Come in and close the door. Make yourself comfortable. I have something to tell you.
I have been pondering about my blog Written in Exile for a few weeks, considering if I am too distant from its pages and from my readers. Hmmmm ... how much to disclose? how much to reveal? Written in Exile is my public face. Living in Exile will be my private one.
I need to warn you, this blog will be full of complaint, whingeing and misery. I will try to say some cheerful things too, but an awful lot of it will be moans about the weather, the lack of bacon, decent bookshops and ... probably I won't be able to resist the medical system.
I thought perhaps you would be interested to know a little of what it is like to live in Exile-land. If I have visited your pages, you will probably have a pretty good idea where I am. A little imagination will tell you otherwise.
I am an intensely private person, in person - you might say painfully shy hiding behind the pretense of politeness and bonhomie - but if you glance at me unawares, you will see me frozen to the spot, cup dangling from my hand, desperately trying to find something to say and someone to say it to. On the page, however, I am ebullient, gregarious, friendly and at ease. Even tautological.
I live in a small community where everybody is bored and entertains themselves with gossip and envy. I have a wonderful husband and gorgeous young adult offspring - it is these people, as well as that awkward physical person, that I need to protect from my online goofiness. So, sorry if it offends, but I am sticking to the pseudonym and will most likely not show my visage to you. Don't worry, 'Isabel Doyle' is pretty close to who I am regardless of my passport.
Which brings me to another difficulty - which passport? I am one of the few people alive I imagine, who thanks to an accident of birth can legally claim three passports, none of which the 'authorities' can deny me.
I usually travel - for all official purposes anyway - on my Australian one. In it, I have my full name. It also has a number of visas from countries where I have lived. Here in Exile, they struggle with western names. Mine has an apostrophe after an initial letter. My visa here has dropped the apostrophe (a sad common occurence in these computer times) and the first letter. Let us say it is a 'D' as in D'Este for example. If your name was D'Este, you would probably think of yourself filed alphabetically under 'D' wouldn't you? Without the apostrophe and the initial letter, here you would be filed under 'E'. Any official contact I have, they ask for my name, ask me to spell it, and then can neither understand me nor find it - because to them, I don't start with 'D'.
Even my credit card is bizarre: it has one name on it - one of my middle names. Have you ever tried to complete a credit card form with only one name? I cheat and repeat it: Isabel Isabel. It usually works.
See? I am complaining already.
I thought, after enjoying some of the lovely photos on other people's blogs - eyes stretching across moorlands, feathery fields, mountain ranges and beaches - I should show you some from Exile. There actually aren't a lot because it is hard to compose a shot of grey dust, rubble and beige buildings with nary a tree in sight. I will search for something with colour. Soon.
And the trees suggest I am a liar - I assure you these are the only trees in the country!