Thursday, July 21, 2011

the less travelled

Just had a phone call from Son - somewhere in the middle of a rain forest (Trinidad) - on low battery. Bless the boy, but it's lovely to hear from him, and at least his companion has battery. Ridiculous that I should be thinking this way (in India he was in the desert on low battery), but now that they are with us, the mobiles, even a day trip to Bognor would probably feel risky on low battery. Because what if -

I am not well-travelled, and twenty-five plus years of chronic illness has made me cautious about any kind of journey. I am trying to remember what I dreamed of doing when I was little. I don't think that travelling was a motif. In my teens I wanted to be somewhere wild and remote, and self-sufficient, but with a red enamel kettle and wooden kitchen utensils. Well, I have partially achieved that - hardly anyone has heard of or knows where Edge-on-the-Weald is, and it is (after a fashion) pretty wild. I have the wooden utensils. The red enamel kettle, though, is missing. I have a serviceable electric one.

When Son was little he said to me that he wished Mr. Signs were an explorer: because then I could go with him on his journeys. We talked about what he wanted to be when he grew up: an astronaut, a train driver, a farmer; and he wanted to travel - to Australia, Greenland, Canada and Scotland.
He wondered: what had I, as a child, wanted to be when I grew up? One of my answers would most certainly have been a ballerina - why, I can't think because when my aunt took me to see Swan Lake (Rudolf Nureyev, Margot Fonteyn), I was bored. It was probably the standing on points, and the illusion of weightlessness; the fact that I had always wanted to be able to fly.

When Daddy was little, did he want to be a person who worked in a office?

I remember the question, but not what I answered. I told Mr. Signs about it. How we laughed!