Posted by Tania Kindersley.
Some of the very kind readers have been appreciating the pictures, and asking for more of the dogs. (You really should not be encouraging me like that; we all know where it will end.) I am trying to get some printing done, and my chip is occupied, which I promise is not some ghastly euphemism, so I cannot use the camera today, and I had to go back through my files to find some old pictures to put up. I suddenly realised it is a record of a very small world. There are the dogs, of course, and then the flowers, the moss, the trees, the wall, the burn, the occasional artistic leaf. That's it.
I used to live in a very big world. London is one of the great global cities. I remember years ago walking down Bond Street and hearing twelve different languages in one block, at least three of which I could not identify at all. Pashto? I wondered afterwards. Serbo-Croat? I spent a lot of time in Soho and Chinatown and Notting Hill, before it became a hedge-fund compound, back in the old days when the All Saint's Road really was the front line, working girls and crack palaces where there are now boutiques and chi-chi restaurants. I'm not saying that crack dens are good things, but I did quite like the sense of being on the edge. I liked the old established communities, where the immigrants had come from Naples or Bridgetown or Peking, in the days when it was Peking, and made little corners of the city their own.
I had friends and relations in Dublin, New York, Seattle, Siena, Singapore and Los Angeles, and I would fly off and visit them. It was before there was such a thing as a carbon footprint.
Now, there is this small place. I ponder whether I should go and visit my cousins in North Uist, and that feels like an epic journey to me. The world comes to me via my computer, where I can find news and pictures and blogs from Ulan Bator to the South China Seas. But my physical space has shrunk; I am at a stage in my life where I want to stay still. I cannot quite work out if this is a good thing or a bad thing. When I was green and foolish, I rather despised the people who stayed at home. Travel broadens the mind, I thought, as I skipped off on another jaunt. I think this is true, however much of a cliché it might be, but I also think that there are many places to explore in the privacy of one's own head. There will come a time when I shall go off again; there are still many places I want to see. I yearn for the fjords, and I want to look at St Petersburg and Copenhagen; I should very much like to see the rose red city at Petra.
Just now, I am staying at home. This is what I see here:
(It's not really a shrubbery, I just like saying that, in a Monty Python accent.)
Virginia the pig:
The beautiful younger niece, who has just come home for the holidays, and is looking more and more like Julie Christie in Darling:
The obligatory artistic leaf:
It's a tiny world, but it's where I live, and I feel very lucky in it.