Tag: nature

thing 37: ‘a delightful weekend in the country’: going on holiday (not by mistake), part (ii)

The ‘Yikes’ moment: when Shaggy and Scoob have been running so fast, legs ablur, that they don’t notice they’ve gone off the edge of the cliff—then realise and, with a wail, start plummeting. I love that: it captures an emotional experience I recognise. But, oh dear. If I’m giving existential readings of cartoons, maybe (more…)

thing 37: ‘a delightful weekend in the country’: going on holiday (not by mistake), part (i)

Okay, so it’s not exactly the country. And it’s not a weekend, more of a week. Well, 5½ days. But there hasn’t been nearly enough Uncle Monty here at wtak; and besides, I was definitely starting to drift into the arena of the unwell—too much work, too many difficult things going on. So it was time to stop. Or go, then stop. So off I went.

For me, holidaying alone—I love the slightly quaint feel of “holiday” as a verb—can be a tricky undertaking, both in the conceiving and in the doing thereof. I can well see that a few days away, alone, might (more…)

thing 29: ‘one person, and they’re talking to you’: a radio interview

A few years ago I was interviewed in a sort of rent-a-therapist slot on Radio Cumbria; they wanted someone in the biz to say something vaguely intelligent for a “dealing with difficult events” programme. Getting the phone call from some BBC gofer I’d thought it was a wind-up, but there I was, about an hour later, sitting in my study being invited to pronounce on a variety of things down the telephone—and live on air. Surreal. ‘Ah yes, (more…)

thing 28: ‘into the new place out of the blue’: a tale of two bridges

Unknown territory, of which I could definitely say there be dragons. I was going to Wales.

On my only previous visit I’d toiled up Snowdon in a whiteout (cloud, not snow), been put out to discover that some entirely able-bodied people had taken the train up (I mean, really) and then, that evening, shared with Susie a quantity of intoxicants sufficient to leave us spending what felt like hours in front of the telly, watching in a state of rapture the finest programme ever produced. When the credits rolled I don’t know if we were more disturbed to (more…)

thing 25: ‘swimming with the fishes’: sun, speedboat, snorkel

Yes, I know it means dead in Godfather-speak. But it’s what makes snorkelling different from swimming: that you can see you’re swimming with the fishes. So I’m going to call thing 25 that anyway.

Crete, early September. Still around 30 degrees; sea deliciously warm, sky a cloudless forget-me-not blue. We’re towards the end of a two-week stay and unfortunately, because of some health problems (which aren’t mine and must therefore remain private) quite a lot of it has been pretty bad—a debilitating medley of stress, heartbreak, fury, frustration, exhaustion, helplessness… It’s all gone on for years and most of the time I just get my phlegm on, so to speak, and “deal”, but lately I seem to be finding it harder to do so—or perhaps am less willing. Here I am in a lovely place, on holiday and in sore need of relaxation and refreshment. Instead I find myself howling tears of desperation in the middle of tourist-crowded street while people try to sell me lunch, leather goods and windchimes made of shells. More Mike Leigh than Francis Ford Coppola (and  (more…)