Friday, 29 April 2011

The last day of April

I was woken today by an agonizing cramp in my right hamstring. For three, admittedly large, muscles, they caused a tremendous amount of pain and the reflexive straightening of my leg seemed initially not to help. Then sitting up, the pain receded. It seems an unpleasant and ill-conceived muscular mechanism and is disproportionately painful. Nevertheless, it was what ushered in the day for me.

A tiny sliver of golden orange could be seen on a part of the wall where I don't normally see sunlight. The acute triangle left by the overhang of the curtains admitted entry to this reminder of how advanced the year has become so far. Tomorrow it will be May and I am very far behind on my planting! No chillies or broccoli have even been sown yet. How remiss of me.

But it is not for want of time: This long break of twelve days cost me a mere four in holiday allocation. How provident that the Easter break, Royal Wedding and may day bank holiday should converge so!

I managed to avoid yesterday's royal wedding. Whilst I am glad that pomp and military splendidness can be seen in abundance at such occasions, I cannot be swept along with the euphoria at two people who are of no consequence to me getting married a hundred miles away. The very notion of royalty asserts that by birth alone, some people are more worthy than others. I may choose to rescue my relatives from a fire ahead of those with whom I have no connection, because this is human and driven by genetic imperatives which manifest as emotions. But i have no such connection to distant characters who due to historical circumstance, are priveliged to enjoy an exalted position in society, regardless of their true intrinsic worth. To argue they remain symbolic figureheads begs the question: "Of what exactly?"

Anyway, I do not wish to rant about my innate vaguely socialist leanings. I got a day off and it was rather a nice day, despite the weather forecast. Many had parties and the pubs seemed full of happy revellers.

The weather has been largely gorgeous, if a little cool of late. No rain of significance has fallen for weeks, if not months and the pond is becoming a valuable watering hole for the local fauna.
But sometimes, as the evening draws in and the fragrance of Summer hangs suggestively in the evening air, I feel a longing. My garden is beautiful. It is beautifully and cleverly designed and planted with well chosen and placed flora which have grown, as planned, into a place which takes on a magical air on a warm Summer's eve.
But sometimes, the sound of the birds, the scent and the solitude are inadequate and I wish somehow there could be a group of happy companions with which to share it. The vague sound of the television from the part open patio doors hints at presence nearby, but to be able to laugh tipsily, comment on the smell of the night air, to look up and discuss the constellations and have opinions and thoughts volunteered would fill the hole that occasionally opens up in my satisfaction.
To call round on a sunny morning and say to a number of people "Uphill Beach! Three O'clock! Bring a picnic!" and to spend the end of a day in merriment or quiet contemplation with like-minded souls would just provide a vital nutrient to the soul that I feel is missing.

I get the sense that, slumped in armchairs all over the land, many people must feel the same and I wonder at the lassitude, inertia and isolation that prevents this kind of thing from happening. Many people profess to feel lonely and yet few seem able to galvanise themselves to leave the comfort of the living room and TV to join with others for sociable passtimes. Is this a malaise of our age or was it always so? I cannot say.
Ok, perhaps the weather has some small part to play. It is difficult to say "Ok, let's meet in the park on Sunday afternoon for a big picnic" because it takes planning to know everyone is free. The necessary number of days' notice, to check diaries, can be a period in which a forecast of warm sunshine can become "chance of thundery showers" and picnics in the rain are not really desirable.
But I wonder if underlying that is a sense of fear of rejection: We do not call to ask because we fear we may be overridden by some more desirable activity or companions and thus may find ourselves less attractive company than that which we are declined for. And so the phone stays in its cradle and once again, we sit with a bottle of wine in front of the telly wishing we had some occasion to go out to.

Since I began writing this, the still morning sunrise has become an overcast day with a brisk north-westerly with a brighter side to the East. My fear of squandering a precious sunny day is now relieved and my list of domestic tasks reappears with no sense of anxiety at opportunities missed.
Perhaps today, my chillies will finally get planted.