Thursday, 13 December 2018

Journey's End or journeys end?

Gill has a word for the state of mind you get as a trip draws to a close. She calls it 'endishness'. This is the view out of our living room window this morning.

Here's where we were a week ago - the last photo I took before we headed for the airport,  dawn over Malaga, soft pink to the west, golden in the east.

We travel for around five months of the year, usually in three 'installments'. It is difficult to connect our life at home with life on the road. It seems to me we live two separate existences alternating between them. Some people travel lomg term living in big motorhomes as their only residence. I cannot imagine doing that, it seems to me simply a different version of a settled existence - a gypsy life. I have concluded that what I like is to be slightly unsettled - at home dreaming of new places to go, travelling, but aware I have a home to return to. 

There are pactical reasons to do with house insurance why it is tricky for us to travel more than 90 days at a time. Actually, for us we think our limit is around 70 - 80 days (maybe Jules Verne thought so too!). As we move towards our limit my will to keep going begins to drop, I need a break. However, a week back, watching the Christmas Panto last night live from Westminster and this morning's weather forecast, it seems my tolerance for home-life is much shorter than that. We fly back on the 9th January, that is in 27 days time, that seeems about right.

Look at the forecast! Not just the cold and gloom, but the sinrise and sunset times in the bottom right corner - it's like living in Narnia.

Anyway, thoughts about travelling and staying put reminded me of the Auden poem - it seems very prescient to me, about where we are right now here in the UK.. The gaitered gamekeeper at the end, I see Rees Mogg in plus-fours, a highly disturbing thought.

There is no change of place

Who will endure
Heat of day and winter danger,
Journey from one place to another,
Nor be content to lie
Till evening upon headland over bay,
Between the land and sea
Or smoking wait till hour of food,
Leaning on chained-up gate
At edge of wood?

Metals run,
Burnished or rusty in the sun,
From town to town,
And signals all along are down;
Yet nothing passes
But envelopes between these places,
Snatched at the gate and panting read indoors,
And first spring flowers arriving smashed,
Disaster stammered over wires,
And pity flashed.
For should professional traveller come,
Asked at the fireside he is dumb,
Declining with a secret smile,
And all the while
Conjectures on our maps grow stranger
And threaten danger.

There is no change of place:
No one will ever know
For what conversion brilliant capital is waiting,
What ugly feast may village band be celebrating;
For no one goes
Further than railhead or the ends of piers,
Will neither go nor send his son
Further through foothills than the rotting stack
Where gaitered gamekeeper with dog and gun
Will shout ‘Turn back’.