Like the song says, “Morning comes before I’m ready….”* We were up and at it again on Saturday. There was shopping to be done for the party. My weakness for a turn through Sainsbury’s was not to be indulged for lack of time and proximity and so we took off for Morrison’s with Siggy at the wheel while Jazz tended to preparations closer to Greenhill Road. A reminder that there was a branch of Sainsbury’s under construction right near the Jones Café on Queens Road comforted me. I don’t know what it is about a good supermarket—and many in the U.K. fall into that category. I love, love, love it. Five minutes in a department store, even an upscale one, especially an upscale store, surrounded by all those things, and I’m anxious and glistening with beads of sweat, openly searching for the nearest exit. Never mind that it’s state-of-the-art shopping in John Lewis, surrounded by their trademark bone white china, Jamie Oliver’s collection or Emma Bridgewater’s polka dots. Doesn’t matter that it’s Royal Doulton or royal anything. Love it? Not so much.
But aisles and aisles of fresh produce, the promise of a good meal made at home, the international food sections, bottled beers with names like Spit Fire, Bishops Finger and the “legendary” Tangle Foot, and those great English cheeses (yay for Red Leicester, which is generally unavailable to me) energize me into…well…a happy person.Here, I have to say that the half-mile-round-trip walk between Montague Road and Greenhill Road a few times every day was the semblance of normalcy that I needed. Everything else had fallen away from the moment we arrived, having lost a day somewhere en route. Our inner clocks were wildly off kilter. The pace we set for ourselves back home in order to write and produce songs is rather more ordered. I happily cook nearly every night and revel in the meditative nature of daily marketing. I make periodic journeys downtown for the dharma gatherings at Shambhala, or meet with the CEDP book club and prison letter-writing group uptown. Long hours are spent at the laptop writing. Books are read voraciously. I begin my day with a run in Central Park around the reservoir and then often set out of an afternoon for some solitary lost walking in the north end of the park, unless I can persuade The Mister to join me on his days off. On the run constantly in Leicester I found it difficult to order my thoughts or get to my journal and relied more heavily on my faithful old camera that would unknowingly be replaced by a newer sexier model when we got home. But the daily walks between Greenhill Road and the Contessa’s house served us well, especially after I persuaded The Mister to alter our route and trundle across a different road each time.