Thursday, 6 June 2013

An afternoon of memories.

Do you feel guilty if you have an afternoon doing virtually nothing?
I find it hard not to do.   When I was a child, if I sat doing nothing my mother would ask whether I had anything to do and if I said no then she would find me a job - cleaning the silver, cleaning the brass, running an errand - anything rather than seeing me sitting just 'thinking'.  Reading a book was just one step ahead of doing nothing and could be justified although such an activity was always better if it was done in the evening or even after going to bed.

I no longer feel guilty about having an afternoon (or indeed a whole day) off.  That is what retirement is all about.   So yesterday, after a lovely morning at our Writers' Group, I decided to walk over the fields to see friend, M, and have an afternoon off.

The hawthorn blossom is just emerging and before I got to a tree in bloom I could smell the wonderful almondy smell.   Sugh a heady scent and so reminiscent of the English countryside in May/June for me.

What a lovely afternoon we had, talking about the old times, mulling over ideas, laughing about things that had happened in the past.   She is a reader of my blog and had been interested in my allegiance to my home county, Lincolnshire.   Coming as she does from London (Peckham Rye) and having moved about - evacuation, boarding school, various teaching jobs - she says that she feels no such allegiance.   Are roots important I wonder?  

Is it just me that finds them important?   Maybe it is my very settled existence throughout my early years that makes them so.   I would be interested to hear what others think about it.

To end on a funny story, I must tell you about an incident that happened to me last week.   On entering our local deli I was met by a lady handing out cubes of Gruyere.   I love Gruyere and took a cube.   I enjoyed it so much that I went back for another and she pointed out that there was a table of pre-packed Gruyere for sale.
I went over and picked up a piece, looked at the man standing behind the table and said, "I absolutely love Gruyere - and this one is particularly nice."   Only then did I realise that I was speaking to a life-size cardboard cut out of a man.  I looked round hoping that no one had seen or heard me.

So, another question - am I going ga-ga, do I need my eyes testing, or have others had similar experiences?   Answers on a post card please.   Our next Writers' meeting involves a pile of post cards in the middle of the table, picking one at random and writing about it for a quarter of an hour.   Post cards are urgently needed.


MorningAJ said...

Not ga-ga at all. On the other hand.... I always say thank you to the cash machine when it gives me my money. Now THAT is distinctly ga-ga!

Heather said...

I am always nervous of lifesized cardboard people. They invite conversation!
I grew up in Bucks and feel the pull but what I don't understand is why I have a similar yearning for Yorkshire. My father spoke of an ancestor who was an itinerant stone dresser from Yorkshire and married a dairymaid from Devon. Presumable he met her on his travels. This is going back several generations but could it explain my fondness for Yorkshire?

Tom Stephenson said...

First question: No.

Second question: Yes - especially if you are any sort of diaspara at all.

Third question: No.

Fourth question: Don't know. Best to get a close family member to answer that one.

Joanne Noragon said...

Reading passed as "something to do" when I was a child, and if I was off visiting (playing), I guess I wasn't underfoot to be asked the question. I still find both occupations guilt free.

John Gray said...

It's me? Remember?
It's john

Mrs F with 4 said...

I'm from Yorkshire -not very far from you at all!-but now live in Canada. I've been here 12 years; three of my children were born here; for all purposes it IS home. But, say the word 'home' to me and I am instantly transported back to dales, moors, hawthorn, sloes, gurgling becks, and right now, the smell of green, and lambing time. Oh, and warming my rump on the aga while waiting for the kettle to whistle!

No, not gaga...or no more so than me!

Arija said...

Your little story reminds me of the drunk who bumps into a lamp post, calmly lifts his hat and says 'sorry constable' and continues on his way.
About just sitting and thinking, I spent a lot of my time in school like that and at home too. My mother was very understanding.
I firmly believe we all of us would do better if, like the old man sitting on his porch with his hands in his lap said when questioned at to what he was doing :"sometimes Ah jes sits'n thinks an sometimes ah jees sits . . ."

Em Parkinson said...

sadly, I have done the same with a cut-out human. I got away with it but walked away shaking my head and covering my face in shame. Oh and yes, I feel guilty for pretty much everything that doesn't involve hard slog!

Gwil W said...

You probably get more sense out of the cardboard cutout than out of some cheesy politicians I can think of.