Saturday, 12 July 2014

Happiness?

Today's quote in The Times  'Universal Register' gives food for thought.
'Happy the man who,far away from business, like the race of men of old, tills his ancestral fields with his own oxen, unbound by any interest to pay.'

What does bring happiness?   I have always had the wanderlust.  As a young woman, it was unheard of for anyone to go back-packing (too soon after the war), and in any case there wasn't that kind of transport or money.   Then I would devour travel books.   One book 'Kurun around the world' about sailing round the world, caught my imagination and I read it over and over again.  Then it was people like Vita Sackville-West and her wonderful 'Twelve Days' about her journey across the mountains of South West Persia.   My travelling was all in my mind.

I married young and my first husband had travelled widely in the army in the Far East (was also a Japanese Prisoner of War on the Death Railway).   The year after we married, we went to Paris for a week.  My mother was very scared that we were flying there (one way on an Elizabethan and back on a Viscount) and begged us not to tell her which day we were going.

Then it was buying a house and raising a family, so back to reading about travel again - anything I could lay my hands on.   But finally, in early retirement we were able to spread our wings, mainly Eastwards - China,  Moscow, Leningrad (as it was then), Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Trans-Siberian Railway, Italy with all its art treasures and the wonderfully ancient cities of Turkey.
Sadly at this point my husband died.

Two and a half years later I married the farmer.   He milked his cows twice a day for 365 days a year - so no holidays there then.  The first year of our marriage I went to Sienna alone (beautiful city) and the next year to Marrakesh (equally beautiful with the glorious mountains near at hand). By this time, appreciating my itchy feet he began to join in (finding someone else to take over the farm for the holiday period) and over the years we have been many times to Canada, to Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Charleroix coast of the St Lawrence, Vancouver and Vancouver Island, Newfoundland - and then down into the US - to New England, the Central States, Texas, New York, Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, the Canyon Lands - and up the coast of Norway to the Russian border, various parts of Spain, walking in Portugal, looking at frescoes in Italy, seeing the lavender fields of Provence, sunning ourselves on Mediterranean islands. 

Now our long distance travelling has come to an end as my mobility has worsened.   We have our holidays in the UK and I sit a look at the scenery while the farmer has his long walks.

I look at the photographs of all the holidays I have had and get huge pleasure from the memories.   The farmer has gone back to his life of enjoying pottering around his fields.   He is just as happy as he ever was and if I ask him whether he would have travelled if we had not met he assures me he wouldn't have gone anywhere.

He is the only person I have ever met who is totally happy and contented within his own skin.   Within the bounds of his own stone walls and field boundaries, with his cattle, his thistles! and his neighbours there seems to be nothing more he wants.  How I envy him his completeness.   Horace's quote sums him up to perfection.

14 comments:

Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

Hi Pat,
Isn't Prince Edward Island something else? Such beauty and such friendly people.

You are fortunate, indeed, to have been blessed with a wandering spirit and to have actually wandered. Cool-O!

Have just loved your post today and your description of the farmer. Your love and admiration of each other and partnership with each other shines through.

Sending you just one exclamation point today, m & jb (Come see her latest picture if you want. I posted it yesterday.)

Joanne Noragon said...

Your farmer and my brother-in-law seem the same sort of man, although my brother-in-law, a Civil War buff, did spend a week walking Gettysburg. But that was enough.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

What a lovely post -and such a nice tribute to the farmer. I'm glad you've had the chance for so much travel and have so many wonderful memories.

donna baker said...

My husband exactly.

Nick said...

What a lucky man - and lucky to have you with him too I think.

Cloudia said...

Lovely essay, lovely lady ♥

Gwil W said...

Around the World in 80 Ways.

angryparsnip said...

I love to travel also. You have been to so many places.
Your description of the Farmer was lovely. And how lucky for each of you to have found such a wonderful life together.

cheers, parsnip

Heather said...

My husband has never been interested in foreign travel. We did manage a three day trip to France 40 years ago, and two weeks in Spain for medical reasons one November. I don't think he was very impressed with either but I enjoyed both. I had a lovely holiday on Rhodes with one of our daughters about 30 years ago and the holiday of a lifetime visiting Seattle, Salt Spring Island and the Rockies a few years later. I haven't the energy for foreign travel now but there are many places I would like to have seen.
How nice that the farmer is so content with his lot, and that you have all those wonderful memories of the fascinating places you have visited.

Cro Magnon said...

The Farmer sounds like me; I love where I am and have no real desire to travel. Lady Magnon, however, is a 'diplomatic daughter' and has never stopped travelling. The only thing I will probably regret is not visiting India, but I suppose there's still time.

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

I would rather stop at home. We go to Cornwall several times a year so that D. can fish, but I'd rather not. When he was seriously ill a few years ago he said that when he retired he would like to go sea fishing more often. In truth, neither of us expected that he would still be able, but he is, so who could gainsay him?

ArtPropelled said...

I love to travel but my husband doesn't...... unless he can fish. My dreams of overseas travel are diminishing.Fortunately I love going to the wild coast where he can fish to his heart's content and I can walk for miles.

Rachel said...

You should meet my P then you would know two men like this. I travel alone. Then we are both happy.

Karen Reittinger said...

I agree with Cloudia

Lovely essay, lovely lady ♥