Less than 24 hours after I got back from Devon County Show I was on a train to London for some really tough, intensive brain storming and report writing sessions with an entirely unrelated organisation. These extended over several days with meetings lasting from early morning to dinner at night. I have not finished yet and expect to revisit via my computer many times over the next few days.
It was as far away from the County Show and my usual daily life as it is possible to be but it’s the world I did inhabit and thrive in until we came down here to lead life differently. I was astonished at just how quickly I climbed back on board the bus and careered along through London’s mental mindscapes on a high octane journey through some very complex processes.
The transformation was not just in speed of thought. I find I automatically slip back into the habits of a lifetime once I step onto the platform at Paddington. One breath of London air and I clasp bag containing valuables close to body and in front, always stand on the right on the escalator, walk as if my next meeting was 15 minutes ago, never look lost and, most importantly, ignore all others on the tube train despite being closer to them than you would ideally like! It’s instinctive behaviour for one who was travelling London’s transport system from birth.
One night we all dined at Veeraswamy’s – the famous and oldest Indian Restaurant in London just off Regent Street. What a great experience that was. As far away from the local Curry House as its possible to be. I was fortunate enough to be dining with two colleagues with Indian backgrounds so we had excellent guidance on what things were. Tastes were so subtle and everything was so beautifully presented it was sacrilege to eat it! Well worth a visit if you are in town.
Afterwards, we were all absolutely stuffed, and decided a walk back to the hotel was called for to make us fit for work the following morning. To my astonishment, the London based members of the team were unable to navigate except by getting on the tube or using a taxi. They never walked anywhere. Since the others were Americans, I was in charge of leading everyone safely back. It was yet more proof that the hard wired map ground into me by years of walking everywhere as a child was still secure. Buildings may change but streets very rarely pick up their skirts and move. I was able to impress my team members by a flawless return to the hotel for a well deserved rest!
The next few days passed in ablur of high powered mental activity until I finally got onto the train to return to Devon. No, I didn’t immediately relax as the train crawled out of the suburbs and into green spaces. But I did smile when I saw my first sheep! (Not until we crossed into Wiltshire by the way. Livestock was absent before that.) I took the opportunity to continue working on the train to lessen the burden when I got back so relaxing was not it.
Once home I was down to the barn to see the new kids born in my absence and to greet my flocks. They knew me of course and passed the time of day, but clearly had not missed me or felt my absence. There is more than one good shepherd on this farm. The kids and lambs have all grown – unbelievably. I have been away for just a few days and the difference was dramatic!
A walk through the woods early this morning is next on my agenda. That will finally shake the dust of London off my feet although since I must return regularly over the next couple of months, it might cling for a while longer.
Here are some images of what I will see this morning. Even Veeraswamy’s cannot compete.