Thursday 14th June 2012
AT MY age, your thoughts occasionally turn to where you might be when you die: asleep is the best bet.
Failing that, I know a bank whereon wild Time’s blow would find me nodding quietly over a canapé or luscious woodbine… well, they’re Mayfair Superkings these days, but you’ll get the picture.
It’s on a hillside in Wales. A friend and I run writing weekends there twice a year. They have wifi, but I don’t take a laptop; mobile signals come and go; newspapers are only for lighting the wood-burner. Each visit makes leaving harder.
“Now you’re licensed for weddings, have you thought about funerals?”
I was in the kitchen with the owners.
“Green burials?” came the smiling reply. They’ve obviously already considered it.
All the food they serve is vegetarian, mostly organic, much of it grown on the farm. Solar panels and a biomass boiler generate energy for heat and light. This is as eco-friendly as it gets. The people are lovely too: practical, sensible, friendly, kind, cheerful.
Having tired legs, I missed the afternoon walk this time; would like to have seen how the bees are doing; the new yurts, poly-tunnels, donkeys and cob-horse.
There’s something hobbit-like about the grove across the lane, with its wooden hut and hidden corners, overlooking what I think of as ‘the party field’, excavated to accommodate a marquee for their son’s and other weddings.
It rained a lot, as it often does, but I can shelter under the wooden balcony when I want a smoke. On Saturday, the wind dropped, the sun came out and it felt much warmer, allowing me to stand barefoot on the grass, listening to birdsong, gazing across the valley, happy to be a writer, surrounded by poetry.
I reckon I’ve spotted two thousand, six hundred and forty-seven shades of green… so far.
It would be a good place to end my days. When weary and short of breath, I fantasize about being lain to rest on that hillside, smilingly asleep.
When I’m there, however, everything revitalizes me so much I feel I could live forever.