Art and options

7.30pm on a warm August night. I jumped out of the cab in King St,  and headed for the door from where I could see a throng of people mingling inside in the good doctor’s living room – cleared to provide a space to rival any London gallery, and showcasing my friend G’s latest work.

The room was packed, with B slaving over a hot stove to produce delicious Thai nibbles and the art around the walls framing a lush garden and the Sussex hills behind.

The music provided a party vibe, the wine flowed and I was put on topping up duty.

I got chatting to J about living in the country vs living in the city.  ‘I just feel cooped up sometimes’ I said,  ‘I guess I love the outdoors so much that it does my head in to be surrounded by city streets – but I do like the energy and buzz of London’.  ‘It’s all in your head’, he replied, then: ‘It’s about feeling content with what you’re doing’.

I wondered about that. ‘More white wine?’ I said to a ruddy faced man, ‘Yeah, it’s free isn’t it?  Keep it coming! ‘  I asked him how he liked living in the country.  ‘Well, I used to live in Amsterdam and I travelled for work a lot.  Now I’m here and I haven’t travelled for two months – I feel  really cooped up’. He gestured towards the wall in front of us: ‘ I think I might buy that painting though’.

‘Red or white?’ I said to another art partyer and asked for her views on the subject:  ‘Oh, I really miss London’ she said, ‘I miss the diversity of it all, I live here  but I really get cabin fever sometimes’. ‘ By the way’ she continued, ‘Are you around next Sunday, I’m having a Ploughman’s lunch as part of the festival – would you like to come?’ ‘Oh!’ I replied, ‘Thank you, but I’m not sure if I’ll be here then’.  ‘That’s fine.  Excuse me but there’s the man delivering my cheese, I must say hello’ .

I got talking to John and Jim.  ‘We love it here – we go out to eat and everyone knows you.  We’re real foodies, but, we also love the anonymity of London.  We have a place there and we just found a  little restaurant to go to where all they do is steak and frites – that’s it, that’s all they do; it’s fabulous!’

As midnight came and went, it was time to go.  ‘Nice to see you again’ said the doctor, ‘Are you sticking around?’ It struck me as an unusual question and as I looked at him I thought  about what that meant and wondered what made the sticking around worth sticking around for.

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