I had a whole day of holiday – not just a day off, but a holiday. I left home in a leisurely manner. I bought a magazine, an expensive one. I read it on a train. I bought a hat, with an odd grey and pink tartan which goes with my wonderful pink Doc Martens. I had lunch with a friend. I went to the Scottish National Gallery, and among other things, looked once again at Ruben’s amazing ‘Feast of Herod’ and pondered its symbols. I came home on the train, and bought a cup of tea from the trolley.
But none of these, dear and good things as they were and very life-enhancing, were quite the point. The point was that, apart from the time for lunch (for which I was just nicely hungry there was NOTHING I had to do. I was free. Free for all the daylight hours. I could, if I wanted, suddenly and arbitrarily decide to walk into a bookshop and buy a book (I did) or go the long way round to a destination or anything. No constant need to be efficient, to get it done, to just press on, and not to take a break yet, but to get a bit more done first.
After a summer of almost constant pressure it was like – well, NOT like rain on dry ground, so much, I think, as like sun on soaking ground. I could feel myself expanding.