Monday, 16 April 2018
Is idleness evil?
Today's view from my loo shows this Spring's lambs gambolling in the field opposite my boat. We too are beginning to gambol after a slightly delayed departure.
I left my mooring on Saturday but stopped near Kings Bromley in order to finish the de-rusting of my roof and so I could let Bonny run off her stress. Afterwards, I was sitting contemplating my roof when I realised it was emptier than it should have been. I had forgotten my hugely useful, small, whirley gig washing line. I spent the evening trying to decide whether it was worth the two hour round walk to return and collect it from my mooring, or whether I cope without it.
The next morning Bonny and I spent our morning walk collecting the washing line. By the time I returned, my foot was starting to object so I stayed put for the rest of the day. This is one of the many advantages of being out for months, I can spare the odd day!
Today we cruised through Handsacre, Armitage and Rugeley, before emerging into the green and pleasant Trent Valley, bordered by Cannock Chase. I moored up near Taft Bridge on a single boat length stretch of Armco which ensures no close neighbours! This afternoon I sat in the sun, whilst Bonny hunted mice in the reeds. I watched as hundreds of trucks, cars and vans snaking past, on the main road that disturbs the peace of this happy valley.
I wondered, not for the first time, whether what those workers were doing was more worthwhile or morally better than what I was doing, or not doing, on that sunny afternoon. Does the devil really find work for idle hands? Does employment confer some sort of righteousness? Am I a less valuable person because I am sacrificing money and employment in order to cruise my boat and contemplate the universe?
If people didn't work then things would not get done, taxes would not be paid and public services would not be funded. Clearly some work is definitely needed. But does it have to be so much and by everyone of working age? Do people like me also contribute something to the world by modelling a different lifestyle and another view? Would all of us be healthier, both physically and mentally if we had more time to merely be? We work more hours in this country than most of the rest of the world, developed or not. If others get by with more days off, shorter working hours and longer holidays, why can't we? Is it worth being one of the richest economies in the world if we are sacrificing our health and wellbeing on the altar of economic growth?
Are these reasonable questions or am I just trying to quieten the residue of my puritan guilt, that says unless you are suffering, unless you are working your fingers to the bone, you are NOT A GOOD PERSON!