The future is called “perhaps,” which is the only possible thing to call the future. And the only important thing is not to allow that to scare you. ~Tennessee Williams, Orpheus Descending , 1957
Bristol is rainy as I have never known it. And only now, in the midst of all this gloom, am I beginning to notice her cheerful colours, splashed across the cutout of the city skyline in the style of a French Impressionist. Maybe it’s less different from Regensburg than I ever believed. Recently: Christmas markets, nice dinners in window seats, rainy bicycle rides, essay hand-ins, my cosy cosy room, spontaneous house parties, a whole lot of laughter. I’m forgetting to take pictures, which can only mean I’m having a better time than I ever could have wished for.
Slowly this place is sewing its threads back into the fabric of my being. I’m falling in love, ever so quickly, all of a sudden, with the crawling ivy, the coloured front doors, wrought iron balconies and sandstone terraces. With our front stoop and the yellow leaves falling as if straight from the sky. And I’m learning the landmarks. Not those most admired, nor those most often photographed. Instead the landmarks of this little neighbourhood on a hill which I can now call home, this little undulating street and our shabby Victorian house with its blue front door. The row of majestic, tall as anything trees (what kind, I’m still unsure)…the red old timey car with country abbreviations painted in white along its boot. The schoolchildren swinging high into the air in the park, their voices always seeming to rise a decibel as dusk rolls in. It’s cold but not too cold yet. There’s often, when it’s not raining, a perfect mist in the air. The weather a wholly satisfying sort of sultry. Living here …
Can we go back?
We celebrated my dear aunt’s recent birthday at the grandest of places – all looming shadows, chandeliered ceilings and old ladies sitting genteel in window seats with large gemstones on their fingers and pearls in their ears. An atmosphere of quiet activity: golfers out on the lawn, boys in plaid trousers, girls in neatly ironed skirts serving Pimm’s with fresh fruit on the terrace. The sort of kids raised on tennis lessons and cable knit sweaters, weekend houses and charm school. Normally I, with my oft uncombed hair and scuffed shoes, would feel very much a fish out of water in such establishments (not to mention a little indignant at the thought of unearned privelege) but I have to admit, donning one’s best dress and pretending to be glamorous does harbour its own attraction. Yours for one day only. And doesn’t everyone look pretty?