I think this all needs some perspective. Two serendipitous occurrences have made me a little humble. First I took the photo below the other day. We’re almost three months in and at the very beginning of this in July I lay on my back on a stone and metal bench a short distance from Jen’s in the main shopping prescient in Bradley Stoke, held onto Cassie’s lead (whilst C and Jen went and did some shopping), slid my hat over my eyes and relaxed. The photo, which Jen took and is now one of the rotating header shots, paints the picture. A man winding down a bit. A couple of days ago, in exactly the same disposition but with a slightly cooler wind, I took the photo (not Jen) – looking upwards. If you focus closely enough you should be able to pick out an Easyjet flight jet streaming its way to some out of the way airport purportedly furnishing a major city or other which the tourists will need a hefty taxi ride to get to.
Second my brother put me on to Gunther, Christine and Otto, an addendum to the BBC news found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-29521102. You must visit this page, if nothing else to gawp at the photos; they tell the story well enough. If you have the time read the whole thing. But if you haven’t got time, in short: Gunther, an ex-Lufthansa pilot, has navigated Otto, his china blue Mercedes G Wagon, round the world over a twenty six year period. A bit like Henry VIII he’s been through a number of wives and mistresses to achieve his aim, and sadly most of his journey was with a younger Christine who died before the end of the trip. But he ploughed on and eventually made it to 179 out of 195 UN recognised countries. He didn’t start until semi retirement, so about my age, although Christine (his fourth wife) was twenty years younger – C and I are still on our first marriage, so we’ve got some catching up to do there. It is an inspirational story, certainly to me.
So how do these two events come together? I guess there’s a metaphorical connection between the unending, wide open space that is the sky with the tiny tourists making their cosseted way across the world, and a man with a mission – to fully explore this space with all its complexities and difficulties, come what may. Adventure versus comfort. Difficulty against easy. Traveller as opposed to tourist. But for me, above all, it’s about living not just surviving. Don’t worry (I think I’m talking to myself) we’re not going to follow Gunther, Otto and his women and tick off every country in the world. But we must (must) use this opportunity to explore ourselves, our lives, our small world – even if that just remains within the confines of Europe. I would argue, having taken the plunge, we owe it to everyone we know to make the best out of the Stage 3; to explore, engulf and enlighten. We should be shot if we don’t. And I’ll hold you to that.
Anyhow. Back down to planet Godalming. We had a good day at Mary’s. We did some foraging for the party at Sainsbury’s, C and I cooked some stuff (including slightly smaller than necessary profiteroles), I went for a run and, whilst C was practising some more for next year’s Bake Off, I pulled together supper and Jen and Mary did some further prep for the party. It was all v domesticated.
You’ll be pleased to hear that my phone is still the bees knees, but I haven’t really put my camera to the test. There will be plenty of time for that. And to finish, when we were out walking Cassie yesterday, the phone picked up ‘all available wifi’; we were somewhere in the woods at that point. There were a couple of locked home sources and one BT Fon, which I didn’t try and connect to. A fourth one was named ‘MI5 mobile surveillance van’, which I thought was a brilliant name for a home network. Unless…
Have a good weekend.