I really loved the following piece. It’s a little Lennon-esque in a way, e.g. Life is what happens when you’re making other plans. Or as has been expressed by others, life happens in the little moments that aren’t really as empty as they seem. I’m keeping this in mind for when I feel I have nothing to write in my journal.
Life can be boring if you try hard enough.
I had nothing planned and the weather was fine, so I went out for a walk to see if anything interesting was happening, but nothing was. Had I really achieved the impossible and found a day so boring that I would have nothing to write about? Surely not, but it was worth trying!
Instead of my usual walk by the River Deben near my home I used my old age pensioners bus pass to go into the county town of Ipswich, and from there got another bus across the River Orwell for the journey down the Shotley peninsula to the mouth of the Stour where it meets the Orwell in Harwich harbour. Nothing worth writing about because there was nothing to see on the way except green fields bordering a tree-lined river with white-sailed yachts reflecting in the water and gulls soaring overhead against a deep blue sky with powder-puff clouds.
At high tide in Harwich harbour there was not a ripple on the water. Six swans sat motionless in line-astern formation about 50 metres from the shore, watched by a lone cormorant perched on the top of a tall mooring post. They made an excellent subject for a picture, but as I reached for my camera in my shoulder bag they suddenly took off and flew over my head, in line-abreast formation this time, reminding me of a squadron of Spitfires scrambling for action in the Battle of Britain.
Having missed this photo opportunity I decided to drown my sorrows in ‘The Shipwreck’ club house at the yacht marina, and cheered up somewhat when I found that they served ‘Spitfire’ real ale – my favourite – brewed in Kent, where the real Spitfires saw action during the Battle of Britain, of which I was a spectator from my parents’ garden. Kentish ale is not widely available outside its home county, so I was lucky to find it here.
I had the privilege of serving at the famous Kent fighter station at Biggin Hill shortly after the war. Much to my dismay the Spitfires took off for the last time on the day I arrived there, and I spent my time there working with those new-fangled flying machines, Meteor jet fighters. Now, even they are history.
Shotley is in Suffolk, just across the water from Essex, and Kent is still further south, across the Thames. It’s all rivers on the east coast and I love it here. Perhaps I’m easily satisfied, however boring it may be.
After finishing my drink and watching two more giant Chinese container ships coming into the Port of Felixstowe, with goods that would once have been made in the now-closed mills and factories of the industrial north of England, I had an hour’s walk along the river bank before getting back to the bus stop for my journey home, stopping off in Ipswich on the way for a late lunch.
I finally arrived home at dusk, pleasantly tired after my walk but happy with my time out in the fresh air and sunshine on a bright November day when nothing happened.
And that is why I will not be writing a column today.
Life can be boring if you try hard enough, can’t it? I sometimes wonder , if I try REALLY hard, will it cure me of this urge to write?
I doubt it, but I’ll keep trying anyway.
© Arthur Loosley