I’m back, and there’ll be at least two further posts over the course of today.
I spent most of the last week just alone in a chair, with my eyes closed, listening to the world go by. In Oxford, that sound consisted of the occasional bounce-tick of a passing bicycle, in Devon of waves breaking on the rocks. No mobile phone, no landline for that matter; no email, no internet. I missed none of it.
It’s the first time I’ve really stopped – if I can use the word in that completist fashion – for over twenty years. In my chair I could feel the pulse of my failure to do so knocking at my knuckles. wanting to turn into diabetes or angina. Message received. I shan’t be going back to my old routine.
I even ignored football while I was away, partly thanks to the Ryder Cup. (A fantastic tournament, only slightly tarnished by Radio 5’s childish, discriminatory commentary. Some people are just totally blind to themselves. I was reminded at times of Harry of Harry’s Place recent account of his trip to Florida, where he had discovered – apparently to his surprise – that Americans were not all obese, loud, parochial, stupid, obnoxious Jesus freaks. Had he ever thought that they were?)
Nevertheless, I did come across a couple of facts. They’re neither of them remotely important, but both helped my holiday along. Did you know that you can sing Philip Larkin’s late poem “Aubade” to the tune of Match of the Day? You can – but make sure you’re alone first.
And did you know that Sir Alf Ramsey was not eligible, technically, to act as England manager? He’d played football on a Sunday earlier in his career. At that time, the FA disapproved of Sunday football, and you were required to pay a sum of money to them to restore your status had you done so. This Alf neglected to do.