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.