Urban Living

I'm in London.
Sarf London to be precise: Earlsfield.  It's where all the white South Africans now live.

Maria and I have been house-sitting for Mark & Katie Sampson for a week, killing a bit of time before we move to Truro (on Saturday!), and seeing our urban friends.  She is more happy in a big city than me – it makes my head swim the way the city just goes on and on and on – but it's been a nice week.  Maybe being summer helps.

Things we've done:
Borough Market:
 - always fantastic, especially when you're hungry and in need of a few free samples.

Hannah & Daniel:
 - we see them every chance we get, with good reason.  Baked camembert was a bonus.

Free Tickets:
 - the lovely Joshua Jost managed to wangle us seats to see Hair at the Gielgud 🙂

Dee & Hye-Young:
 - so much encouragement squeezed into two people.  And Jaimie is GORGEOUS.

 - England through, USA through; France and Italy out!!

Maria buzzed off to Edinburgh yesterday, leaving me to sweat it out in solitude for a couple of days.  This afternoon I went for a big long walk (about 7 miles – 2 and a half hours) over Wandsworth Bridge, along to Putney Bridge and then back to Earlsfield.  I celebrated with a cracking all-day breakfast for £3.80 – enough for two meals.  You don't get many greasy spoon cafes as good as that one.

A good upbringing

Sometimes, I forget that other people have not had the advantages I have.


They've never experienced Michael Hordern reading the Chronicles of Narnia, never heard Hancock's Half Hour, never been carried through a long car journey by Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter Wimsey.  Sherlock Holmes isn't Clive Merrison to them, Ian Holm is Bilbo rather than Frodo, and Alan Bennett is some playwright rather than the voice of Eeyore/Pooh/Piglet etc.

Poor people.  Poor, poor people.

 A great example:  Treebeard singing [from 3:50ish].  People need to hear this stuff!

There is another side, of course.  Many people have had advantages that I have not.  And not just in terms of radio dramas either.  But I am very grateful to my parents for the imaginative world in which I was raised.

So I was reading this thing in the Church Times …

 … but before I continue,
I should point out that I am fully aware what this makes me sound like, okay?

But there I was, reading a little thing by Ronald Blythe (or 'Ronnie', as those of us in the know like to call him), who was musing over the need to be slow – or at least to be less concerned about the ticking clock and the pre-prepared schedule; especially in relation to the daydreaming which can only successfully accomplished when time is not in a hurry.

River otter 

He made a point which I'm not sure he meant to make.  He was talking about Thomas Hardy, asking whether he would have become 'our greatest rural novelist' if he hadn't been stuck in church without much to do except look at the girls and imagine the lives of those people named on memorials.

He was meaning, "Keep things slow; it gives you time to reflect," but the message I received was, "Church needs to be boring, because it stimulates our imagination."


I've just been reading a book about the Beatles, which mentions that, as a choirboy, John Lennon would regularly count and recount the panes of glass in the church windows, so tedious and long-winded was his vicar.  Man, I've done that so many times!  But now, when bored in church, I rarely even realise that I am, since I'm so well-trained in releasing the whims of my imagination.

Church trained me to be an artist, when it thought it was doing its job worst.

So today, in response, I've been attempting to do things slowly, if I have to do them at all: I've walked a good 4 or 5 miles, played with my niece, had lunch, napped, read a bit, walked in the garden.  I can't say that I'm having some kind of great revelation, but maybe I'm training myself to.

Ivy bathtime