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Weekend walkies

3 August 2004

Iíve never much done the weekend thing, that sense of a time apart, a mini-holiday where you do things differently from the working week. Sometimes I share in other peopleís weekends, generally if Iím away from home, but I find it hard to make the distinction on my own account. I couldnít lock myself out of the office for two days out of seven, that would be perverse; and Sunday is often a good working day, and not to be wasted...

Actually, I used to hate Sundays. Twenty-five years ago (sheesh!), when I was a young writer, living off magazine work and dependent on the post. Hoping for a letter, an acceptance, a cheque: this was what got me out of bed every morning. Sundays, no post. And in those days no shops open, no Test cricket (rest day - aaargh!), it was a nightmare. And half a dozen times a year there was a bank holiday to follow, a Monday where all the same absences applied (well, except for the cricket), and those were worse. I must have been terrible to live with, I couldnít bear even living with myself, and most of the time I quite like me.

Anyway, Iím much better now, because the post has become almost meaningless to me; everything that matters is e-mail now, and that comes through even on Sundays. I like my Sundays now, though I still tend not to differentiate. I certainly donít have the day off.

Which is why itís quite nice occasionally to be able to look back at a weekend and think, ĎOh, hey, I had a proper weekend there, like what other people do...í On Saturday I did shopping, and I went to the library, and I went to the pub, and I went to a party. And then - as is becoming traditional - I woke up Sunday morning in my own bed with no memory whatsoever of how I got home; which on the whole I just shrug off these days, but this time itís a little perturbing, because the party was a dozen miles away and I certainly didnít walk it. Which means that either a friend gave me a lift or else someone poured me into a taxi, but in either case youíd really want to remember...

Anyway, I was sitting watching cricket Sunday morning (no rest days any more, hurrah!) and I suspect groaning gently when the phone rang. My defences were down, my always-feeble ability to say no was entirely paralysed; and so an hour later I was off with a friend to take his boy and their dog for a walk. We did the pub lunch thing, then drove out to the upper reaches of the river Tyne. Woods and water, sunshine, splashing: boy & dog got increasingly wet and foolish, while Simon and I were all middle-aged and mature. Sigh. And I at least was increasingly creaky - ooh, my back! - but perhaps less groany by the time they took me home. Heíd said fresh air would be good for me, and he was right, damn his eyes...

So there you have it: a party in town and a walk in the country, and what could be more weekendy than that? I decline to suggest that I have been invigorated for the week ahead, but I am at least back at work, thoí I think I would have been here anyway.

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© Chaz Brenchley 2004
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.