Quite by surprise, I find myself sitting in a hotel room in Oxford, waiting for a club sandwich, a fruit plate and some decaff coffee, so that I can enjoy a late lunch.
Things have changed as I have got older.
I have always been content in my own company, and in my own space. I have always been able to find enough to do to keep me happy, and I have always been quite good at doing very little, given half the chance.
For that reason, among many others, I have not traveled much with the husband, despite the fact that he has traveled quite a lot to promote his work. He’s gone all over the place, regularly spending weekends away in the UK, long weekends away in Europe, and weeks away in North America or Australia. He has been happy enough to travel alone, and always returns home full of energy and excitement, and brimming with stories.
Latterly, we have begun to miss each other more during his absences. We have been sadder when it has come time for leave-taking, we have spoken more during his absences, and we have looked forward more keenly to his returns home. It’s rather lovely in a way.
When the husband found out that he would be in Oxford for a couple of days this week, I didn’t think very much about it.
I like Oxford. The husband was at university here almost thirty years ago when we first dated, so I know it a little bit, and our daughter will be going into her final year of studies here in the autumn, so we’ve been back once or twice in the past three years. It’s a lovely place, and we have a favourite hotel where we stay when we visit the city.
I was rather delighted when my husband said that he had booked a nice double room at the hotel and was hoping that I would go with him.
So, today, I spent the morning sitting in a strange bed, banked up with pillows, reading one of the shortlisted novels for the Mslexia prize, and this afternoon I went back to the husband’s old college to replace his very worn tie and to have a walk around the quad. I strolled around the Sheldonian and the covered market, and bought a pack of the very best razor blades in the World, which are very difficult to find, but which I discovered in Frederick Tranter on the High Street.
Having walked down through the ‘gown’ side of the city I cam back through the ‘town’ side, where I did some shop-window gazing, and, now, here I am, back in my room, writing a blog and collecting images for my Pinterest page.
It’s all terribly charming and relaxing, and, honestly I’m really rather looking forward to having dinner with the husband tonight, which I won’t have to shop for, prepare, cook or wash-up after. It’s not a bad life, is it?