The Sea, The Sea

I love London, I really do.  I love the way our neighbourhood feels like a village and I run into people I know whenever I walk the dogs or go to the shops. And how I can get on the tube and be in the middle of town in ten minutes, where there are restaurants and theatres and people to tell me the latest gossip about the book business. But sometimes there's nothing more perfect than being by the sea.



It's raining, grey and cold here, but the horses in the field next to the house look shaggy-coated and happy and when I walked on the beach this afternoon the oyster catchers were peeping and swooping and I saw a seal on the sandbar.

Tonight, the house is warm thanks to a fire that's been roaring all day, and the dogs are dog-tired from running flat out, like wild things, for hours. They're particularly happy here because we're all in one room reading instead of spread out around the house. Nothing beats having the pack all in one place.

Tomorrow morning there'll be no postman banging on the door with a package of books, no racing to get ready for school. No ringing phone.

Just quiet.

My daughter says she hates it here, there's no Topshop and her friend went home today and it's SO boring. But she's been buried in a book all afternoon (miracle of miracles), and offered to make dinner (I accepted with shameful alacrity), after which we played cards and laughed like hyenas because I couldn't get my head round the rules. And then she admitted that she does kind of like it here after all.  And maybe we should come up more often.

I said OK. Casually, so as not to appear too grateful.