|The 40 In 40 Days Project.|
11. The Lifestyle Switch (2000)
The Au Pairs
|So, in the
Summer of 2000, we suddenly find ourselves looking for a weekend cottage
in Derbyshire. This would have been unimaginable six months earlier (for
financial reasons: we have just been blessed with unexpected good
fortune) and unthinkable six months earlier than that (for lifestyle
reasons: whoíd want to spend their weekends away from all the
excitement of the city?)
We are being very picky with estate
agentsí details Ė very picky indeed. Eventually, we settle on two
properties to visit. Coincidentally, they are both in the same village,
just the other side of Ashbourne, and just inside the Peak District
national park. We arrange to see both on the same evening.
The first cottage is absolutely
delightful. It is everything we were looking for. The vibe is just
right. We cannot believe our luck Ė the first place we see, and itís
perfect. We make suitably enthusiastic noises to the owners, and depart,
buzzing with excitement. However, as we have arranged to see the other
property in the village, we think it only fair to keep our appointment.
The second cottage is, unbelievably,
even more perfect than the first. It is an amazing, magical place, with
an immediate and irresistible emotional pull to it. In particular, it
has a huge kitchen which, once you enter it, you never want to leave
again. We leave for Nottingham with our heads buzzing, in a state of
The second cottage it is, then. One
more visit, an offer, some wrangling over the price, and thatís that.
The current occupants wonít be ready to move out until around the
beginning of November Ė weíre happy to wait.
Meanwhile, I have been looking forward
to Tradeís 10th anniversary party in London, which I have been
planning to attend for months. My Trade days are basically behind me now
Ė the last time I was there, in February 2000, the night had turned
sour and I had realised Iíd reached the end of the road with the club.
Nevertheless, the 10th birthday party is an event that I just canít
miss. I have been visiting Trade since late 1994, and it has been an
important part of my life for most of that time. I just want to pay
homage to all the amazing, wild times Iíve had down there.
The completion date is set for the
first Friday in November. Well, guess what? Tradeís 10th is scheduled
for the very same weekend! The symbolism of this is not lost on me.
And so it comes to pass that on the
Friday, we spend our first night in our new cottage, which feels like
home from the very first minute we walk through the door. The next
evening, I take the train down to London, and check into a hotel within
walking distance of the club. Around 7.00 the next morning, I get up,
put my clubbing gear on, have a cup of tea, check out, stroll down the
road, and wander into Turnmills. At the bottom of the stairs, I open the
door and enter the mayhem. All the old faces, all the old tunes, all the
old atmosphere. I have the most fantastic time, knowing full well that I
will never be returning there again, and feeling completely OK about it.
Iím explaining all this to someone
Iíve never met before, slap bang in the middle of the main dancefloor.
He smiles, nods, and gives me the word I was looking for. Closure.
Another chapter begins.