I discovered Tennyson at a tender point in my vulnerable teenage years. I have never been able to let go of his baklava-like layer upon layer of dense Victorian word-wallowing in the other-world of “fain” and “o’er” and “thro'”. A line that sometimes comes back to me at this time of year is from “The Princess”, published in 1847, describing how “babies rolled about like tumbled fruit in grass” just like these big Bramley apples falling from our tree this week. It reminds me to go and read his poems again.
While pruning an archive of digital photographs I notice I have taken too many pictures of enticing paths. This one is in North Yorkshire. The image makes me think of faith, hope and charity. Faith, because when you set out on a path, even with a guide, ordnance survey map and gps, there’s still a chance that you might take a wrong turning, or a fallen tree or flooded stream might hinder or prevent you from your reaching your destination, or worse – you might not make the tea shop before it closes – but nevertheless you take the risk and walk on. Hope, because you don’t know what is beyond the furthest point you can see but your belief that it will lead somewhere draws you forward. Charity, in the sense of love thy neighbour, because I find that the most fruitful walks are not walked alone, and an eccentric person in a walking group adds salt to the flavour of ambulant conversations. I think I will add Curiosity as the fourth corner of the frame of this philosophy of life because did any of us get where we are today by not wondering what was just out of sight around the next bend?
Here is a perfect day: immerse self in enticing new fiction on the train; meet friend at London’s Design Museum; view exhibition; lunch at their Blueprint Cafe (featuring designed coffee, above); take an architectural stroll; briefly home in on one or two pre-targeted shop departments; back on the train with a tense Scandinavian crime thriller.