Living with parents, living through winter, and negotiating the joys of the Winnersh Triangle... Safe to say that our columnists Rosie & Jim aren't upping the ante in the glamour stakes this week.
Our writers Rosie Paterson and James Fisher blogged for Country Life throughout the lockdowns of last year, when (one way or another) they ended up alone for the duration. Both used to the time wisely: they revealed the rules of cycling, ranked musical instruments (and not in a good way), shared tales of curious robins, video chat and little old ladies winching shopping through windows. You can catch up on all their columns here.
Now, though, our intrepid pair have moved on — one to become a home owner, the other, er, not. And now, they’re facing the perils of living with parents as an adult, and the coming of winter. They have our sympathy.
Alongside trying to navigate the perils of finding somewhere to live, I’ve also had to navigate a return to the office. It’s a tough life.
Bizarrely, it’s not even the same office we left back in March 2020 (and waved each other off with silly lines like ‘see you in a couple of weeks when this has all died down’ and ‘I’m off to France in three weeks, so I might not see you for a month!’) It’s a new office in Winnersh Triangle — the sort of place which sounds like somewhere Peter Rabbit might live, but is in fact home to a business park.
Luckily for me (but for no one else because they all live miles away), the office is only twenty minutes from my parents’ house… which is where I happen to be living right now. Oh, haven’t you heard? All of the cool 18-34 years olds now live with their parents.
Apparently it’s because we’re all saving for a house deposit (Mum, if you’re reading this, give me another 43 years), but I think it’s because we’re all hooked on the free food and an excuse to get out of social occasions we can’t be bothered to trek into London for now that we can’t use Covid and social distancing (‘I don’t want to wake my parents up coming in too late’… little do they know that one of mine plays Candy Crush into the early hours of the morning and the other refuses to sleep until he’s completed The Telegraph cryptic crossword).
My parents have taken having their favourite child at home with them once again as an opportunity to point out some home truths. Regularly. Admittedly, I do like to use every plate, appliance and utensil every time I cook. And yes, I am in fact allergic to ironing. But, there is no shadow of a doubt that how I stack the dishwasher is infinitely better, more organised and more logical than how they insist on doing it.
Winter arrived on Monday. I am very much a man of ‘there are only two seasons’. It sure would be nice to get all sentimental on the specifics of spring and autumn. ‘Oh the trees are in bloom!’, ‘oh the leaves have now fallen off the trees and made the floor a giant brown slippery mess!’, but I lack the determination to buy into such aesthetics. It is either Hot, or it is Cold. On Sunday it was hot, and then on Monday it was cold, and therefore winter is here.
You might assume that I am not a fan of winter. And you would be correct. There are very few things to enjoy about these curséd and dark six months that are rapidly approaching us. We’re now within touching distance of October 31, the official start of the season when you commute to work in inky blackness, and return from work in inky blackness. It will get cold. Your clothes will be constantly wet, and even when you wash them, they will never dry. Vitamin D will become a distant memory. As will joy.
You may accuse me of being dramatic (an accusation that has never been levelled at me by anyone, ever). ‘Think of the nights by the fire! All warm and cosy and drinking mulled wine! Think of Christmas and jumpers and brisk walks! It’s about hygge!’ Remember hygge? That was a fun year. Being collectively gaslit by a series of overpriced Scandinavian brands that being cold was actually fun. Whatever will they come up with next? Carlsberg is good? Ikea is fun? We should have known we were being lied to.
There is lots to appreciate about winter, and I’ll admit I’m being unfair. It’s ale drinking season, and there is no finer ale than Young’s Winter Warmer after a chilly stroll. Christmas is ok, assuming it doesn’t get cancelled at the last possible moment. I have a good selection of coats and skiing is arguably my favourite type of holiday. I just feel that after the past 18 months, we deserved a better summer, a longer one, before we all have to go inside again and consume each others’ particles (which is naturally all I think about now).
Take me back to 2018, and that World Cup summer. Winter I am not ready for you.
Our columnists are back and have been finding somewhere to live, with wildly varying degrees of success.
Jason Goodwin's efforts to transcribe his father's colourful life story are suffering all sorts of unusual interruptions.
This week, Rosie encounters a real, live person while James ponders how he's wasted this unique opportunity for self-improvement. On
This week, Rosie finally heads back to Devon while James finally heads back to the pub.