From Cricklewood… to here (464)
by Max Akroyd
Yesterday I started the journey home after one of my regular visits to the UK. Travelling from Alton to Luton Airport by train gave me a number of opportunities I don’t normally have these days. For example, I could observe hundreds of new people. That doesn’t happen much in a field in Brittany. In fact, trying to read all those new faces, to guess at their motives, sets a brain more used to second-guessing pigs into a fizzing overdrive. After a while, though, they just become a strange parade of humanity unhappily trussed-up in suits for the long, grey day ahead.
Thus dulled, I could manage to do nothing and think a lot. By contrast rural idiocy is, I’ve discovered, perpetually and relentlessly busy. Unlike an office job where there are barren acres of time doing nothing significant, the demands on a smallholder are constant. Rain, illness, meteor strike… nothing shortens the list of must do jobs. By the time we were passing through Clapham Junction my ‘to do’ list had already filled two sides of A5 paper in my tiny scrawl. The page was entitled: ‘jobs to do in March’. I had writer’s cramp by Cricklewood.
Later, from the wind buffeted vantage point of the aeroplane window, I could see a sunlit Finistère far below through the rushing clouds. It looked like a remote, windswept Atlantic island – which, to all intents and purposes, it is. Growing anything down there must be difficult…
So here I am. The rain is pounding on the roof. I’m surrounded by seeds that need sowing, animals that need mucking out and our two youngest children have a rain-washed half term holiday to contend with. March – the now or never month – is approaching fast. My welcome home.