Slings and arrows

Last week another from my year at school died. Two others (whom I know of) have died in the last couple of years. George Bell and John Sime were both friends. I was best man to both of them. Cancer got all three.

David McLetchie was a public figure. An MSP, and former leader of the Conservative Party in Scotland. We shared an interest in politics, but that was about it. In my first passport photo (aged 16, or so) I’m wearing SNP and Anti Apartheid badges. I remember winning a prize for modern languages when I was about that age, which was my choice of books up to a certain value. I chose a biography of Che Guevara and a history of the Cuban revolution.

Not in the same pigeon hole as David.

The day I learned of his death I’d just cycled from here (northern edge of Ingolstadt) over to Eichstätt and back – 45km in 24°c heat through a hilly part of Bavaria (not the Alps of course, but not much on the flat either).

Eichstätt

Eichstätt

I certainly felt grateful to be so fit and in good health.

A few days later the three of them came to mind again as I went swimming in the Med for half an hour, at 9.30pm. The teenagers wanted to swim at night for the first time, but needed a lifeguard. Oddly enough, the hotel’s one had gone home. Back to the beach bum days of my 20s…

Alanya, 6:30am

Alanya, 6:30am

Swimming under the moon and stars is guaranteed to make you feel glad to be alive whatever the circumstances, but especially so that night.

Today (back in Bavaria) I went out to cycle after breakfast, just to get the legs moving a wee bit after the week in Alanya. A modest 14km. A beautiful late summer morning. Such pleasure in cycling along farm tracks between the maize fields in warm sunshine.

Echenzell, this morning

Echenzell, this morning

In case all this sounds very smug, in Alanya I spent almost as much time in the hamam as on the beach. I hurt my neck on the flight over from Munich and needed a series of medical massages to sort it. Nothing to complain about in the circumstances, but a reminder of how time stands still for no man.

Philosophy and music to finish up with…

Those who feel the breath of sadness 

Sit down next to me 

Those who find they’re touched by madness 

Sit down next to me 

Those who find themselves ridiculous 

Sit down next to me 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WId0WS48JgM

21-8-13

© iain taylor 2013

 
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