One of the things which makes me happiest, I think, is being able to combine life in the country and in London. From time to time I get worried about headlines like “SECOND HOMES CRISIS HITS DORSET” and wonder if it’s really practical, or for that matter fair, for me to be running the Parsonage down there and my little flat up here in London all at the same time. But what I do know is this. If I lived in London full time, I’d go mad, and if I lived in Dorset full time, I’d probably go mad, but for different reasons. Life is all about contrast. I guess I work pretty hard to keep it all together, and perhaps it would be nicer not to spend quite as much time as I do on the M3 motorway or savouring the delights of the slowest railway journey ever from London to Dorchester South.
I think it’s all worth it when I see the tulips coming up, or—very excitingly—the first stem of asparagus (I know what we’ll have for supper in a couple of weeks when my Mum and Dad come to stay over Easter).
A weekend like the one just past emphasised to me, though, how much I love both places. I went to a concert on Saturday evening with my friend George, in Winchester – Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius in the Cathedral. If you don’t know this piece of music may I recommend it? It is something I return to again and again, but this was the first time I had heard it performed live. As the choir sang their great set-piece chorus, a wall of sound rolled down the nave of the cathedral, reverberating off great stone pillars and around high dark fan vaults. Extraordinary, and spine-tingling.
But because I was half way back to London, yesterday morning I carried on up. I went for a walk with my friend Will in the afternoon. London sparkled, nowhere more so than the great vaulted arches of Kings Cross station, beautifully restored and reopening at the moment. The countryside had shone in equal measure. Spring in Dorset, spring in London. At the risk of this blog getting a little repetitive, it would be hard to pick between the two. Which do you prefer?