I am writing this offline, on the train back from Guildford where I have been to see the dentist. There is no signal so I can’t tell if WordPress has recovered from whatever was affecting it on the journey down. First it spammed all my replies to comments on my own blog. I take Internet and blogging security as seriously as anyone, but this seems the paranoid side of safety to me. Then I noticed there were some games going in with the gravitars: a bit of identity swapping. Jo had taken over the Scroobious Pip, Pix had succumbed to Cobbies69, and Julia was masquerading as TBM. It’s like a fancy dress party. I expect a murder mystery weekend on WordPress any time now.
I grew up in Guildford, and although my parents moved away to Suffolk when they retired, I still had relatives in the area I liked to see, especially my Aunt Kath, so my dental appointments were usually combined with visits to see her. Aunt Madeleine lived the other side of Godalming and I saw less of her. Then both up and moved to Gozo, which is a bit far to go for a dental check up. I suppose when my lovely dentist retires I might move to a London practice, but for the moment I still enjoy having a foot in Surrey.
Often when I am there I wonder why I ever moved away. Guildford is clean; surrounded by countryside you see from the High Street; there are beautiful Georgian buildings in the centre of town, a great theatre; good rail connections. Then I remember how your social class and income would be defined by your postal code in a way that is so much harder in London, and I know exactly why I left. Of course in London, when I say I grew up in Surrey, people have me down as a stockbroker’s daughter, five bedroomed house, my own pony and goodness knows what. It can be annoying to always find yourself on the wrong side of someone else’s geographical prejudices.
So it was quite strange to find myself looking in an estate agent’s window today at a cottage in Shalford, and thinking perhaps one day I might move back. The place is full of memories. When I saw the girls walking down to the town from my old school, they could have been the girls from my class. I was a Saturday girl in Boots for three whole years. My aunt’s pub has changed almost beyond recognition, but it still stands. The second hand bookshop where I spent hours is now a furniture shop with sofas in the window. Some memories are not my own. The path by the river I see from the bridge on the way to the station is the same path my parents walked when they were courting. There is a traffic island where my father and grandfather had a shop. My parents lived in the flat above it, and my sister was born there. As a child, I walked my grandparents’ dog around the Castle Grounds and Rack’s Close every weekend. The top of the mound by the castle keep is not the most beautiful part of town, but I think I spent so much time there that, according to Flann O’Brien’s molecular theory, some of me is the castle motte and vice versa.