Much serious discussion with I. last night, about what we both wanted from life, and whether his potential Middle East project is likely to make us enough money to make things a bit more secure – it’s clear his current job is about to end abruptly within weeks, and we’re both enough children of the Irish seventies and eighties to be uneasy at the prospect – and whether we would consider having a child at some point. Inconclusive but vaguely cathartic, though marriage raised its ugly head again, to my ill-concealed disdain. I.’s inscrutableness, despite how well I know his mind. How someone can surprise, after so many years. I was pleased he felt so seriously about my novel.
A pleasant, rather solitary week overall – which I’m enjoying, as we have friends to stay next week, and then are going to Ireland for a few days, and then a conference. Still struggling with the ongoing academic chapter, but the end heaving into sight, perhaps – staying at my desk all day, and then taking long walks as it gets dark. I love this time of the year – the slight dipping of the light towards autumn, ugly streetlights in the dusk, a funfair packing up in the park, floodlit tennis courts, grubby rows of drooping curtains and bins giving way to restored Victorian tiles and pots of lavender, then kebab joint, hairdresser, Indian takeaway, Turkish deli, caff, pub, pizzeria, halal butcher (with grimacing sheepheads in the window), Polish bar, hardware, chipshop, kebab joint. I can have periods of total clear-headed love for it all, the waiters from the Indian restaurant smoking in the doorway, blank-faced commuters walking home shut between their earphones, a man putting a tray of oily pastries in the window of a shop, our grim-faced Sikh newsagent putting porn magazines on the top shelf, the drycleaner’s pulling down its shutters on the two sinister tailor’s dummies in the window. It’s stupid to be sentimental about London, and really I feel like leaving increasingly, but it tugs, nonetheless.