I had some really interesting conversations, this week. To and from Lake Windermere (a day-long meeting plus sleep-over), my journey's sidekick (who I didn't know very well) proved the ideal companion, and reliable navigator (short-cutting it through back-waterest North Staffordshire should never be taken-for-granted). During our journey north, we established that we both identified with the fundamental qualities of The Brunettery. On our south-bound return, we compared mental notes from the previous 24 hours. They seemed to correspond.
Whilst in Windermere, or nearabouts, I had the pleasure of a longish walk-and-talk with another Don't-Really-Know-This-Person. This was good for some of the finer detail - how and through whom the conversation came about, the speed with which we seemed to establish trust, the fact that we recognised this and spoke it out loud, and the subject matter that - through our handling of it - further conveyed this trust (what poor phrasing... I'm slapping myself, for you). Skimming over talk of overseas property and what it is about time away or time in the sun that enables a person to relax, we got to discuss how we met our respective partners and with that, somewhat more taboo matters. Throughout, questions and answers were reasonably frank. And all the while, we enjoyed the back-drop of low-flying swans, gambolling pied wagtails, driftwood under foot, and the lapping of water. Quite, quite right - so much more preferable than the staid surrounds of the conference room.
Regular doses of that leg-stretching, mind-uplifting outdoor thing are absolutely vital to the task of breaking up the week, so it was good to share in this in a rarefied fashion.
Back in blighty, The Boy and I made use of the heavy downpours we've been having. Fully braced for a drenching, Wednesday evening saw us head out on the bikes to our favourite local woodland. Exiting the wood furthest from our house, we spotted a lapwing as we darted through a field into the Barlaston Park area, then down past the Wedgwood facilities - including cricket club and fishing ponds. Stopping to look at one of the ponds, we both gasped as our immediate sighting was of a kingfisher rising out of the water with its small catch. And then on to the Trent and Mersey canal path, and back home. A bracing circuit, with good rapport and observations all the way.
This weekend, Emma and Alex are in London, and I'm left to face workish loose ends that have been loose too long.
Yet the call of Anglesey, of White Beach (west of Penmon Point), and of the Menai Straits (west of the Britannia Bridge), is reaching me. The beachcaster rod stands in the hallway, suggesting that it's there and ready for me to reel in tea (not that I have any experience of actually catching anything - such a novice as I am). But I can't possibly listen to the rod... a week from now I'll be on the Yorkshire coast, with plenty of chances for staring at the sea.
And so harrumph and harrumph. All cooped up, with no excuses for not doing what I'm meant to.
Living for the weekend? I think not.