Wow - I think - they didn't make them like that in W3.
The best you got was a grunt or a half glance.
But I like Darren's friendly introduction. Sunshine on my doorstep.
It's been fourteen days since we arrived laden with card board boxes, objets d'art swathed in bubble wrap, an intrepid Little A holding bunny in her hand, and even though I've suffered a bed confining cold, that there is still so much to sort through and unpack, I feel content.
The local welcomes, the warmth, has been quite disarming at times - 'Is this her first term?', 'when did you move in?', 'you're going to like living here, lots and lots of families'.....
I feel like a big kid, itching to explore, eager to find the short cuts, the quickest route to the Metropolitan Line station - 'Croxley Green' its sign shouts proudly, in bold, white letters.
And so far I have uncovered three long, hedge lined passage ways that open onto a new crescent or behind Little A's pre-school. In London, I would've thought twice about walking down a deserted, enclosed path such as this, the barricading foliage not quite so inviting and green, crisp packets and over-chewed gum moulded on the tarmac. But it feels safer here. Much safer. And quiet. During the day, I spy the odd mother wheeling a buggy or a pensioner in walking boots. At night, the pavements feel bereft of footprints, and on the stroke of midnight all the street lamps switch off. Just like that. And it makes me think of a benevolent granny - the corners of her mouth up-turned, kindly - dressed in frilly night cap, and billowing gown, as she blows out the flame atop a tall, waxy candle in one strong puff.
If you were with me, we would saunter up the New Road, the road that houses all the must-have local amenities - the doctors, the library, the supermarket..... the undertakers. I would show you my favourite sign post, next to the library, one of those old signs that I love, that points you in every direction, that makes you dizzy from choice. Do you need the loo? Look it's sign posted right here....
I know I have moved somewhere welcoming, where I already feel a part of the furniture, the sedate momentum of life. This is the kind of place where people move, stay rooted - our immediate neighbours have lived here over twenty five years. I hope one day Little A will look back on the place she grew up in with fond memories, remembering it as home. And we are still so close to London, only a forty minute dash from friends and museums and galleries and grand shopping plazas.
The other evening, I lay on my bed, the window open, a slight breeze brushing against my left cheek, and I realised I couldn't hear the hum of the 207 or the 607 on The Uxbridge Road, or the screech of sirens rushing towards another emergency, another arrest. Instead, my ears were treated to the undulating chorus of birdsong, so perfectly clear and uninterrupted - apart from the odd passing plane - by the drone of engines and drunken voices.
Then I smiled, picked up my book and read.
This is a very belated entry in the wonderful Tuesday linky, 'Where I live', by Michelle who blogs as The American Resident.
Amazingly, unbelievably, I have made the shortlist of the Britmums BIBS Awards under the category, Lifestyle. I am so ruddy grateful to everyone who voted for Older Mum in a Muddle. Now if you would like to see me in the Lifestyle final six, then please, please, please vote for me one final time. The champagne is on me if I make it this far...... (nominations close on 12th May)