Tuesday, 27 March 2012


I don’t know what to make of this weather. It’s absolutely appalling. It’s unseasonable: it’s unreasonable. I don’t care for the unexpected. I like life to be as it should be. And that goes for the weather. But all this sun and blue sky and the temptation to sit outside or to stroll along the sea front old-gentleman style is just too much.

Those of you who know me will be aware that I take a walk every morning. Nothing excessive. A couple of miles and that’s enough but I do like to fit it in. In fact I feel guilty when I can't do so. I’ve been for my walk today and feel all the better for it.

When I was in the Philippines I walked every morning and it was always enjoyable though sometimes, even early in the day, it could get a shade uncomfortable. But at least there were no pressures on my time. It was different there. Take for example one Sunday morning walk…

… My walk today was in a new direction but still accompanied by the usual smiles and calls of ‘Where are you going?' I stop to tell them and they recognise 'walk' and 'exercise' but our conversations usually reach little further than that. When I call out 'Good morning' they always respond and it sounds, their 'Good mahning, po,' so musical. 'Po', by the way, is a word frequently used in formal situations as a sign of respect.

It became extremely warm as I went along. Though it was relatively early, many people were in their backyards, playing very loud music on their wirelesses (yes, I know, I’m supposed to call them radios) or standing outside in the shade, looking at me with a kindly detached amusement - at least that is how I interpreted it. Perhaps they were saying something like, 'Why is that silly old fool walking when he can afford to hire a tricycle?'

But I was out to show that I was doing this for pleasure. It's what Englishmen do. We go for walks and put up with rain and wind and by Jove, we aren't beaten by excessively hot mornings like this, either. I was in my Alec Guinness/River Kwai mood, and despite the heat I was determined to keep up appearances for the sake of Queen and Country and so I raised my head, pulled my shoulders back, did my best with my stomach and raised my bamboo-cane walking stick in greeting as I strode on humming 'Colonel Bogey' and hoping that I shouldn't be forced to sit down to rest. But at last, running with sweat, I reached home where Josie made me a cup of tea. I really needed it. I'd put on a show and I hadn't let the Old Country down.

I’ve always enjoyed my morning strolls at home but less so at the moment because there are pressing things on my mind. I’m fretting about the waste of time as I walk and I know that when I reach home I’ll be sitting at this blasted machine within minutes. Yes, there’s work to be done but the sun is so tempting and I want to be out there. Now if it was really lousy weather I could settle down to my tasks – blogging, commenting on literary booksites, writing to reviewers asking if they’ll review A VIRGIN IN THE PHILIPPINES which has now made its appearance on Amazon Kindle. What would suit me at the moment is grey skies, howling gales, torrential downpours.

But as things are I’m distracted, longing to sit and watch the sea and the strollers and the fishermen on the pier and I want to chat to other old codgers, settling the world's problems, telling them about my gammy hip. But no, I can’t. I’m stuck in here.

Damn this weather.

Or maybe it should be damn this book.

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