Sunday, February 17, 2013

I’m in training

Yesterday, after 5 months, I finally finished reading Jasper Fforde’s ‘The Eyre Affair’. The average person would read its 360 or so witty pages in a week, I’d guess. But then, I’m not ‘average’ – I must have been born in Lake Wobegon, where “All the men are strong, all the women are pretty and all the children are above average” – says Garrison Keeler in ‘A Prairie Home Companion’. I love listening to that program on PBS Radio; you may like it too – here’s a link:

I digressed, as I often do!  The point about finishing the novel was not about finishing the novel – but about the manner in which it was accomplished. The final 40 pages were read in sunny, but chilly, weather on my front porch. It was a lot chillier than earlier in the week when I read a couple of dozen pages in the same setting. What drove me on in spite of the piercing breeze and numbed fingers – difficult to turn pages with gloves on – was that 'I am in training'.

"In training?  For what?" you may ask. As I sipped on a glass (or two) of port wine and nibbled mouse-like on an extra-large lump of extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, face to the stinging wind, I was thinking of doing the very same thing in a couple of weeks time. Well, the ‘very same’ - with some ‘very different’ nuances. First, I would not be reading that same book; this time it would Fforde’s second Thursday Next’ novel – ‘Lost in a Good Book’. Next, (no pun intended) I would not be sat on my porch, at a location approximately Longitude 89 West and Latitude 34 N, but something a lot closer to Longitude 4 West and Latitude 51 North – somewhere along the Gower Coast in Wales - watching the waves pounding the rocks.  I will have to walk a mile or two to enjoy that experience, but fortified with wine and cheese in my back-pack, it will be well worth it. The training of which I spoke was: turning pages of a book, opening the bottle of port and extracting the cheese from its container - with gloves on! 

I have already travelled (courtesy of ‘FirstCymru’ buses and ‘Google Maps’) the various bus routes and cliff-walks that I am anxious to take. A stop or two at some of Gower's famous pubs on the way will have me transported back to the late ‘50s quicker than if a Tardis were available. Garrison Keeler likes to take people from the hustle and bustle of city-life in Minneapolis-St Paul to the simpler times and places of the rural Minnesota country-town of Lake Wobegon. Something about that prospect warms me – despite the cold breeze I anticipate.

See you soon, Gower Coastline. Iechyd da!  (Welsh for Good health!)

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