7. James Baer



After a trip to the dentist, I took the train out to see my parents for supper. I'm now living in London after 19 years of being outside the UK, when going to see Mum and Dad always meant at least eight hours in a plane, frequently 24 hours door to door. Now I walk ten minutes to the tube station, spend 40 minutes on the train, and five minutes after that I'm at their doorstep. It's a wonderful feeling: the familiarity of being in the town where I grew up; the casualness of seeing them, not feeling like there's huge chunks of a distant life that I need to fill them in on; the intimacy of talking instead about little details of our week - people we've seen, things I've fixed up at our flat, a TV show that we've all seen, what things cost in the shops.  Maybe those trivia would drive me nuts if I'd been doing them for all those missed years; but now, with the benefit of a bit of maturity, and the knowledge that I have far fewer years ahead of me with my parents than behind me, it feels precious. There's so much that Henry and I love about being in London, a city where I've never actually lived before; but for me, the proximity to Mum and Dad is far and away the best thing.

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