As one door closes....
The bedroom has three red cases full of tops and t-shirts. A black suitcase full of bathroom bottles and a huge hockey bag filled with towels and bath mats, pillow cases and fitted sheets.
The little angel that hung on the wall behind the bed has been packed into a box somewhere.
The utility room is empty of hangers and washing whilst the kitchen has been stripped of pictures and magnets off the fridge. All the tins that contain and tins that don't have been offloaded.
The cutlery has been counted and the blender that cost a small fortune is in a box in the hall.
The sitting room is bare but for the red rug, the telly, some cushions and two lamps and loads of paintings - all of which will go on Saturday.
Gods Gift has hired the van and I have called up some burly men to help carry down two armchairs, a massive leather sofa and sister chair, a bureau, the half moon table, a fancy mirror our family table and the hat stand with my YSL Yellow leather jacket I bought from the Red Cross Charity shop off the Kings Road for £69 quid.
The office, in which I sit, is all bare walls and cavernous.
After eight years of living in Battersea the count down begins. I am trying to imprint everything that happens with just fifteen days to go and then;
No breakfast in the square.
No drawing the curtains to keep out the lamplight.
No walking to work.
Battersea Life draws to an end. I have been reluctant to write anything because I am grieving the end of an era.
The right time to pack up and leave.
The best time to go.
The best time is the right time but never a good time.
There are those who embrace change well and those of us who try to embrace change but find ourselves running back into the arms of grief.
Pathetic, at my age I should know better. Everything changes, all things must past and nothing stays the same. I have employed every single platitude about time to heal my heart, I fear my friends are bored with my whining and moaning, my 'what ifs' and 'if onlys', but by this time next week all that will be left in the flat will be my duvet, four pillows and a tooth brush. Gods Gift will be filming in Sweden, and I will be unloading an octave of my life into whatever spare corner I can find in my little cottage in Sussex.
My home is lovely. Red, blue, green carpets and rugs. A dark mahogany boudoir grand piano, an old bathroom and a newly painted studio. The apples are heavy on the trees and the new farm shop in Bunny Lane will keep me in purple carrots and golden beetroot, but the allure of London will always be there.
I shall miss sarf London wiv a passion.
The Groucho club will be my saviour as will The Barry's spare room and the numerous sofas I will serfing from the friends who have offered up their breakfast bars.
Battersea will always tug. My years on 'Good Food Live'. My years at LBC. My years of travelling on the 170, going up the Junction and crossing the bridge into Chelsea.
It feels like my life has come to an end, and in some sense it has.
Although I know by closing down I am opening up.
I am told that moving home is the next best thing to bereavement. Burying Battersea will be hard, re-engaging with Tunbridge Wells will be harder.
GRAYSON PERRY's latest project is on class, he/she chose Sunderland for the working class, The Costswolds for the upper crust and good old disgusted in Twells for the middle set. We'll be immortalised on Graysons ceramic master/mistress pieces.
I have never been accepted as a native of the Royal blue hinterland, I doubt I ever will, but my home will give me respite before I start again.
Shirley, my friend from The Square, is an African warrior she told me that to survive you retreat, regroup and then attack. By September of this year I will have retreated. By September of next year, 2012, I will have regrouped and if the Olympics is anything to go by, as the last race is run I will be ready to attack.
It's 2.00 a.m. and I'm sitting in for Vanessa again tomorrow. Laura, the new producer, is so good, and the kids at 94.9 are the best around. I shall climb out of my bed at 6.30, take the 170 to Victoria, two stops to Oxford Circus and walk past the woman in pearls and sandals who sits outside a caff, flicking through 'The Metro', turning the pages as if her finger nails are still drying from the last application of baby pink varnish.
I shall beep myself in, flirt with the security team, take the lift to the second floor to BBC London and ruffle some feathers for three hours.
Then it's back to the flat and a walk to Balham for a poke from the Swedish Acupuncturist. Each day is mapped out until the van arrives at 10.00a.m. on Saturday 20th of August.
After which I will nurse the keys until I have to give them back to the inventory people on the 30th, who will then check list the last eight years to make sure I haven't nicked the light fittings, sign me off, take my £120 for the privilege or doing so, then close the door on me.
And once that door is closed.......I guess another will open.
Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes
Sarf London shall miss you too.......
Jeni I am sending you a cuddle of clouds to wrap you in, each time you look up just feel them wrapping around you and protecting you, they will travel with you to Sussex and always be there, so when you need a hug just look to the clouds xxhugxx
Jeni Tiz fine luv....'al el b reveeld Cx
Dearest Jeni. Soon it will be time to leave the flat you have loved for about 8 years by good ol'e Father Thames and sure you are going to miss the view from that balcony across to Chelsea Etc and you will have many happy memories of it im sure when you are safely ensconsed in your lovely cottage' Leaving like this is a difficult time and you will miss all the colourful charectors from around Battersea and the Square and your walks across the bridge and trips on the 170 bus. It will see strange at first but at least you have a Great Hubby and Family who your really proud off and they will continue to be wonderful even after you have left the rented flat in Battersea. I will be thinking of you on Saturday and praying that all goes well and you and all your bits and bobs will be in the cottage south of The Well's. Your friends out here in Cyber Land all Love You. But of course we are all really real people as well like yourself and we all really do care Jeni! and we always will because of the wonderful way you have often brightened up our lives. Thank You Jeni for Being You! Good Luck with the move and god Bless You. I shall be flying off on holiday next Monday to hanover and then Bad Salzuflen for a weeks rest in the Spa. i shall still be thinking of you and wish you all the Happiness you really deserve. good Luck also on Vanessas show tommorrow! Love and Hugs Always Terry XXX
Hi Jenni, I just wanted to wish you well with the move and also to say that I think I know how you might be feeling.
I moved out of London last week after living and working there for over 10 years. Living with London is hard going, but living without it is even harder. I have withdrawn to regroup and will return at some point.
As I left I missed my moment of being inbetween.... This is not a place any of us spend very long in, and i got rushed along in the moment with the van driver pushing me along. I missed my inbetween. I hope you can get a moment to savour your inbetween. Love and respect to you Jenni. Regards, Mark
Life come to an end. RUBBISH!!
I know it probably feels that way at the moment and we have all wondered why you have not written so much lately, but you are part of our lives now and none of us can do without you.
Please keep your blogs coming. Who am I going to take away on trips with me otherwise??!
I've missed your shows for the past two weeks as I have been on the most amazing yoga retreat in Croatia. Highly recommended. But I'm back now and I wanted you to know that we are thinking of you and sending love. Hopefully see you in the A21 one day whilst I drive to see the folks. All the best. Trolly dolly Nick xx
You sound so sad. you're bound to look back. After all, for us, we came into contact with you because you were in London. We'll miss London through your eyes. If you know what I mean. You made the place alive and immediate for me, thats for sure. Thank you for all the reports from Battersea. All the recounted routes to work, the park sounds and town noises. It's been a treat! Your words have allowed me to become almost familiar with a place I'll never see.
I dare say everyone is saying 'you'll be fine' and 'you'll settle into this in no time' and all that stuff, but it still makes your stomach lurch, doesn't it?
As one who is grieving before I even put the house on the market,I can feel your desolation. I hate change - in all its forms. Even though I know that change is normal, it feels like a death to me. My man is slowly going nuts at my indecision and prevarication. I make excuses and hang on to a few more days. But I've started the process and the spare room is becoming bigger and bigger as the junk goes out the door. You will be fine Jenni. I will be fine. You're Ok; I'm Ok. Good luck!!
Thank you for being gentle with me today on the radio, I'm a first timer.
What a great show, its been fab listening to you this week.
Sarf London will miss you. Its Londons loss and Sussex's gain, however you will always have your loyal listeners and fans wherever you are. Thinking of you during this heart wrench of a time.
You've certainly been through it this year!!! Sending love TD Nick xxx
A few little words for you to see,
Your lifeís been chaotic since LBC,
The peace you once knew,
Has eluded your heart
But from this day forward you have a new start.
New doors they will open,
Your life will be true,
Your house in dear Tonbridge is welcoming you.
From there you can ponder and gather your thoughts,
Your memories will hold you but your home is your fort.
So regroup dear Jeni,
Donít worry and fret,
Your life is quite lovely,
But thereíll be better yet.
With the love of your family,
And the sense youíre at one,
I see so much happiness,
Itís your time to move on x