Wednesday, 25 September 2013
Savouring the Good Things in Life
Last week, we looked at the weather forecast for the weekend and planned a few days of boating in supposedly glorious weather. We haven’t been out in Piran for about a month, and I’m itching for a sail.
But on Thursday I went down with a particularly vile tummy bug, followed the next day by Mr B. As someone who a) has a cast iron stomach and b) needs to eat every 3 hours, not being able to eat is something of anathema to me. I was stuck in bed, only venturing out to walk Moll then fell back again. Luckily I felt so ill the prospect of sailing was a distant vision – I wasn’t well enough to miss it.
The upside is that I got a huge amount of sleep and also had the chance to read two books. Good books. Debbie Moggach’s Heartbreak Hotel – a joyous celebration of falling in love at all ages, into our 70s – and I’ve just finished Maggie O’Farrell’s Instructions on a Heatwave that was also beautifully written.
It struck me last night, as I said to Mr B, that I tend to read as I eat. Too fast. I gobble words down without really tasting them. I devour books at such speed, turning the pages faster and faster, then all too soon the book’s over. Done.
Last night we were both starving, and tried to eat our meal slowly. Our stomachs weren’t used to eating a proper meal, having had days of being unable to eat much. Then I realised the parallel with reading.
“When I’m reading a really good book it makes me slow down,” I said to him. “I need to taste the words instead of swallowing them whole. I need to savour them, like this mushroom here.” I bit into the mushroom and the rich, dense juiciness of it hit my tongue.
That’s what a good book should be like. Like a new walk we discovered yesterday, near a forgotten plantation. Something to savour, and remember for later.