We started off the year with Fidel Castro’s cigars at the top of a hill overlooking the Pacific, near the Western Gate, windy. I got my university diploma; it was very large. Then it was back to England for an austere few months of late winter cold-ness. I hunted for a job. I got a job. I re-discovered how little I like office work. The Man did research for a BBC 4 radio show, and became a temporary commutor to London. I started cycling everywhere; first shakily, winding my way round the neighborhood for practice. I went to my very first hen-night; I had a fairly significant birthday; my parents came to visit us in Oxford; the Man turned another year older. We tried to handle the cruel transition from winter cold to tempting spring almost-warmth with as much grace as possible, but I still underdressed a lot. In a green silk dress and a kilt, we attended the wedding of two friends deep in love. We celebrated our first year together. I decided once and for all to be a writer, and to go back to school. As summer settled over the city we headed back to California, where we lounged our way through a heat wave, tasted lots of wine, did our best impression of surfers, and got a nice tan. I also applied for a student visa, drove to Burbank and back in one day to ensure that it was received in good time, and, thankfully, was granted one.
Back in England, it was midsummer and beautiful. I hung the washing outside and wore sleeveless dresses, and visited the botanical gardens, and the parks and meadows, often. I went for long walks. I was out of work until September, so I became very, very, very poor. I had to admit that I’ve been foolish with money in the past, and take out a loan for school. We visited Cambridge, and Brighton, and at the end of August, with the barest hint of autumn in the air, we went to Paris, where we watched people unabashedly for several days straight. I started work again. I started school again. The city revealed itself to be beautiful in autumn, too. The days got colder, and shorter. We looked after a veritable menagerie in the countryside, feeding pigs and staying warm by a log fire. We celebrated the election of Barack Obama and I went to my first bonfire night. Several friends moved away, seeking fortune in London. Time began to seem like a blur, like something running towards Christmas full-pelt.
And I didn’t go back to California for Christmas. For the first time ever. We went to carol services and ate mince pies and mulled wine; we bought presents for people and tried to hide what we’d got for each other. We went a few miles out of town for a week, and had Christmas with the Man’s family, and unwrapped gifts and ate lots and lots of turkey, and slept in, and stayed warm, and read books, and when we came back, though we’d had a very nice time, we were also happy to be home again.
There are things I’ve misesd, I’m sure. But for now, we’re off to the Isis for a drink and then to dinner with friends to celebrate the new year.
Best to all, and hope you enjoy this last evening in 2008…