Thursday, 27 March 2008

Going Slow for England.



Last night my Husband and I abandoned the children to a new babysitter and escaped into Bath for our version of a night on the tiles.
No, silly! ....as if we're going to go night clubbing at our age! No Darlings, we attended Mr B's for "An evening with Alastair Sawday"!
As literary soirees go, this was great fun - part sobering environmental message mixed with great chunks of his humour which is sharp and witty.

His new tome "Go Slow England" is a 'select' selection of his 'special places to stay' - to earn a place in "Slow" the owners of these establishments have to exhibit genuine slowness and passion - for this read local, organic, green, homemade or quirky.

I'm relieved to say he was preaching to the converted, we became snails a good long while ago, and continue to slow annually, but I was genuinely surprised how few other people there were snails - one woman fessed up to having to get up at 5am to read her emails, another said that on her first night of 'passion' with her new other half he woke at 3am to discover- no girlfriend and a cold bed.... she too was checking emails! Wow that's one hot romance!

While researching for the book Alastair apparently discovered that people who keep chickens or make bread have a general feeling of contentment and wellbeing - well, we'll vouch for that - our little daily cycle of feeding and collecting eggs is very basic and very rhythmic and the same can be said of pounding lumps of dough.

Blogging got a mention - he thought it a very 'fast' pastime - so you'll be pleased to hear that I corrected him - I told him that it was impossible to be fast, when the people you are blogging with are geographically so distant, that they inhabit a time zone six hours behind you! Time lapse blogging?

Well, the wine flowed, everyone was relaxed, and Alastair set us a little task - to talk to the guest next to us about being slow....easy peesy - I wish things were this simple all the time.... next to me was a charming Californian girl, who was 'fast' but planning an escape to 'slowness', the other was a rather competitive mother who demanded - "It's not possible be 'slow' if you have children." I almost choked on my Chardonnay! "Hah!" I responded "haven't you tried Idle parenting?" I went on to extol the virtues of being 'just good enoug'h (Jen you would have been so proud) and gave examples of how we deliberately ignore our small people (Suburban - it wasn't quite as good as your latest list). Instead of looking impressed she looked disdainful - obviously one of those mothers who frequent 'auditions' (hey! Minnasota Matron - "laptop mother" she wasn't).

Anyhow we left feeling rather jolly - it could have been the wine, but I think it was actually because we felt, despite the earth's fragile state, we are doing ok, we have got things in a pretty good perspective, we don't always get it right, and we don't always choose the greenest option. But we do consider things carefully and weigh up the choices and savour the results- and to me that is the essence of 'slow'.

Should you wish to discover if you are slow - answer the following questions!

1 Listen to the radio
2 Learn a poem
3 Don't buy anything new for a year
4 Check emails only twice a day
5 Plan you days around large communal meals
6 Buy a bike - and ride it.
7 Write a letter to your sister/best friend
8 Dance on your own
9 Have proper afternoon tea
10 Plant a tree
11 Buy organic / seasonal /local.

and this is my favourite ( I have to confess I've been doing this for years!)

12 Press the buttons on pedestrian crossings as you walk by, thus slowing down drivers in a hurry!


Or are you "fast"?

1 Hothouse your kids
2 Buy ready made meals
3 Shop at the mall
4 Change your decor before it goes out of fashion
5 Buy ready cut fruit in a plastic container
6 Buy kindling at the garage
7 Use a microwave
8 Hurl all your rubbish into one big black bin liner


....his list goes on, but if you've said yes to one of these......then you are a 'Fast woman'!!!!

Come on, let's all put up our feet, and get slow enough!

"Go Slow England" by Alastair Sawday
$45.00 / £19.99
Alastair Sawday Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-906136-03-1

Read his blog


Read with -
‘Enough - breaking free from the world of more’ by John Naish and is published by Hodder & Stroughton
ISBN:978-0-340-93590-3