Today saw the family and visitors travel from Scotland to London for us, the start of the Christmas holidays. We went by train down the East Coast mainline, a single train ride which lasted a touch under six hours. Time to transition from the normal routine of life (well the normal chaos at least) to the rhythms of the south east of England.

It is quite a change too, at least for me. I go from leisurely shopping when it is quiet to the packed rush of the crowds where every second counts. I wonder if the rushing is crowd mentality or just a need to compete and win on an individual level? A five minute cycle to the office is replaced by an hour to get anywhere on the tube. Where world class culture is available 24×7 opposed to a couple of concerts every four months and the cost is at least double. Where your look has nothing to do with practicality, and colours where worn are dark to match the standard dark grey/black coat. Where crossing roads is about weaving through the spaces of the stacked up cars before they accelerate off at top speed and living off £10 a day for lunch and travel is pretty much impossible. The bank account seems to haemorrhage down here.

At the same time I give up my usual routine of shopping and cooking. I have time to think and write. I have time to think of presents for others as well as treat myself to a few too. Dog walks because a necessity for exercise and for keeping sanity. There is little peace here though, a room to oneself is a luxury and headphones are necessary to ablate the noise levels on public transport.

I keep noticing changes to this house. There is a new oven in the kitchen, seemingly an offshoot of trying to get a new extractor fan. I haven’t seen that grater before, or that kettle which has a built in water softener. LED lights seem to be everywhere. The duvet covers are new as apparently are the duvets themselves but for once I didn’t notice that. There is a new record player, and shelving for the CDs. Change seems to be in every room I do into.

I don’t really settle here I guess because there is no routine. Tomorrow is a day off from doing things except after tea we are to visit old school friends. Then that too gets cancelled. The day after is for going out for lunch to meet our visitor’s mum followed by a ballet in the evening, or is that the evening after because aren’t some family friends coming for dinner in the next day or two? Where does the booked art exhibition fit in? Meeting other school friends? Christmas eve is about the birthday for my youngest kid (dim sum for lunch) followed by Christmas meal for eight, or is that ten?

I actually have very little in the diary, but the lack of routine is unsettling and without peace of mind being creative is tricky.

On the way down today I thought about what I could write about next, but that hasn’t happened. I thought about working through a music recording that needs processing, that may have been a bit unrealistic. I thought about looking at Latin American rhythms and trying some composition. I even had a few ideas for some cartoons.

It seems to me that I need to carve out some framework at least to support me. I get the sense that a routine would be rather optimistic though. And where is my emotion in all this? It is seemingly in hiding at the moment, perhaps waiting for the peace to form so it can emerge in safety but I suspect that to find that peace I need to be creative but to be creative requires peace. A paradox I have tried to break by writing here, is that that enough? Only time will tell I guess.