The contrast with last year couldn’t be more striking. In April 2013 I spent most of the month counting my losses. First the Echiums, which had sailed through two winters and were ready for flowering until they were struck down by late frosts. I lost nearly a hundred. And then the cannas, which I had been forced to leave outside while the new greenhouse was being built, and which also succumbed to the unseasonal cold. Another hundred plants gone.
Is a Slow Life journey to work possible in London? Never, I thought, until the tube workers’ strike proved me wrong. I needed to get to the Excel conference centre, a journey which involved a journey to the City by tube, and then a DLR train to Docklands. DLR stands for Docklands Light Railway. This journey is perhaps the very opposite of the Slow Life ideal, which was epitomised in my description of the journey to Cuckoo Brow. The tube strike alerted me to an alternative route, which would avoid the horrors of the underground. I could take the river boat from the Embankment to the O2 stadium and a cable car from there, over the Thames to Excel. On a lovely warm sunny spring day, this journey was next to perfection. A £6 ticket paid for a half hour trip along the river past the London Eye, Big Ben, St Paul’s, Tower Bridge and The Shard. It was worth it, just to hear the oohs and aahs of the German tourists on board. When I disembarked at the O2 to my surprise, I was the only passenger headed for Excel. The trip on the cable car, which I had to myself, was every bit as impressive as a go on the London Eye. The trade show at the Excel was packed – I don’t know how the other delegates got there, but I’m certain that none of them had as enjoyable a journey as mine.
The idea of Slow Life is to take the principles of Slow Food, which are “good, clean and fair”, and extend them to life in general.
Here in the Lake District, the air is clean, the pace is slow and the atmosphere is calm. If we don’t grow food ourselves, we can buy it in friendly small shops, where you know the quality is going to be the best.
This blog is a celebration of the Slow Life, with forays into the world of design, music, the arts, gardens, and my particular weakness, Japan.