Today I and a friend took our velocipedes for a brisk ride around the hills of North Cantia. As usual I cringed inwardly at the fate of the villages close to the city. The well-to-do long since began escaping Londres, and villages with attractively ancient architecture are their refuge of choice. This means they aren’t villages any more, or not in the sense they used to be. They are no longer economic communities, more a sort of series of dormitories. The cars parked outside the better houses say that this money was not made here. A passing driver leaned out her window and screamed at us for using velocipedes, ignoring the miasma of Londres on the horizon behind her.
There used to be two types of villages, the usually better-off tied villages, which were owned by one aristocratic landlord who ran them as their petty fiefdoms, even mandating what residents should plant in their garden; and free villages, where the residents could live as they wished, but were often underemployed and struggling to survive. Meanwhile across the southern part of the Continent the villages empty out, no longer sustainable. We could ask the question of whether it shouldn’t be possible to have a village both free and prosperous. History has answered that question by killing the villages entirely. This needn’t, I can’t help thinking, be the only answer.
It was a good day besides all this, and the beeches and bluebells couldn’t be faulted. Now I am pink from over-exposure to the sun, and my legs are tired in a way that suggests I’ll sleep well tonight.
I’ve just discovered a note in my calendar saying only ‘film night’. I have no memory of what this is about. Am I organising something with someone? Who am I going to a film night with? I’ve had a couple of memory lapses lately, a product of filling my time with so many tasks – including writing this journal. Perhaps it is hypocritical of me to rail against our failing civilisation’s obsession with work while constantly keeping myself busy. But then, a lot of my time is filled with things I want to do, rather than am paid to do. I am very fortunate to be in this position, but my ingratitude is limitless. All I want is more time.