Sunday, 25 April 2010

We have no time

I was listening to a report on the radio this morning about the people who have been stranded because of the no flying rule, and the long overland treks they have had to make to get home. From the reports in the press it appears that a lot of people have suffered horrendously complicated journeys taking much longer than the quick flight they had originally intended. Stories of running out of money, with nowhere to sleep, stranded miles from home, seem like the stuff of nightmares.

But now it emerges that some people have found the experience of travelling great distances overland, a very enlightening and exciting adventure. Their epic journey will be a talking point down at their local pub for quite some time, long after the rest of their holiday will be forgotten. This has planted the seed that they may be missing out on many more adventures if they install themselves into a metal bird, and sleep all the way to their destination.

The report mentioned that some people had returned to the UK on a container ship, and went on to interview a couple who discovered this mode of transport many years ago. They have taken many holidays on these huge floating warehouses, and the excitement for them was never being certain that the boat was actually going to reach it's scheduled destination. They said the crews were usually made up of all nationalities, and because there were so few passengers they were treated like VIP's. Even being allowed access to the bridge at any time, a treat they enjoyed at night. Their enthusiasm for their particular choice of transport meant that they had lots of time to explore places that they would have otherwise never seen if they had been flying.

Years ago when I was working, getting from A to B by the quickest route was paramount. Places were measured in 'how long to get there' rather than 'how far away is it'. I lived life in the fast lane, literally. Foot flat to the floor and go like stink. My concentration on the road ahead was finely tuned, so much so that I didn't notice things along the way that might be interesting. I had no time.

Now I do have time. I recognised a few years ago that I was spending too much time earning a living. Too much time worrying about money, it had to stop. I wanted to get off that fast jet plane and take the meandering cruise ship. Now I can stop off and see places that I never had time for before. This poem is very true. . . . . .

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?

No time to stand beneath the bows,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night,

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance,

No time to wait till her mouth can,
Enrich that smile her eyes began,

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

W.H. Davies


  1. i love this poem, I remember reading it when i was decidin to go part time so i could spend more time with my children, I just did not want to be working every hour teaching other peoples kids watchign them grow and not being able to do that with my own.

  2. You are on the nail Ilona, I am a sales rep who travels to lots of towns and cities - I only see the inside of the building I am visiting, so I know I'm missing out on a lot.

  3. So agree with you Ilona. We stepped off the roundabout, so to speak, about 6 years ago - in fact we'd put all our plans in place for the end of the school year 2004 but everything was accelerated when husband was diagnosed with a heart problem in March 2004 and told to stop work immediately, so in a sense we were just in time to avert disaster. We live rather hand-to-mouth, but we have been much happier. We now have husband's mother (91) to care for so are lives are less free than they were as we are now a bit trapped by a different sort of routine - rather more time to stand and stare than we'd like as it's difficult to get out. Still it won't go on like this for ever - only till she's about 106, I expect (many of her family have lived well into their hundreds!). We maintain a sense of humour at least.

  4. Like your sense of humour Jee, I am rather tied with my cats, but we can't shirk our responsibilities. Besides I'm sure your mum loves you just like my cats love me, well they are happy when there is food offered :o)

    Samfan, your day will come, in the meantime, can you not skive off for a couple of hours when you are in a nice area? I didn't have time to look round in the daytime, but I did pick where I was parking up for the night, ha ha.