Life in the Slow Lane

Sunday 25th October

The Eagles, of course, had a hit with ‘Life In The Fast Lane’, and a pretty good song it was too.  Mind you I cannot think of a bad song of theirs either.  But the song expressed all the excitement of being young and with-it, and things happening all around you.  It was also a great driving song.  But as you get older you no longer want to hog the fast lane, in fact pulling over and letting those younger and faster and more reckless pass you by is really quite satisfying.  And like that old story of the tortoise and the hare, they may overtake you now but they will never quite catch you up either.

And after my short, but too long stay in England, it is back in the slow lane for me again for a few weeks.  One gets used to taking things easy over here.  In the local Spar mini-supermarket, where you can actually get almost everything, it is normal to have to wait at the till.  And not for the big queue in front, but for the shopkeeper to have her normal morning conversation with the French woman who has just popped in for a litre of milk.  At first you tend to be a bit annoyed, but then you learn to wait and not be in such a hurry, because Madame will certainly not be rushed.

Shops open at erratic hours and even then sometimes not on schedule or even at all.  No warning is given, just a hastily written note to say they are fermee.  Oh well, there is always tomorrow, unless that is Dimanche, or maybe Lundi, or even Mardi.  Surprise surprise some shops bars and restaurants are closed on Mercredi too.  And even when they are open they close at 12 for two or sometimes three hours and are open until – maybe five or sometimes six.  But here in the slow lane, what you don’t do today you can always do tomorrow.

The first thing you lose after leaving England is STRESS.  Welcome to life in the slow lane.  No good honking your horn – you’ll get used it soon.