A vindication of the rights of sloth
One day during my stay in Winchester with my friend Gilly, we indulged in the oft-maligned practice of the lazy day, and we definitely felt guilty. I don’t mean like, relaxing in the sun or whatever when you’re in Thailand; I mean wilfully shunning the sights and sounds of the barely explored outside world in order to watch The Breakfast Club and From Dusk Till Dawn on a projector screen in the dark while gormandising pizza, popcorn, wedges, chicken strips, sandwiches, Twixes, and hearty servings of chips, cheese and gravy.
I know, I know: I should’ve been out ogling the London Eye or frolicking in the verdant fields saying things like ‘Oh golly, would you look at that, top drawer!’ But we just didn’t feel like it, okay? No more, this ridiculous sense of guilt. In moderation, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of hedonism. It’s like at Splendour – I enjoyed myself ten times as much once I stopped worrying about going to see every single band just to get my money’s worth. Some of my best memories of that weekend are chilling out in the coconut hut or on the hill next to the pavilion where the John Steel Singers were playing. That kind of thing leaves you well-rested for the things you really want to see, and makes your activity more exciting by contrast. That’s one lesson learned for this trip. I want to see plenty of tourist attractions and monuments, but I’m not dragging myself to them out of a sense of duty, or out of a need to manufacture memories in front of them, that’s for sure.
We tried to make up for our indolence the next day by going to the New Forest and Durdle Door, but a car accident prevented that, so we went shopping instead. I got me an English coat!
We were more successful the next day when we went to this amazing open-air museum where they preserve houses and buildings from the twelfth century onwards.
On the way there we giggled over silly English town names, imagining how they could be made more hilarious by common English town name additions like ‘Little’, ‘Great’, and ‘-ton’ = (Little) Didling(ton) and (Great) Cocking (upon Sea).
So very, very mature.
They also had a duckpond which was frozen over, and a merry time was had by all when I chased the ducks onto the surface in order to watch them skid as they landed. Perhaps less fun was had by the ducks, I don’t know.
The lazy day has slothfully reared its lugubrious head a couple of times since then, and when it casts those doleful, docile eyes upon you, all you can do is bask in its gaze and try to enjoy indulging in some good old fashioned European ennui.
I am right with you on this one, Luke – indulge in your lazy days. Hey, we can all see the view from the London Eye if we google it – the trick is to hear the accents, drink the warm beer, ponder why they wear their underpants on their head… and reflect on why a country that is, as you say, so like ours, is so very very different.
Let us know when you have the answer to that one, please!
March 17, 2011 at 12:28 pm