I am entertaining again this week. Once more I shall be the hostess with the mostess and welcoming my friends as they arrive at Lukaland for a few days of over-indulgence. Many of these are friends from London. They have to come to visit me as I refuse to visit them. I hate the city.
Not that they mind. I live in a spectacularly beautiful place and am blessed with idyllic surroundings a million miles removed from the grimy, litter-strewn streets of London. No advertising hoardings here, no gum-caked pavements, no filthy blasts of diesel fumes from thundering buses, no crushes of bodies swarming mindlessly for a tube train because there won't be another for at least - oh - two minutes. It is peaceful here, it is green, lush, full of wildlife and friendly people with whom you can make eye contact, or idle conversation in the post office.
Yes, my London chums enjoy their escapes to the country and happily indulge my reluctance to travel to them. I have been unable to cure the other few million London-dwellers of their insular behaviour though. To this day most Londoners refuse to accept there is civilised life beyond their urban sprawl and seem to think living like a battery hen is not only desirable but aspirational. There is a mindset of self absorption, a belief that things that happen in the city just do not, cannot, occur elsewhere. Snow happens often and abundantly in other areas of the country, for example, yet a flake or two in London and it's front page news.
I have even had would-be suitors, smitten, unsurprisingly, by my online display of wittily turned phrases and plump body parts, discard me as a potential plaything simply because I do not live in London. While I am not actively seeking would-be suitors, being a disgustingly smugly satisfied married woman who no longer does that sort of thing, I enjoy the thrill of flirtation and the excitement of possibility as much as anyone. I am left to surmise that anyone who does not understand that a fine specimen such as myself is well worth a couple of hours travel time and a tentative exploration beyond the concrete cocoon of the city is spectacularly blinkered and a mammoth twat to boot.
How strange, I think, that these people would expect me to get on a train and travel for hours through the arse end of every town en route (a depressing composite of concrete, bad graffiti, scraggly weeds and warehouses) and then toil through the termite mound of London just to spend a few precious hours in the glow of their company and yet wouldn't dream of taking the same journey themselves, in reverse. "A meet in the country?" I sense them think in perplexity. "How perverse! Where would we have coffee? Where are the hotels that rent by the hour? How can I work my urbane charm, how can I make my excuses and leave, speedily, when far from the city? Can I really be arsed to travel for fucking hours when all that awaits are fields of straw-chewing yokels and the spectre of an unfulfilling flirtation ankle deep in mud whilst sucking on a turnip, alluringly?"
Thank goodness for the enlightened, my beloved Londoners who have made the journey to Lukaland. They shall be fed well and plied with the finest alcohol. There will be music, dancing and laughter. They will trade their urban night time soundtrack of car alarms, thudding baselines pounding from passing hot hatchbacks, wailing sirens and the constant rumble of traffic for the hooting of owls, the wind whispering through the trees, lowing calves and wine-fuelled lyrical outbursts from yours truly. Now how can any city compete with that?