Wednesday, July 11, 2007

11th July 2007-07-11
In the taxi on the way from the boatyard to the railway station I asked the driver how long it would take him to drive us to Stratford. “Twenty five quid” he said hopefully. No, I said, how long?
“About half an hour”, he said.
Maybe I should have told him we had just taken a narrow boat to Stratford and back (with a detour via Birmingham) and it had taken ten days.
In the last weeks of her illness, Susie had thought of a business idea called “Slow travel”. (The tumour did not directly attack the brain cells, apparently. It preferred the connecting cells. So that on bad days her brain was like a giant wheel, ceaselessly turning, turning, without connection to anything else at all. And with nothing to stop it). The idea of her business (and it really was a good one) was that she would establish a firm that would enable people to travel slowly to their destinations: so that the journey would become an end and a source of pleasure in itself.
Maybe she was thinking of narrowboat travel: It was certainly something she knew and loved.

You can’t travel any faster than about 4mph, and so you feel part of the landscape, which can at times be overwhelmingly beautiful.
And you’re part of that landscape, especially if you’re steering: your mind can’t wander away to worries or concerns, because before you know it your boat has run aground or is bumping against the bank, or even more brutally against a bridgehole.
You have to pay attention.
It’s a relaxed, yet focussed attention that helps you be more aware.

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