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Sunday, 1 August 2021

Doing without flying buttresses

There are those who say that watching France's Tour de
France on telly is hardly a cultural event. Most members of 
my family would prefer such dullards slung their hook

Holidays: Final tranche.

Must one “do” things on holiday? May one do nothing and yet remain unguilty?

Neither VR nor I are in the best of health these days. Few people are in their eighties. God knows about the nineties.

We did get about a bit but mainly as passengers. Back at the two luxurious villas we moved through the well-upholstered premises, revelling in the space and an environment that differed from our home four hours down the road. VR read and read, I experimented with a cheap tablet as a portable medium for writing my new novel, Threesome – conceivably at some future holiday, if and when.

We moved to an outdoor arbour and were served meals prepared – willingly, enthusiastically and imaginatively – by our offspring. We ate out, at least eight times. Drink was consumed but mainly by others.

No ancient churches were visited, no historical discourses initiated. These are in any case not my preferences. As in France I took every opportunity to engage the locals in conversation that sought not to be banal. It is the only one of my activities that might qualify as cultural. Writing fiction consists of merely giving in to a compulsion

Previously I have rejected the notion that time can be wasted. The mind is always at work even during the most lethargic of periods. TV news often merely skims the surface of events, yet it may act as a trigger to silent ratiocination. And the choice of obscure multi-syllabic words.

Hand on heart I can say I returned home in a mildly improved state. On holiday I had thought about serious and portentous matters. Even the structure and tone of this post. Perhaps I’m a shadow of what I was, but shadows are vital to most successful paintings.

13 comments:

  1. I'm glad to hear that (you think) time is not wasted in periods of non activity. I will try to encompass that but I doubt if I will overcome that far too ingrained feeling of guilt you refer to.

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    1. Sir Hugh: Your supposition needs correcting, adding in the adjective: "non physical activity". Then you need to consider - objectively - what has passed through your mind during the sloughing period. Looking for ways it might be expanded. In fact, these processes happen more or less automatically.

      If you continue to feel guilty, consider how you might have spent the time more productvely. By which I mean mentally not physically. In particular tackle subjects you would would otherwise have avoided.

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  2. I like knowing that time cannot be wasted. I won't feel so bad when I sit on the couch for hours doing absolutely nothing but contemplating the outcome of this pandemic.

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    1. robin andrea: Sounds fine to me. Why should you feel bad about thinking about anything? If you do, try and refine your thoughts about the pandemic. Apply Kipling's Five Great Friends: Who? What? When? Why? Where?

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  3. Cycling, YES. The Olymics brought some interesting, and (to many), gratifying surprises. The "theft" of the women's road race by an amateur, mathematics professor. Roglic, the seemingly very amiable former ski jumper in the men's TT... and outside of cycling, the stunning upset, by a Tunisian of the US and Australia in the 400M men's freestyle swim final.

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    Replies
    1. MikeM: Perhaps too amiable. Last year Poglich was leading the TdF right up to the final stage, a time trial, when Pogacar blew him away. And then Pogacar, early on, turned the 2021 TdF into something of a procession, gapping the field by 5 min. O'Connor (Australia), of whom I'd never heard, briefly shone then faded - albeit to fourth which was pretty good.

      I fear I'm not following the Olympics too closely. Anti-biotics dominate my primary thoughts.

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  4. Holidays are surely the time to renounce that Victorian guilt about doing nothing. At home it seems impossible to lie in the sun for any length of time without jumping up to attend to some task or other. On holiday I can lie back and do nothing for hours! Time out, space, is a necessary balance to action, essential for good art, music and life.

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    1. Garden: It's all that gardening. You live in a different world, one I have conceded to a paid gardener, thirty years younger than me. He reported progress by email as I sloughed in Wales. An admirable impetus to mind-wandering.

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  5. Hope you are at the end of your antibiotics now and feeling like singing...

    I'm afraid that a great deal of what writers do looks rather lazy from the outside. Nevertheless, enjoy that daytime dreaming, on holiday or not.

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    1. Marly: Most people regard writers as lollygaggers and it is true that for long periods the keyboard remains silent, doesn't click. But writer-critics should if poss examine a writer's face, note the sense of strain, the imminent conviction of this-time-it-isn't-going-to-happen.

      I am now on a new and more powerful course of antibiotics and feel some progress. Amazing; my most recent singing lesson, yesterday, was a raging success. The timbre was sustained and - because I'd forgotten to acquire a new score of Brahms' Die Mainacht (The May evening) - I was subjected to a much more rigorous tutorial without the normal visual aid of musical notation. V was disposed to comment: "Well done, you." This as as an invalid!

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  6. As a student athlete I’m always on the grind at basketball practice and I’ve been really short on time all through high school. I usually order a research paper or English essay here and there. The website is called WritePaper.Info and they really help me out, man. Don’t know where I’d be without it.

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  7. I just returned from a similar vacation, one filled with lots of time and family. I played a lot of solitaire. With actual cards. I'm happy to hear you are feeling a bit better.

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  8. Mary Reising: I'm a solitaire maniac too. But only because I am able to let the mobile do the shuffling and the dealing. I tell myself I'm shortening the response time between my brain and my fingers. 2m 10sec is about my best time.

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