We were given a poignant reminder this week of the need to seize the day, make the most of your time, do interesting things and stop faffing about in general.
And though faffing about is pleasant – we do a lot of it, so we should know – it is all too easy to see days and even weeks slip past with not much new stuff happening.
The man of the house saves the world by giving all sorts of leaders the benefit of his wisdom whether they want it or not, and I do Oxfam bookshop things.
But, I thought, this weekend we will go somewhere and do something.
Unaccustomed as we are at doing this, and being a woman who feels the wisdom of crowds is always a good thing, I took the issue to the pub crowd. (Well, when I say crowd there were eight of us, and three dogs who didn’t play much part in the discussion.)
(It was very nice to sit around in the pub garden and drink wine, eat chips and generally enjoy the Friday evening.)
Now, one of the benefits of being us is that we can do things in the week and out of school holidays but being a woman of instant enthusiasms and no power to defer any gratification, I said we had to do something tomorrow – Saturday.
Our friends reminded us that the plans we had to go to Romsey – never been there, sounds interesting, indeed go to anywhere which involved the A27 (a lot of Sussex), was bad news on a nice June Saturday.
Likewise, a long deferred plan to go to the V&A as I haven’t been there in a while, the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.
I was up at 5am, listening to the ever amazing dawn chorus in our garden – if I knew how to embed a sound clip in this blog, I would let you hear it – and I found that in the Test Valley there are guided tours around the place where they make Bombay Sapphire gin and apparently it is really interesting.
The man, woken up at 6am with the exciting news that he could go to a gin distillery that morning, was less enthusiastic.
Not that he balks at a nice G&T but thinking about it at 6am didn’t seem to work.
OK, I said, we can go to the craft and design fair at West Dean and in a desperate bid to avoid anything so horrendous as shopping, he declared he wanted to go for a long walk and a pub lunch.
(Though we are knee-deep in nice country pubs round here, we never do that.)
So, I said yes and then we set off – after a quick trip into the local auction house to see what was available to re-upholster but that is another story.
The man planned a walk which involved a nice route through the quiet country lanes to car park from which you could climb up a part of the South Downs, do a circular round and then head back down for lunch in a nearby pub.
Not exactly seizing the day in terms of planning to sell up and drive to Katmandu or give up a nice life in deepest Sussex to teach English in rural Chad, or even go to New York for the weekend, but still…
Remember the quiet, lovely Sussex lanes? Well in about six miles of such lanes we met say 25 on-coming cars, each requiring a stop and back up – not least because our car is nowhere near as nice as all those on-coming 4x4s or Audis or BMWs and therefore had to tug its forelock and throw itself into the ditch.
Several miles of this was really quite wearing and we ended up rather snappish towards the on-coming vehicles. We thought there must have been something going on to cause that much traffic but we had no idea what.
That was until we got to the main road and set off to the car park.
There were all these people around and as I turned right into what turned out to be a farm track rather than the entrance to the car park, we realised we had joined the South Downs Marathon.
I had to drive up this track to find somewhere to turn round. I crept up it. I was not going to bully someone who was running 26 miles up hill and down dale into moving over for my (not even posh) car.
Then I had to turn round and drive back, and I am pretty sure that if the people who were having to get to the side of the track had the energy to waste on irritation, they would have been pretty irritated.
The man was meanwhile scanning the map looking for an alternative and he found one, so we drove on and parked in a nice local village and set off on what he said would be a shorter walk but there was a pub so we could still do what we had planned.
About 100 metres from the car, we hit a field full of large and interested looking bullocks.
Call me a wimp, but I was not walking through that field with a dog.
Back we went, and he found another (yet another,) walk and we drove a bit and parked and set off.
Levin Down it is called, should you want to go there, and it was managed by Sussex Wildlife Trust and was lovely with all sorts of wildflowers.
All going well and dog was bounding about, until we got to the point where there was yet another field of bullocks.
Admittedly, they looked placid enough but I am not that easily convinced.
So we undid the two rusty gates to allow us to walk the other side of the barbed wire crested fence and hoped we could re-join the path later on.
Actually, the path sign said we should be on that side of the fence but the farmer had other ideas.
At the end of the field, there were the signs that other people had been facing the same dilemma as us and had made (who knows how successfully) efforts to get over the barbed wire and head on.
The man and dog were more gung ho than me.
We went back.
So, we went to the local pub and had a reasonably nice lunch, came home and I did the ironing and the man mowed the lawn.
We didn’t so much seize the day as limply shook its hand, but it is a start.