04 September, 2006

Mersey tales

It's now just over half a year since I moved to London and six months exactly since I started my new job.

Time seems to have raced by, yet I can't help but feel the sensation that my life in Liverpool (all 12 years of it) might just as well be a generation ago. Everything feels so distant to me now.

It was such an upheaval coming down here, and such hard work trying to put down new roots, that since the move my energies and attention have, for good and ill, been utterly consumed simply with the business of staying alive and keeping going. I haven't had the space nor stamina to contemplate what I left behind. I suspect there's a part of my subconscious that doesn't want to allow me to either.

In truth I have been thinking about Liverpool increasingly of late, and of how many different kinds of experiences and rituals I had to abandon in order to break free of a soul-destroying job, a humiliating salary and a character-humbling workplace.

I don't miss that particular vocation, of course, nor most of the people who passed as my colleagues. But they weren't all a bad bunch, and I was fortunate to fall in with a small group of allies and confidantes amongst my immediate peers who, during the three and a half years I spent in that job, proved selfless in their support and understanding.

I miss them; but I also miss...

- the serenity around where I used to live, which allowed me to hear the birds in the morning and the trains at night;

- hot buttered toast from the bakeries in town;

- blustery western winds that would blast all the cobwebs from your crumpled office-bound exterior;

- neighbours who actually spoke to you and took an interest in your welfare;

- the reassurance of being somewhere you've lived for so long and the confidence in knowing that, however many times you go away, you'll always want to return after not too long;

- the cavernous starry skies at night;

- decent haircuts for just £5;

- public transport that doesn't roast you alive;

- the rain, falling hour upon hour with untempered abandon and sparkling delight;

- revisiting old haunts;

- the coolness, even in the height of summer, lurking in any nearby park or garden;

- the parts of the city I somehow never found the time to visit;

- the desolate romanticism of Lime Street station;

- being so close to the sea;

- nicer accents;

- living amongst so much of my past;

And a million and one other things that made up the fabric of my existence in Liverpool and which were completely unravelled in the process of moving 200 miles south.

I wish I could have them all back. I really do.


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