which always comes with a tiny little biscuit on it. The treat for me is guessing what the little biscuit will be.



Above all, it's just nice to feel at home. Guessing what today's little biscuit will be is a small way of feeling at home.

Still, I am not at home. And I'm dying to get there and get back in my rut. Since I last lived in London some of the parameters have moved: pubs have changed hands, people have had babies and even, gasp!,moved to the country. Still, the foundations of dear friends and excellent pubs remain.

I remain convinced our visa, and therefore TLOML's arrival in London, is imminent. Even though we'll be a little bit nomadic at first, I know it won't take long to establish a new routine. Hopefully one that involves as much as possible of my old routine - expanded and enhanced by TLOML's presence.

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