For some reason, as I was spreading jam on my bread this morning, the cool breeze coming in through the open French doors in the library (God, that sounds much more idyllic than its reality), I was transported back to the ending days of a summer years ago, when I worked in Luton and lived in Dunstable, and to make the most of the last weeks of my favourite season would get off the bus back to Dunstable two miles from home, clamber up onto Blow’s Down and follow the paths across the gentle slopes with my jumper tied round my waist, my sleeves rolled up, and my messenger bag over my shoulder, taking my time before I descended back into the pollution left by the heavy traffic on the A5 which cuts right through the town, and walked across the High Street, through one of the two awful shopping precincts from the 70s, and into our road, two sides of a square, that seemed like a relic from the early 1900s with our tall bay-windowed semi hidden in the crook of the corner that connected those two sides of the square. I wouldn’t call those halcyon days, not by a long chalk (this would be just before we decided to move to Norway, when the business I owned was struggling just after the dot com crash), but the walk, the bit on the Down, anyway, seemed like paradise, a long way away from the realities of my daily labours. Perhaps that was the reason for the walk, just to create some space around me and inside me. Perhaps those walks helped me, helped us, come to the decision to move to Norway in 2002, and to start on a path of moving around again until we ended up here in Norwich.
Yesterday, I went for a long walk around the fields here on the north-eastern fringes of Norwich, and felt the same kind of space, with the air warm on my legs, the silence of Nature, and no people to impede my progress or disturb my deliberately disengaged mind. After having lived in a village in the middle of fields for 15 years, I sometimes still feel myself drawn more towards the fields up here rather than the forested wilderness of Mousehold Heath which can often be overpopulated by dogwalkers and strolling people, especially in late afternoon. And I did need that space yesterday, after therapy, and because of the ridiculous posturing of Liz Truss and the Tory party who seem to have forgotten that they decided to rid themselves of the liar Johnson, but now, when they have successfully deposed him, seem to bestow upon him the blessings and qualities of a saint. No politics out there in nature, however close to a city it is.
We all need space. We all need summer to last.
AGGIE’S ART OF HAPPINESS – CHAPTER 203