A Frome of one’s ownby Sam Leith / July 19, 2012 / Leave a comment
Published in August 2012 issue of Prospect Magazine
“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life,” is the much-quoted verdict of Dr Johnson. But it admits of some ambiguity as to the question of which comes first. I have a one-year-old who hasn’t slept through the night since he drew his first breath, and a three-year-old who sleeps like a top but will not let five waking minutes pass without a request for a rice cake, the demand for a change of outfit, or a fit of temper that would terrify the most temperamental of divas.
I look at myself in the mirror—eyes more than usually sunken, skin more than usually sallow, hair more than usually lank—and I feel like I’m peering out from an observation platform somewhere deep inside a scale model of my body, constructed with an aesthetic debt to the late Lucian Freud. Tired of life, I think. Tired of everything.
It’s at such times that one seeks refuge in fantasies of escape. The latest to grip me has to do with the country. It’s my wife Alices’s fault. I always tell her that she shouldn’t go on the internet, but learning that a friend was moving to Frome in Somerset, she made the mistake of looking on one of those property websites, and whimsically emailed me a link, saying: “Shall we move here?”