Vitality 8 – Brinkmanship

A lot of people get off on brinkmanship, and being nearly late is a form of this. Why? I believe that it makes you feel alive, as the blood and adrenaline pump the system. I’m often nearly late for trains, yet have never missed one. That feeling as you settle in the seat and the train moves off– ah just made it – is very satisfying.  I’ve found it enlivening, invigorating. But is vigour vitality? No, it’s its poor macho cousin, and during lockdown the second, have decided to stop doing it: far better to leave plenty of time and notice what’s around you.  Besides, at my age, it may lead to a fall. Before seventy, one merely falls over, but after that it’s A Fall.

Something LD2 has taught me, is not to rush at things – especially trains.    In my recent creative calm I ‘ve noticed/spotted/seen/deciphered (delete where applicable) the form of the corona virus in all sorts of things, and here it is in a clock.  This is by Forest Gate station, where I just made it for a 2pm Saturday walk on Wanstead Flats with my walking group a few weeks ago.   By the way, since corona means crown and lots of people still like the Queen – why hasn’t our monarch been leaning into our TV sets, wishing us luck in ‘lorkdine’?   QE2nd for LD2nd.  A dereliction of duty of care I call it. But back to time, and brinkmanship.  If I’d missed that walk I’d have been very upset, not that I didn’t know where Wanstead flats was, but walking with others is a beautiful source of vitality.   It’s as if the clock’s corona crown said, this is the time, you don’t know how much is left to you – cherish it.




Jan Woolf




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