I’m not dead. I haven’t slipped into a debilitating dark depression either, which is what I was sort of expecting to happen upon our return to the UK. I am sleeping a lot though (it’s so bloody dark at 8am it’s boggling my mind) and eating a LOT of chocolate, as in approximately five years’ worth every day. Yesterday I had a Terry’s Chocolate Orange for breakfast, a dozen Ferrero Rocher for lunch and some truffles for my tea. I need to sort that out.

The blow of coming back to the UK has been softened by all sorts of things, beyond chocolate and wine. The day after I left Bali I was offered a cool screenwriting gig. The day after that another screenwriting job. This on top of the two book deadlines I have for the end of January. So it feels as if that old saying ‘when you close one door another one opens’ is indeed correct though in my case several doors are opening all at once and I’m having trouble jumping through them all at the same time. I’ve been so busy with work and the tiny little admin tasks surrounding finding a house, buying a car, opening a bank account, getting Alula into a school, wrapping Christmas presents, breaking my mother-inW-law’s washing machine in my first effort at doing the laundry in five years, watching the Downton Christmas special, that I haven’t really had a chance to lie in bed bemoaning the lack of sunshine, heat and massages. John may refute that last sentence.

We also found the most gorgeous house to rent in a tiny village in the country. It’s hobbit small and three hundred years old and looks like if you leaned on it it might collapse, but it properly fulfils my fantasy of a writerly life fed by oh so many movies. I just need me some Hunter wellies and a Barbour jacket. The lady over the road owns chickens and ducks and geese and horses and there are bunnies in the garden and pheasants in the field beyond the garden, that regularly get shot at by the local Lord. It’s very Danny Champion of the World (in fact Roald Dahl did live just down the road). I can feel a book brewing already.

Weirdly too, as well as there being a Buddha statue in the garden (just like in our house in Bali), the landlord’s dates co-incided almost to the day with ours. John asked what I thought of the energy of the house, it being so old and possibly filled with the ghosts of owners past. I told him that I already had my sage sticks at the ready.

Bali really has affected me.

Yesterday I went to the Curzon Soho, my favourite place in London, probably one of my all time favourite hangouts, though I have to admit that now they’ve got rid of the bakery concession Konditor and Cook, I’m less enamoured. Sitting in the dark, popcorn on my knee, wine in my hand, movie rolling, I leaned over to my friend, gripped his arm and, close to tears, whispered; ‘I’m just so happy.’ (We watched Birdman which was great).

I’ve scoured Time Out and circled all the things I want to do and then some (totally forgetting about all my deadlines). ‘It’s because you’re only here for a finite time,’ my best friend Alby said, ‘so you aren’t putting off doing stuff like everyone else tends to do.’ And I had to agree with him. Concentrated time means you make more effort to soak up places. I’m here for eight months and I intend to make the most of every day.

I’ve booked theatre tickets, gig tickets and movie tickets.

But I’ve also booked a ticket to LA in March.

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